#989. (Con)fine art challenge results !

By pascaljappy | Art & Creativity

Apr 09

You’re locked in, trying to protect yourself and others from an epidemic like few of us have ever known and someone throws a spanner in your best laid plan to sit this out with a good book. That someone is Pascal Ollier, put the blame squarely on him 😉 His challenge to you was simple : what are the best photographs you can make from the confines of your home, allowed walk, or shelter of choice?


As usual, the most interesting aspect of it all is how we each individually adapt and find a new motivation in what wasn’t necessarily a motivating subject.

Some have seized the opportunity to push their creativity to extremes and work harder, as evidenced by Philippe’s lovely post on deliberate shooting. Others have tried to maintain some modicum of continuity in their production. Others still have soaked up the concept of confinement and made it theirs and made it a subject in itself. Which is what I hoped to see, I guess, in this challenge. And what I tried to do myself, at least initially.


But, mostly, this was about finding something fun to do together, even when separated by thousands of miles and when stuck behind walls.

Predictably, given the season and our lack of travel, flowers have been a major favourite in the results that follow 😉 But not only. And we have a lot of variety in spite of the conditions!

So, thank you very much to everyone who played along! Your photographs bring joy and interesting thoughts to all those reading. I hope you all enjoy the spread that follows.



Paul Barclay


Paul explains : “Like many people across the country and around the world I have been “Sheltering in Place” and working from home for the past three weeks. I am fortunate in the we do not have mobility restrictions like some other areas. So I am able to get out and be away from home as long as I maintain my “Social” distance. I tried going to a couple of different locations while out, but found I preferred to just walk in my own neighborhood and started carrying a camera me.

These images were made while walking during the past week. The first two were made in my front yard.”


“At one time I really tried to practice macro photography. But that was then and these are now. For the image of the flowers above, I literally held my lens up to them compose on the rear screen of the camera and pressed the shutter button hoping for the best. Out of a dozen images this one had potential and the crop makes it work.

I made the image of the five mailboxes a few minutes after the flowers. I’m not sure why. But the light on them seemed nice and I liked the angle of view. The symmetry of the image kept it in consideration until it was in the final 3.”


“The last image above was made the day after the first two, about 3 blocks from my house. This mailbox is becoming a regular subject during my walks. It is part of a group of old mail boxes that are showing age and character in the form of rust and pealing paint.

Take care everyone.”


Philippe Berend


For me, confinement only takes on meaning, as in restrictive, isolating, imprisoning, frustrating, depriving, if there is a tempting outside world which cannot be accessed. If one had no conscience of that, even a cell might not be experienced as confining, it would just be our view of the world. Sort of a “Pirates of Penzance” view of female beauty. Only comparison lets us pass judgement and fuels our desires.

So, taking this challenge litterally, my pictures offer an view of both worlds. One inner, one outer. And guess where the life, the colour are…


Pascal Jappy


This was tough. First, because my morale wasn’t all that good at the time and photographs rapidly turned to this:


And this

Squarely down
Death grass

Those were made during the 1 hour daily walk we are allowed within 1km of our home. And they were just bringing me down more.

But harder still was realising that I just don’t care about confinement photography. I have to be inspired by something to make a photograph out of it. I don’t have Philippe’s determination to beat the odds and dive into deliberate photography, making art from what is around me. When there’s nothing to photograph, I just don’t photograph. A book is just as much fun.

But I tried, because that’s what those challenges are for. To … challenge ourselves. Not as competition to compare our work with someone else, but to get our creative juices flowing so that, when something does inspire, we’re primed and efficient. So I tried, using what was around, essentially flowers, to make good photographs. And those follow.

Wild and soft
I’ve got my eyes set on you
First bloom
Young model
Mid-life grace
Third age dance
Blue abstract I
Blue abstract II
Blue abstract III (this could go on 😉 )
Wild and free

All this made me focus. It made me think beyond an epidemic and get better at something that makes me happy. Thank you Mr Ollier.


Bob Kruger

Dorian Gray

Bob writes : “Sooner or later we all succumb to the ravages of time. How we perceive ourselves often conflicts with all evidence to the contrary. But does it matter? Ultimately, it is our spirit that is remembered. And only that.”

Contra Dance

Sometimes described as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance, contra dances can be found around the world, but are most common in the United States.

Two entwined human beings, what could be more uplifting?”

Tulip Uplift

Why do tulips give so much pleasure? Yes, indeed they are beautiful, graceful, elegant. But they emerge early in spring and, in one short burst, uplift us from the tethers of a cold, dark winter.


“I have the advantage of having an amazing wife, who tends an almost-as-amazing greenhouse, where she raises orchids. I also go to the grocery store occasionally, where – among other things – I buy peppers, in this instance a yellow pepper. Through the magic of digital manipulation, I have managed to graft one of my wife’s phalaenopsis orchids onto one of my peppers, a cross-species hybridization if you will. Puts a coronavirus to shame.


Jean-Claude Louis


Jean-Claude writes: “March 26, Day 22 of confinement. Belonging in the high risk group, my wife and I are staying at home, to dodge the virus and help curb its spread.

