Contact 2020: A Project Idea for 2020: Anyone Interested?

Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
So this year, around about April, I started printing out my contact sheets to both a jpeg and a physical print. As the end of the year approaches, I'm making a book from all the jpegs. It actually looks pretty cool, so I'm going to do it again for 2020 and wondered if anyone wants to join in?

Edit to add...

Nige's Thread
Ian's Thread
Chris' Thread

contact1.JPG

What is a contact sheet?
Quite simply, it's a single sheet of paper (usually 8x10 or A4) that shows mini pictures of all your images. It allows you to at-a-glance see all the images you've taken (historically on a roll of film) and pick the best ones (or keepers). There's a book called "Magnum Contact Sheets" which illustrates this perfectly.

The benefit I've got from this is to be able to look back at a year's worth of photography in a single book. The ability to flip back and forth through the pages is something a computer just can't compete with. Also, my contact sheets contain all the crap as well as the keepers. However by shooting film, I very rarely have more than one image of the same thing. With the exception of cats...
Seeing the "crap" helps me almost as much as seeing the good stuff, because it reminds me what doesn't work. All we ever see online is people's best work, so it's almost uncomfortable to show everything. Even posting these samples here made me cringe a bit. Knowing that my contact sheets are going online will definitely focus my efforts to think even more about the pictures I'm taking.

contact3.JPG

Also, there's the added interest that the contact sheet itself can be presented as a collage representing something more than a single image - a stand alone image in its own right if that makes sense... I really like this idea and will be thinking about exploring it a bit more.

I've used contact sheets digitally as well as on film, so I'm not suggesting this is a 'film shooter only' experiment. However if you do shoot digital I would suggest that you consider limiting yourself in some way to avoid just taking 10,000 images and curating down to 36 of the best - as that kinda defeats the point of the exercise. Maybe roll your shots up into a contact sheet once a day/week/month depending on the amount of images you shoot?

I have shot 74 rolls of film since April to date (end of November 2019) which is almost ten rolls a month. I tend to shoot a film relatively quickly once it's in the camera, often taking "use it up" shots at the end of the roll. Time often then passes until another roll gets loaded into something else and we rinse and repeat.

This experiment isn't going to suit everyone, and I'm not sure how it would work, but I'm dropping the idea out there in case there's interest.

How Do We Do This?
I was thinking of having a master thread (much like the 52s do) which has instructions and contains a list of all people taking part with links to their individual contact sheet thread.
My thinking would be that you would start a "Contact 2020" thread and at a suitable time, you would post up your contact sheet along with a brief description about the images and what you were trying to achieve, followed by picking out particular images that either worked or didn't. It would be relatively easy to use Excel-like referencing to talk about your images (rows by letter, columns by number)

I intend to do this just for my own benefit whether folks take part or not, but if we get a couple of people interested, it would be good to visit other people's threads to offer encouragement & feedback. The whole point of a contact sheet is to pick the best, so I would discourage "that photo in A4 isn't straight" or "you chopped his head off in B2" feedback. Chances are, if you're taking part in something like this - you know that already. However people will still do this so I think anyone taking part is going to have to have a thick skin and the ability to just ignore that sort of feedback. However feedback like "that image in C2 looks like a stronger image to me because of x, y and z" is something I would find particularly useful. Your best bet is probably to actually state the sort of feedback you're after when you post each contact sheet.

It's also project agnostic, so if you're doing motorsport, or landscape, or street photography, or still life, or a mixture of all of that, it doesn't matter. The chances are though, that your contact sheet will reflect one of those areas, so it could be useful to present it to others.

How To Make A Contact Sheet
I only know how to do this in Lightroom but as a bare minimum, you could arrange the images in a folder on your computer (view>extra large icon) and screen grab it with the snipping tool [Windows].
In Lightroom...
Select all the photos, go into the Print module, set the paper size to A4 Landscape with the Page Setup button bottom left. Top right, set the layout style to "Single Image/Contact Sheet" and set the layout to Rows 6, Columns 6 (for 36 exp), 5x5 for 24exp, etc etc. Go down to "Print Job" and select "Print to Jpeg file". When you hit the "Print" button you'll then be asked to specify a location on your HD and you can treat it the same as any other image.
One thing that makes the contact sheets look prettier is having them all the same orientation. This can be a bit jarring with an online sheet but makes no difference with a print because you can just rotate the paper.

