still life, photography, rhea gupte, the photographers playbook, minimalism, white inspiration, leaf
still life, photography, rhea gupte, the photographers playbook, minimalism, yellow inspiration, leaf
still life, photography, rhea gupte, the photographers playbook, minimalism, yellow inspiration, leaf, egg shell
still life, photography, rhea gupte, the photographers playbook, minimalism, yellow inspiration, leaf, flowers, art, layout
still life, photography, rhea gupte, the photographers playbook, minimalism, white inspiration, leaf. egg, egg yolk, flower

Project Brief

Assignment 1 | Fits and Starts by Doug DuBois | Page 88
Every so often, I start my graduate seminar with a celebration of false starts, dead ends, and wrong turns. The assignment calls for students to display a failed project. For inspiration, we all read Courtney Eldrige’s wonderful letter to the editors of McSweeney’s, which begins:

“Dear McSweeney’s,
No, I’m afraid I don’t have anything to submit to your upcoming issue. So instead of sending a complete work, because I don’t see that happening anytime soon, I thought I might submit a working list of stories which I have recently or not so recently quit, abandoned, or forsaken, complete with short summaries of each failed effort, in order to give you some idea why they’ve been sent down. Besides, I like listing. It cheers me up.”

Maybe the strongest glue that binds artists together is failure. Celebrating this kinship, getting it out in the open, helps to avoid the delusion of self-pity and the scorn of schadenfreude. There is, of course, no critique of the work presented for this assignment, but the inevitable stories and laughter help us maintain the conceit, so critical to art and life, that things will get better.

Client

Ongoing personal pet project which sees Jane D’Souza and I, take on 307 assignments in The Photographer’s Playbook

Credits

Photography and styling by Rhea Gupte
Ice Cubes with the help of Pooja Saxena

Styling Credits

Props by Chumbak

I am pleased to begin this pet project with an assignment that strips away inhibitions. I present a failed project which I shot and styled in May 2016. There were several reasons why I felt this set of images did not work and like Courtney Eldrige, I will list the reasons down, because coincidentally lists cheer me up too.
— After going through the images on the day of the shoot, I wished I had a better point to bring across, other than a strong colour story. The props although a cohesive level of quirky, seemed thrown together without a real agenda.
— During the shoot, I felt underprepared and wished I had taken some more time to figure out the styling. The rate at which the tiny ice cubes melted over my colourful background in the heat of May was unprecedented.
– I enlisted the help of a few friends to help me create these edible flower infused ice cubes. These ice cubes which were supposed to be the hero of the story, quietly faded away in the background and the disappointment of not having achieved the result made me feel awful to have wasted their time. Although, I’m certain, they didn’t see it like that.
— I set up the background having the source of light in mind but unfortunately failed to make sure that I had enough space to achieve wider shots.
— Going through the images post the shoot had me so dejected that I did not even think of editing them or seeing them again until today.

After working on these images I still felt that I definitely did not achieve what I set out for, however, after publishing them, I do see a certain positive quality in them, if I keep my former expectations aside.

Here is Jane’s image for this assignment, involving a technically challenging project which she embarked upon but failed to see through. Both Jane and I would love to see other photographers and creatives take on these challenges along with us, as more the merrier. We are doing one per week! Do share the link to your work below so we can take a look and stay in touch!





Join the conversation

  1. Rhea,

    OMG! This is amazing. You underplayed it. Although I get what you meant that what you wanted you didn’t get, but what you made of it nonetheless is brilliant. Such a happy shoot.

    Let’s hit project 2 with a vengeance.

  2. I think these are beautiful shots even though they didn’t meet your expectations. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “fuck perfection” before >_< I have recognised that my style and expectations of what constitutes a pleasing image have changed. With that realisation I am a lot easier on myself when I look at an image I don't like. I also try to look for the so-called less perfect angles because there really is beauty all around us if we just look for it. I love these photos and I hope you try this ice-cube session again. Though I imagine it's really hard with the weather there.

    1. Hi Edlyn! I completely get what you are saying, but sometimes the lack of meeting set expectation make me not see the other, brighter side. But everyday I am trying to be less critical of my work, though mostly failing, but trying nonetheless. Yes! I hope to do the ice cube session again in the future, hopefully either in a different city or country or with the AC blasting through the roof. Thank you, I am so glad you like them! 🙂 Much love!