January Photo Contest: Inspired by a Song

I must admit, I was really inspired and overwhelmed by the tremendous response to our first creative challenge (I say “creative” because I am allowing Illustrators to participate as well 🙂

Thanks to everyone who participated by joining in this month – it wouldn’t have been nearly as meaningful without the stories you told with your images, the comments you left for others, and the votes you cast. You make a difference to me and to others. Thanks!

Soooo…. Now to the fun part!

Top Vote Winner

Our “People’s Choice Winner” who received the most votes in the photo contest, was Brooke Chamberlin, of Ashley Beige Photography.
This photo was inspired by the song “Paradise” by Coldplay. Brooke used the texture “Paradise” (how fitting!!), in soft light mode, from Texture Pack 2.
Brooke will receive the one of the prize packages worth $250 🙂  
IMPORTANT NOTE: Contestants are allowed to win the “People’s Choice” portion of the vote contest only once.


Judge’s Choice Winner

 This month’s Guest Judge is none other than my sister, Gina Kolsrud, an amazingly gifted natural-light photographer based in Phoenix.
Gina has a truly one-of a kind style and her ability to capture light and emotion is second to none. 
Gina’s choice was this beautiful, enigmatic shot by Megan James-Rodgers of Megan Rogers Photographie. Megan was inspired by “Castle in the Cloud” sung by young Cosette “I know a place where no one’s lost, I know a place where no one cries, Crying at all is not allowed, Not in my castle on a cloud.”
Megan used Emulsify and Sea Storm from the Vintage Grunge Set.

Megan will receive the one of the prize packages worth $250 🙂

January Contest Honorable Mentions

I also mentioned that regardless of whether or not you entered the contest, if you chose to upload your Song-based photo to my wall, I wanted to highlight some of the work. There were truly too many wonderful images to choose from so please don’t feel bad if I wasn’t able to include yours, but here are 10 that spoke to me…

  “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift – Adriana Varela of Adriana Varela Photography.

  “Lights” by Ellie Goulding – Allyson Dickey at Allyson D Photoworks.

 “Mad World” by Gary Jules – Shae Foster Lorigan of Saflower Photography.

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman – Jeannine Ulasich Eubanks of Creation Held Captive Photography.

 “Grey” by Ani Difranco – Allison Paige Horrath

 “Falling from Cloud 9” by Katy Perry – Catherine Griffiths Auger of Vanilla Tree Photography.

 “Hurt” by Johnny Cash – Shannon Sissy Harrell of Frames of Life Studio.

 “Psalm 101:1” – Peggy Wolff of Peggy Wolff Photography 
“Unthought Known” by Pearl Jam – Cindy Johnson of Cindy Johnson Boudoir Photography.

“Unthought Known” by Pearl Jam – Erin Cox of Erin Cox Photography


(Not an Honorable Mention) but just in case you missed it, these were my takes on the song, Mad World by Gary Jules.

I was inspired by these lyrics:

“All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere”

I’ve always been a little preoccupied by traffic. I wonder where people are going, marvel at how many of us there are, think about how viewed from above we must look like busy little ants building our colonies. I like the movement of traffic, how it can feel choreographed like a dance or intricate like a weaving when cars are changing lanes. How people behave in their cars is also fascinating to me, how they choose to interact with the world when they don’t have to maintain relationships and can operate with anonymity.

The song has a very surreal element to it as well I wanted to tap into. So much of it centers around the philosophical notions of existentialism and absurdism (well, I think anyway, I’m not much of a philosopher). When you stop participating in the “daily races” it’s easy to question the meaning of life, and wonder what it is we are supposed to do with this gift. This is an especially hard question to think about in times of illness, loss, depression, or other unfortunate circumstances, when this gift seems too burdensome and meaningless.

“And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very mad world mad world”

I’m a sentimentalist and a romantic. I like juxtaposing the soft dreamy feel of a woman sleepwalking, not properly dressed for the weather or to meet others, hair blowing, fragile, very human against all that metal and concrete and reinforced steel.

Thank you to all who have participated in this month’s challenge. Thank you for everyone who took the time to vote, comment, post, and even to read this.

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