30 September 2012

OctoberQuest 2012

OctoberQuest 2012. What is it? An open-to-anyone, DIY, photo-essay project based on the artistic essence of haiga. 

What's it for? To take a short journey in search of your vision of the world. You can do it just as you are, and have fun, and feel proud at the end of it. It has a little challenge and structure built in, to provide a matrix for your creative development.

"Erm.... w
hat's haiga, anyway?" I hear you say. Traditionally haiga is a painting and a haiku on the same piece of paper or canvas. For this non-traditional project, it's a photo plus a short writing in any style.

Why is haiga's essence important for this project? 
 A haiga has a reflective feel when the subject is nature, and an ironic or funny feel when the subject is people. A haiga makes a real connection between image and words, and it does it simply, subtly.

By bringing in haiga's essence, and by planning to do project activities on certain days throughout October, the project will bring out the best of your creative nature - even if you're not sure you're really creative (trust me - if you've read this far, you are).

If you're still on board, here's what's involved:
  • Take 1 photo every weekday from October 1 through October 26.
  • Every weekend in October, upload to a private place, and add captions, plus poems or prose, to the pics.
  • Finalize everything during the last three days of October
  • On November 1, share your finished album with others.

Still wanna do it? Here's how...


  1. Preparation - on October 1, 2012:
    • Make an album in Google+ Photos:
      • Use the UPLOAD NEW PHOTOS feature to upload an old photo.
      • Call the album OctoberQuest2012.
      • By default the album will be private. Leave it that way for now.
      • Practice uploading an additional old photo or two, adding them to the newly-existing album OctoberQuest2012.
      • Once you've got the hang of uploading to the new album, delete the old photos from it.
    • If you don't have a Google account, or don't want to use Google+, try a Blogger, WordPress or other private blog, or a Pinterest board. Caveats:
      • If you want to use a private blog, you may find you'll tend to write more because of the blog format - consider how much time you're willing to give to this project.
      • You cannot make a Pinterest board private, and there is a tight restriction on the length of Pinterest captions - so unless you're comfortable working under the public eye and you're economical with words, I don't recommend Pinterest for this project.
  2. During the week - from October 1 through October 26, take at least 1 photo every weekday.
  3. On the weekends - Oct 6-7, Oct 13-14, Oct 20-21 and Oct 27-28:
    • Upload a photo for each weekday into existing album OctoberQuest2012   
    • Optional: use PhotoShop or other graphics app to resize and/or style a copy of the photo before uploading.
    • Caption each photo with location, and if you want, subject, time and weather.
    • Write something short to go with each photo - I recommend using haiku, senryū or haibun forms, which are short by design. (If you're not sure what these are, check the Wiki links at the bottom of this post.) But you can use any form. Just think about the connection between image and words. Be simple, casual, easy. Be funny, too, if it works. Above all, remember what made you take the pic, and try to put that feeling into words. 
    • Any or all of this can be done on weekdays, if you prefer.
  4. Finalizing - on the three last days of the month - Monday through Wednesday, Oct 29-31 - review captions and writing, and make any final changes.
  5. Finishing - on Thursday, November 1, change the Share status of your OctoberQuest 2012 album or blog to from Private to Public, and share it via FaceBook, Google+ and/or Twitter - if you have accounts for all three, I recommend sharing on all three.
American gray squirrel
American Gray Squirrel
Queens, NY
Oct 2010, rainy afternoon

Tweeting Your WIP and Finished Work:

Still game, and on Twitter, too? Here are some hashtags you can use: #octoberquest2012 #photography #amwriting

Wikipedia References:

Haikai - the basic ancient form of Japanese poetry from which all present-day haiku-related arts evolved:

Haiku - brief poems, usually three lines long, usually about nature, with 17 on (sound groupings something like syllables), one cutting word, and one season word: 

Senryū - like haiku, but about people, not nature; often funny; no cutting word, and usually no season word:

Haibun - haiku or senryū plus prose:

Haiga - a painting plus a haiku - the OctoberQuest 2012 project is about creating a photo-illustrated haiga album:

Questions? Comments? Fire away.

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