Give Yourself Assignments

I’ve long been a believer in self-assignments. That’s when you give yourself a photo assignment rather than waiting for the phone to ring, or instead of sitting around waiting for a stroke of magical inspiration. Give yourself an assignment and make yourself follow through with it; you’re bound to make something great. I’ve even had arrangements with other photographers in the past where every week we gave ourselves and assignment. This incorporated the pressure of not letting down your partner, as well as afforded the opportunity to learn from another photographer and get feedback from a trained eye. For proof that self-assignments really do work, take a look at these amazing steel mill images from photographer Carl de Souza. He made them after giving himself the self-assignment to photograph at a factory while on another assignment in Pakistan. The images are beautiful, surreal and immensely informative all at the same time. His newspaper, The Guardian, even selected them for inclusion in as special slideshow edition. Once you see them—here featured on Rob Galbraith’s web site along with the story of their creation—you’ll understand why. And hopefully you’ll see why self-assignments can be so rewarding.

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