The Unsplash Open

Back in the days, I had a few tumblrs where I posted a lot of my content.
In college, I took a few photo classes, 3 to be precise. At home, I have a portfolio book full of prints. I even considered pursuing an undergrad in photography: I wanted to become a street photographer.
Fun fact: One of my first jobs was at Sears as a portrait photographer 😅.

I used to shoot a lot. Everywhere I went, I had my camera with me looking for inspiration in even the banalest of things. I posted anything and everything on every social platform.

But at some point, things changed

Algorithms were altered. The feeds became cluttered.
The things I liked to photograph weren’t as impactful as they once were. Eventually, I no longer felt the need to share as much as I used to. I suppose I was overwhelmed with how big the platforms got… and felt pressured to use it in a way I really couldn’t see myself using.

On finding inspiration again

Over the past year, I found refuge in platforms like VSCO and Unsplash. I’ve taken comfort in not knowing who my followers are (or how many I have). The feeling of anonymity allows me to create for myself: I’m able to explore new styles, sometimes outside of my comfort zone, allowing me to refine my work as a photographer. It also helps that I’m constantly inspired by the thousands of talented photographers already on these platforms.

Shoot often

One of the first photo assignments we had back in college was to shoot an entire roll of film in a bathroom. 36 frames. The goal was to capture something interesting in a space that doesn’t typically inspire much. The idea was that the more we shot, the more chances we had of producing a something memorable (and perhaps not just a 36 bathroom mirror selfies).

The photo challenge

Wanting to make more place for photography in my life, I, along with a few people in the community decided to partake in a weekly photo challenge. We’re calling it the Unsplash Open: Open to all, from whichever platform, for all levels of photographers. The idea is to get us shooting more, where each week is a new challenge.

We’ve started the Alphabet Challenge thanks to Dayne Topkins who suggested the idea.

The objective is to photograph things that represent a letter of the alphabet. Every week is associated with the letter. And it’s up to each one of us to come up with the word.

For instance:
- Week 1 is the Letter A, and you could post a photo of an Apple
- Week 2 is the Letter B for Bird
- Week 3 is the Letter C for Car…

With this challenge, wherever I am, I try and spot things that could work for the given letter of the week. It’s cool to be this inspired to shoot again.

If you’re interested in participating in the Unsplash Open, join us on the Unsplash Community Slack (#photo-challenge) to show your work. We’re using Trello to manage the upcoming challenges. You can also use the hashtags #unsplashopen on Instagram.

I’ll try to keep track of everyone’s submissions and feature them in a Medium post every other month. Hope you join us 😊.

Here’s what the first group of photographers shot for the Letter A. Enjoy!

A for Adventure by Tyler Lastovich
A for Andalusian Patio by Inma Santiago
A for Ants by Dallas Reedy
A for Agony by Paweł Czerwiński
A for Arctic by Annie Spratt
A for Aging Apples by Joshua Hoehne
A for Arc by Paweł Czerwiński
A for Autumn by Dayne Topkin
A for α by Claudio Schwarz
A for Anemone by Annie Spratt
A for Automobile by Charles Deluvio

Link to our Weekly Challenges: Trello
Link to our Community Slack group: Slack
Link to our Social hashtag: Instagram