So is anyone interested? Do you have any thoughts for improving this? As I said above, I'll probably do this myself and will be happy to go it alone, but it could be fun to chart a years worth of progress amongst a small group. The added bonus is that at the end of the year, you can make a book (it's very easy to do when all the images are the same size!) and have a permanent record, rather than a hard drive full of stuff no one else will ever see.

I would imagine kicking this off in January and it would run to December. There is no requirement to post images under certain time frames - you post your contact sheets whenever you want. Although trying to get them up as they're created would be best. Putting 20 up in one go isn't going to get much feedback as it's too much for someone to go thorough all at once.

I was toying with the idea of one camera, one lens, one film, but I prefer this idea as it's much less restrictive but still useful.

I have no idea if this is the best place to post this, so I'll add a link to my sig. Mods - if you think this is more appropriate elsewhere, feel free to shift it...
 
Last edited:

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
9,472
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
Interesting idea and I like a good challenge, is this just for film or are digital photos allowed - I suppose the issue there is keeping it to 12, 24, 36 etc.
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
Open to all. Digital shooters will have to come up with their own "rules" but it will depend heavily on how much they shoot. It's easy on film :)
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
9,472
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
I'm in, probably just for my film stuff because the digital is all over the place :)

Have a word with @Cobra or @TheBigYin and see if they will "sticky" some threads for you. I'm happy to drop the "Takes On" challenge next year so that will free up a bit of space at the top of the "Competitions, Community Challenges & Inspiration" forum
 

Cobra

Mr. Floyd
Staff member
Messages
93,322
Name
Phitt, Hissy Phitt
Edit My Images
No
Have a word with @Cobra or @TheBigYin and see if they will "sticky" some threads for you. I'm happy to drop the "Takes On" challenge next year so that will free up a bit of space at the top of the "Competitions, Community Challenges & Inspiration" forum
I'm sure there is plenty of room for both, (y) There is only 4 stickies.
 

blakester

Shine On Harvest Moon
Messages
6,298
Name
Iain
Edit My Images
No
I too would be up for this Ian.
My photography mojo has been AWOL for a while but feel it is coming back recently. I have figured out I am more inspired when I have a project/goal in mind.
I am purely a digital shooter but this has set me thinking. I could limit my shots by giving myself a theme to shoot each time I am out with my camera. I wouldn't propose to make a list of themes or anything, just go with what the fancy takes on a particular day. I feel that would guard against shooting 100's on digital.
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
Where are you getting your book printed
I'm using the Book module in Lightroom which means it's Blurb. Paperback 10x8, standard paper (the cheapest!), currently at 75 pages with 1 contact sheet per page, logo page on: £27+postage (which is expensive for Blurb usually at about £6). I may upgrade the paper type and the book size when it's finished and there will be a few more contact sheets to go in because I'll run it up to the end of the year.
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
I'll tag people when I get a "how to" thread going towards the end of December. Might even try and get a yellow 2020 tag off @Cobra :)
 

Cobra

Mr. Floyd
Staff member
Messages
93,322
Name
Phitt, Hissy Phitt
Edit My Images
No
Might even try and get a yellow 2020 tag off @Cobra :)
You have no idea how hard it was getting that from"Admin" ( I can't do it its part of the forum coding)
So its mine all mine ... for the 52'ers Mwwwahahahahaha
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
I made a sample sheet as a test.
I love this Nige. Perhaps it's just me but I find contact sheets fascinating. Some classically composed landscapes alongside [to me] more interesting shots like the sign post, the keep out and the 5 bar gate (which looks really moody)
 
Messages
4,299
Name
Nige
Edit My Images
No
I love this Nige. Perhaps it's just me but I find contact sheets fascinating. Some classically composed landscapes alongside [to me] more interesting shots like the sign post, the keep out and the 5 bar gate (which looks really moody)
Thanks Ian. Most of my contact sheets will be like this - I rarely take the same shot more than a couple of times, and then only if something went wrong on the first attempt, so they will all mostly have 12 / 15 / 24 / 36 distinct images.
I guess it's a benefit of not being professional - rather than shooting several rolls on the same thing in order to make sure you get THE shot, I just attempt to get as many interesting photos from a roll as I can because it's just for my own enjoyment and that way I maximise my returns.
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
I rarely take the same shot more than a couple of times,
Is this a "film" thing I wonder? I know we don't have the back of the camera to look at, but do you think it's something you do because film trained you that way, or is it something you've always done?

