#852. ChiKi challenge results: the vibe tribe has spoken.

By philberphoto | How-To

May 02
Desperately seeking ChiKi

This is one way to see it: in the book of Genesis, it is written: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. This is as good a definition of ChiKi as any. The breath of life.”

For many, vital energy is to be found in a good bistro

Another way to define it is that of the Big Bang. Limitless energy driving the universe into endless divergence. Hence, the differences within the various forms of understanding of ChiKi embody the divergence that is part of the expanding universe. An expansion driven by ChiKi .


Still, what your pictures say, beyond the fact that they are really great images -thanks and congrats, people of DS!- is that ChiKi embodies some form of tension: natural Vs. artificial, nature Vs. man, death Vs. life, dark Vs. light, old Vs. young, etc.

Too much ChiKi, obviously!

Some submissions seem (my interpretation of your intent!) to show that ChiKi pics are images that, by themselves, radiate vital energy. Others posit (again, my interpretation) that the principle and workings of ChiKi must be shown. To each his/her own, thanks and congratulations to all, you are an awesome, amazing community…

The mandatory broken bike. Does broken and sunken count as 2?

Along with his contribution for this challenge, Johannes Hüttner sent us this poem quoted from the Tao Te Ching :

“A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.

Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.”


Pavel Bochman

Matera, Italy.

I get it! The profusion, the diversity, the organic, yet seemingly haphazard implementation. Life, life, life everywhere!


Bill Bokeh (pseudo)


No doubt, there is vital energy afoot! Or at hand, rather!


Adam Bonn

Sweeping Sun

The sun sweeps, and man glides. The combination of such apparently ill-matched partners adds up to what is called the Universe.


Johannes Hüttner


Johannes writes “Although the idea isn’t very original, nothing represents raw life force more than new saplings shooting up during spring with their lush greens. I chose Fuji´s Velvia profile during processing in C1 because it brings out the greens even more.”

Johannes says it so well…


The bottom picture is sooo my cup of tea…


Pascal Jappy


Pascal writes: “When the going gets tough, cheat. Since I found this challenge difficult, I decided to cheat by creating contrasts between various locations, hoping this would enhance the vibe of each: a serene church, a spooky moore. a Tim Burton house, a pot of gold …”


Going through picture after picture, it was obvious that Pascal sees verticals being an integral part of ChiKI. And then of course, being Pascal, at the last minute (image) he upsets my clever theory…


Bob Kruger


Art as (one of) the product(s) of Chi-Ki. Wow! I am in awe.


Werner Mäder


Werner writes “When I read about this new challenge, immediately one of my recent pictures came to my mind I shot last fall in Amrum – a beautiful Iland in the Northern See (Germany). For me it stands for what he described Chi as life force, vital force, vital energy.”


Sand and grass. Mineral and vegetal. What binds them together? The wind! Invisible, ephemereal, unstoppable, bitingly cold or soothingly mild and warm, ever-changing energy!


Brian Nicol


Do I detect a them of humanity containing nature and gradually boxing it in?




Why is this my entry? Darkness and light. A safe road, separated from danger by a fragile barrier. Sun and warmth at the end of the tunnel. ChiKi isn’t a given, it is a path, a quest, a conquest!


Pascal Ravach


Pascal sent us two series. One about life force itself and one about how it manifests in various areas of Asia, depending on local wealth and relationship to the environment. Here is set 1.


And here is set 2.


It is hard not to see complexity as part of Pascal R’s ChiKi. Not necessarily how Bob Kruger sees it. All the better for this diversity…


Nancee Rostad


Ah, Nancee! You give us the vastness of the sea, the swell, sound and scent of the waves. Eternal, yet frozen into an instant by your camera. Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer. Man of freedom, always cherish the sea! (Baudelaire, mauled into English by yours truly)


Lad Sessions


I see benches as being for older men. Thus the sun rises as human life sets. ChiKi comes full circle.


Kristian Wannebo

The dancer is part of a performance after Henri Michaux, the dancers imitate the projected silhouettes.

Forests full of vegetation, rocks devoid of life. Or are the rocks the life itself? Both one life, as illustrated by the grass growing through the concrete and the tree among the houses?


John Wilson

Sunlight Solitude – Santorini
Staircase – Mykonos
Welcome – Strathcona
Homage a Monet et St.Lazare
Yaquina head Light, Newport
After The Storm – Santorini

No tension, no ChiKi for John! His choice of Santorini cannot be happenstance. The locus of the most powerful eruption recorded by man, enough to wipe out civilizations. Big, bad ChiKi!


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I don’t envy the judge of this competition! So much talent – so many magnificent photographs!

  • Johannes Hüttner says:

    Awesome pictures all around. My favorites are Bob Kruger’s flower macros, Nancee Rostad‘s b&w waves and John Wilson’s staircase. Beautiful and inspiring photographs.

  • pascaljappy says:

    Fascinating! What I see here are photographs of

    the raw energy of life (in Johannes Hüttner’s sprouting vegetation and in Pascal Ravach’s tiles and pole invaded by growth)

    energy harnessed into human creation, either in grand buildings (Pascal Ravach again) or in the opposite architectural approach (reminiscent of Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Languages) that leave far more freedom to the individual (in Pavel Bochmann’s wonderfully energetic and sun baked village). Or even in ingenuity of repairs (Pascal Ravach)

    the energy of nature depicted as raw in Nancee Rostad’s fantastic series or tamed by Adam’s surfer

    the serene energy of balanced places seen in Lad Session’s tree and bench but also in Werner Mäder’s beach

    a study, at times metaphorical, of phases of energy and life in Bob Kruger’s still lives. And, to my mind a similar study in a completely different setting by John Wilson’s set of ‘human meets energy’ creations

    a study of life emerging in all conditions (snow, pavements, housings, forests, rocks …) Those rocks remind me of gnamma holes, the pools found on the top of the big Autralian monoliths after the rains, and in which life appears at incredible speed before dying off when the water evaporates. Chi at its most potent?

    a great reflection on the absence of energy, or its ‘perturbation’ (something I feared no one would talk about) in Brian Nicol’s set (that first photograph is incredible) that could be ‘energy meets entropy’

    a metaphysical reflection on vital energy and personal path in Philippe’s photograph

    and what’s a challenge without a little humor? (BillB)

    Thanks to all participants !

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Many nice ideas, as always… what a warming group 🙂
    What I like a lot in Philippe’s “promenade” and Lad’s bench it the idea of *contemplation* of Life by humans, without showing these, hence putting us right there… very clever 🙂

  • John W says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how wide and varied the interpretation of a topic can be within a community of generally like minded individuals. I guess the emphasis is on “individuals”. WELL DONE ALL!!!

    AND!! PJ – I really want those trees … big time. Oh the possibilities …
    Brian – The shot of the destroyed house is a killer. Wish I’d stumbled across
    it. And the decaying old truck … what a find.
    PascalR – That building at the end of your sequence is a magnet for my eyes. I
    could wear out a sensor photographing just that.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    I’m amazed by all the wonderful interpretations of Chi-Ki. From the subtle and delicate to the robust, bordering on violent, subjects, each and every image demonstrates vital energy, juxtaposition, and/or the magical phases of life. Once again, I’m impressed with the shear artistry of each DearSusan contributor. I can’t wait for the next challenge!

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    I’ve come back to this post a few times as many of the photos still grow on me.

    Again, a DS challenge brings out so very different and inspiring approaches to a common theme, strong photos in personal styles!
    I won’t try to pick favourites, it’s just too hard!

    I can’t but agree with the previous comments!

    As Nancee Rostad – and obviously others – I’m looking forward to further challenges!

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