Photo challenge: 12 by 12

Phil Coomes
Picture editor

image copyrightEleri Norris

When looking for a way to challenge yourself photographically it can pay to scan the online photographic community in search of ideas, or events you can join.

One that is currently under way is the 12 by 12 challenge, a set of month-long photography challenges that aim to help develop your skills.

Each month, a photographer will set you a task, and the first of these this year was set by Vanessa Winship, who asked the group to:

"Take a route you're familiar with but have never photographed along and photograph someone or something every 100 or so steps."

Those taking up the challenge on Flickr or Instagram soon got to work, and here is a selection of entries that caught Winship's eye.

Emma Georgiou

image copyrightEmma Georgiou

I drive my sons to school 195 days of the year. My route is the same and one I'm very familiar with and yet I have never walked it.

The challenge gave me the opportunity to explore this piece of landscape I drive through, allowing me to discover things that I only normally have a chance to glance at through my car windscreen.

George Hill

image copyrightgeorge hill

I chose this route as I had been working in Shoreditch for the previous couple of weeks but other than that, hadn't visited the area for a while. I was struck by a couple of things - firstly the level of development going on and secondly the disproportional number of barber shops - but then I guess somebody has to cater for the maintenance of all those 'big' beards.

I really like the area as it still has a feel of grungy subversiveness about it - this obviously isn't going to be the case for much longer as the place is full of cranes and pile drivers.

Ilya Shtutsa

image copyrightIlya Shtutsa

This shot was taken in the Sennaya Square, St Petersburg, on International Women's Day. On this day, every man thinks it's his sacred duty to give his wife some flowers. The elderly man and woman came to the kiosk and returned not with the usual tulips but instead held in their hands a plant in a pot. It was very touching.

Kathleen Bridget Austin

image copyrightKathleen Bridget Austin

I love to portray the street, however, I find that most town and city centres are, along with their public audience, now so brand and style-conscious that going back to the indoor and outdoor markets is the best way to reveal a true street theme.

There are many genuine characters and great shooting opportunities reveal themselves amongst the eclectic mix of tat, second-hand, antique and genuinely interesting product stalls. It is the people that make street shots, and the people in these markets are REAL people.

Larry Larsen

image copyrightLarry Larsen

I was wandering the streets of Portland and came across great afternoon light. The kind of light that I am always looking to find.

Meredith Wilson

image copyrightMeredith Wilson

I knew I wanted to use instant film and so I decided to take a walk around my neighbourhood and just take shots along the way. I found I was faced with lots of hedges, brick walls and fences on the first part of the walk. When I looked back through the images later, those barrier shots seemed the most connected, so I decided to explore the idea further.

It was interesting to see the different types of barriers that people put up (or inherited) between their front doors and the rest of the world. I ended up walking around several different streets (always shooting every 100 or so steps) to get the final selection.

I think the narrow framing of the Instax mini film works very well with this series too. It sort of reinforces and contains the idea in a way that other larger instant formats might not.

Michael May

image copyrightMichael May

For the brief I chose a route which I was quite familiar with, but had rarely photographed. Normally I use the car or bike to reach my workplace and thus pass interesting places, but this time I took a little bit more time for a walk and went on this alternative trip, discovering a lot of spectacular details.

Paul Castro

image copyrightPAul Castro

I normally drive my girlfriend crazy with my continual stopping to take photos and so the every "100 steps" part of the task, which placed a reasonable limit on my usual distraction, really helped maintain domestic harmony that day.

Paul Marsh

image copyrightPAul Marsh

Taken on a very rainy day, I had started walking but soon got very wet. As I got back in the car, the steam from inside, and the rain outside, made for a softening of the image.

If you are interested in this then head over to the 12 by 12 site to see what the current challenge is. Of course you can also take part in our weekly photo-challenges here on the BBC.

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