I really enjoy photo workshops. It is not just the chance to travel to someplace new and interesting, it is capturing something new and essential. One tool that can help in this is having a challenge given to you. Some of my favorite images have come about due to these sorts of challenges.
That said, this post is about one that failed.
Over 10 years ago, I was on a trip to Spain and was able to spend several days in the Alhambra. What a magnificent place to see and photograph. The gardens and architecture are stunning and full of history. With that in mind, we were given the following challenge: Imagine it is 1492 and you are the last Moorish king in Spain and are being forced to leave forever. You have a camera and can take 3 images with you and can leave one behind for the new occupants.
Ones to take with you are easy to figure out. Just look for your favorite images, like these:
The real challenge was figuring out a good image to leave behind. I thought about it and wanted it to send a message. And then an idea came to me. I'd create a double image. One would be a shot of the gardens and the other would be a close up of a face with eyes closes. The message is that you can force me to leave, but all I need to do is close my eyes and I can return in thoughts and dreams.
Unfortunately, this was before I had a digital camera, so the only way to get a double image was to take a double exposure and hope it came out. Right at that time my father came by and agreed to help me. I framed and shot the garden image, then handed the camera over and he took the close-up of my face. It wasn't until many days later that I got the slide back and found that we somehow messed things up...the face was upside down in relation to the garden.
This failure has stuck with me all these years. So, I decided to try and finally get the image I wanted. The first step was to take some fairly tight self-portraits. Next, I found a slide that I had previously scanned from that trip that, I believe, is close to the one I was planning to use. Finally, combine them digitally, making sure both aspects are clear.
Here's the result.