This is a roll of Washi S in my 645n. It's a bit out of whack because they weren't scanned in order, but you can see I had 4 "goes" at the car and 4 "goes" at the railway line because I wasn't sure of my framing/composition. The pylon shot in C2 has a cyclist going past which I took whilst I was composing for a proper shot.

CS-2019-11-16-washi-S-645n.jpg
 
Messages
4,299
Name
Nige
Edit My Images
No
Is this a "film" thing I wonder? I know we don't have the back of the camera to look at, but do you think it's something you do because film trained you that way, or is it something you've always done?
It's definately to do with film for me because, while I try not to go too overboard with digital, I still end up taking far more photos on that format during an outing just because there's no cost to doing so. With film I think there are two factors that lead to trying to avoid multiple shots of the same thing.

The first is cost - I can't afford to splurge a whole bunch of frames on a single shot. I understand why professionals do this (and seeing the variants ina book like Magnum Contact Sheets is fascinating), but their volume film use is a necessity to get the job done.

The second is the immediacy - Given that there's a need to wait for the results when shooting (non-instant) film, I feel I'm getting a better reward if I get a whole bunch of different photos back on a processed roll than I would if I were to only get multiple variants of a handful of shots which, after reviewing, would mean only a small number of final images.

That's not to say I never take multiple versions of a shot, but I definately try to avoid it where I can.
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
Just sayin' that I haven't forgotten about this but I've had the "you might be at risk" meeting at work and so I've been looking at jobs more than photography for the last few weeks. Will find out what the score is next week. Don't let that stop anyone starting a project though!
 
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
OP
Harlequin565
Messages
4,775
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
Have updated the OP with links to the threads. So if you want to tag me in your thread, or link it here, I'll update the header to make finding them easier. I don't imagine it'll be like a 52, so it's likely to be very manageable.
 
Messages
259
Name
Paul
Edit My Images
No
It's definately to do with film for me because, while I try not to go too overboard with digital, I still end up taking far more photos on that format during an outing just because there's no cost to doing so. With film I think there are two factors that lead to trying to avoid multiple shots of the same thing.

The first is cost - I can't afford to splurge a whole bunch of frames on a single shot. I understand why professionals do this (and seeing the variants ina book like Magnum Contact Sheets is fascinating), but their volume film use is a necessity to get the job done.

The second is the immediacy - Given that there's a need to wait for the results when shooting (non-instant) film, I feel I'm getting a better reward if I get a whole bunch of different photos back on a processed roll than I would if I were to only get multiple variants of a handful of shots which, after reviewing, would mean only a small number of final images.

That's not to say I never take multiple versions of a shot, but I definately try to avoid it where I can.
Having just got back into film from a long break I am still taking 3 shots of each composition with my Bronica SQ-Ai as I am still getting back used to hand held metering but that won't continue once I am happy with my metering skills again. That said when using my Leica MP I generally only take 1 shot per composition because the metering is the same as my digital M9s so no need to bracket, I will however still "work" a subject even with film just more sparingly.

I think I am interested in this contact project idea but at the moment my work is getting very much in the way of my photography so I don't shoot half as much as I would like.
 
Messages
4,299
Name
Nige
Edit My Images
No
Having just got back into film from a long break I am still taking 3 shots of each composition with my Bronica SQ-Ai as I am still getting back used to hand held metering but that won't continue once I am happy with my metering skills again. That said when using my Leica MP I generally only take 1 shot per composition because the metering is the same as my digital M9s so no need to bracket, I will however still "work" a subject even with film just more sparingly.

I think I am interested in this contact project idea but at the moment my work is getting very much in the way of my photography so I don't shoot half as much as I would like.
Even if you only shoot a handful of rolls of film, it’ll still be great to see your contact sheets. (y)
 
Messages
259
Name
Paul
Edit My Images
No
Even if you only shoot a handful of rolls of film, it’ll still be great to see your contact sheets. (y)
I'll certainly submit them as and when I get out to shoot, first ones will likely be experiments to get up to speed with handheld metering and almost certainly on slide film so I can assess on the lightbox rather than seeing what the scanner thinks I want to see.
 
Top