The French writer Georges Perec wrote a book called An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975) in which he wrote down everything he could see from a certain viewpoint. You may like to read it.
Choose a viewpoint, perhaps looking out of your window or from a café in the central square, and write down everything you can see. No matter how boring it seems or how detailed, just write it down. Spend at least an hour on this exercise.
Here are some areas to consider:
- Can you transform this into a photography version?
- Would you stay in the same place or get in close to the things you listed?
- Would you choose to use your camera phone in order to be discreet or would you get your tripod out?
- Would it be better in black and white or colour?
- Would you include your list with the final images? You may choose to turn this into a photography project if it interests you.
I sat at the window of my own home although it would have been more interesting to sit at a cafe or any other place but as boring as it was; I got the chance to see things I did not notice before and I think this exercise needs to be as boring as possible in order to find interesting things. Below are the list out of my window:
George Perec a French novelist, filmmaker, documnetalist and essayist in his book An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975) listed everything that is going around him no matter how boring it is. He described what happens everyday and questions it. He questions bricks, glass, tools, the way one spend their lives, basically anything that usually pass unnoticed not worrying about repetition.
Sitting listing what I see integrates ideas and inspirations, it made me see these everyday things in a new way. I would certainly though go closer for some of the views such as the kids playing football since the view is a bit far away from where I am, however I might prefer using my camera phone or I might use my camera but from a bit further using a zoom lens. People gathering at the mosque doing the rituals such as “wodooa” outside the mosque could be interesting as well as the people sitting outside beside one of the villas utilizing the free wifi it offers to the guest at their living room!
I prefer to take colored photos of some of the things I saw and black and white with others. With the view of trees and birds I personally see a black and white series there while with the others mentioned above, colour would be nice utilizing the light from the sun.
Bibliography / References:
Perec, G. An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris [online]. Available From: https://iitcoa3rdyr.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/perec_readings.pdf [Accessed 4 July, 2017].