We are fortunate to live in a comfortable house located in a relatively remote area of the Pacific Northwest. I have never enjoyed more its surrounding grounds, with a pond, a garden of native plants and bushes, and mature trees – western cedars, firs, madronas and maple trees. I venture out several times a day; nature has become my refuge. I often grab a camera, usually the iPhone or the Light L16 that sits on my desk, and take photographs in the backyard, something I have done rarely until now…

The times they are a-changin’.  To all of you DearSusaners: stay safe and sane.”

Early March, the pond is frozen
The last frost of the winter
Sunrise, view from the bedroom
Nature is the artist
From the back porch

Pascal Ollier

A fast disappearing scene -flights, especially over Brussels’ jewel Justice Palace
Do you think we’ll get back to work soon? says one. Unpredictable says the other, have not seen a human for quite a while, they have something called a “virus”
Under house arrest, kept in the dark and expected to florish? True for trees, not for humans I’m afraid
The beetle is a predator of aphids.Could it become a predator of Covid 19 instead of just sunning itself???
Is mother nature claiming its right?

Sateen Prion


Sateen writes: “To many women my age, absolute boredom is the kitchen. I have photograped mine to illsutrate lockdown. And cropped in cinemascope as a joke”.


“And absolute escapism is a desert island. So I photographed some from a Google search on my computer screen”.


Mike Ross

The best laid plans

Mike adds this quote to his gem of a photograph: “The trouble is, you think you have time.” Buddha’s Little Instruction Book.

How true!


Nancee Rostad


Nancee writes: “Here is my contribution to the DS con(fine) art Challenge.I haven’t titled the two images, but together they could be called “The Effects of Wind on Water & Willow””


Lad Sessions


Dallas Thomas


Dallas’ contribution is interesting in that it’s not a “home confinement” photograph but a photograph made as he was travelling and had to rush back home because of confinement measures. It’s a fun image and we need humour more than most things right now 😉


Next challenge(s)

The challenge for April is Adrian’s Bayhem! In case you didn’t read his post, the idea of Bayhem (named after infamous film director Michael Bay) is to cram your frame full of visual elements. Think of a haiku and do the exact opposite, make it loud, make it chock a block with content, make it exciting and exhausting to watch. You know how you often like to make a serene, well composed picture of a tranquil lake with soft plumes of mist rising in the first pink rays of day? Well, not that 😉 😉


Then, if you want to plan ahead, Philippe has suggested the concept of RAW images. Photographs that depict something primal, as opposed to photographs that have been post processed to look spectacular. That follows in May.

For now, though, what do you think of our collective (con)fine art?


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  • jean pierre guaron says:

    Someone called Liz left an SMS message on my cellphone for someone called Stuart to call her. When I responded, telling her she must have the wrong number, there’s nobody by that name here, her response came back – “oh shit, bugga!”

    So – with that thought in mind – “oh shit, bugga!” – I’m too late, once again. I did have in mind a photo of my wife’s bicycle, or Guignol on my dining room table – and I managed a shot of the super moon, from my front door, last night – people walking past took one look at my rig and said things like “OMG – look at that!” I haven’t seen the results myself yet, not SOOC, but still in the damn thing. Possibly not as sharp as I’d wish, the lens didn’t cost $30,000 and it’s probably not at its sharpest at a distance of 384,000Km.

    Off to do my compulsory lock-down exercises now, so I can’t even stop to look at everyone else’s contributions. BBL – watch this space!

    Cheers – Pete

    • pascaljappy says:

      No worries, Pete.

      If you”re happy with that super moon, please send it in. I’ll be sure to highlight it some way or another. There’s that pictures of the month idea that we put out there and no one has been using. This could be the inaugurative POM. When we have 4, I’ll call Beethoven (ahem).


      • jean pierre guaron says:

        Plus tard – my wife wants some help with her new laptop – then I will do it ASAP. 🙂 Today’s topic is “#989 – fine art” – and fine it is! A wealth of photos, produced under trying conditions, by a panel of photography experts!
        Pascal, you can scarcely be “stuck behind walls”, with such a large garden! And “spring has sprung”, so you presumably have flowers all over the place. Flowers, of course, attract bees – and birds – and other wild life.
        So – here’s my critique. Not, I hasten to add, criticism. Because if you want that, you’ll have to ask someone else. I try to avoid negativity in life – as my mother used to say, life’s too short to bother with such things.
        No 1 – the yellow-I-don’t-know-what. Thanks for sharing it, Pascal – despite all your protestations, I am finding myself drawn to it. I’ve probably stared at it 20 times. It has a special charm, and draws the eye into the frame, into the image.
        No 2 – are we doing this on the colour wheel or something? – Paul’s opening shot. Again, I’ve no idea what species it is, but I love it. It wouldn’t suit my present garden, but it would have made a wonderful display in the garden of my previous home. Staring, again – over and over.
        No 3- and Philippe plunges into the sea, taking the whole of the colour wheel with him and sorting out the pieces in a magical way that I’ve never seen before, in the whole of my life. I am now beginning to think this whole thing is contrived, and that this is a set of photos taken to adorn someone’s walls.
        Oh, and by the way, Philippe, speaking as a dedicated introvert, I can take that line of thinking in a different direction. Confinement only exists in the mind. If your mind doesn’t recognise the boundaries, then there aren’t any. I am in “lockdown” – so what? – where? who says so? I am sitting at my desk, as I generally do after lunch. An hour or more ago, my wife and I set up a table and a couple of chairs in the courtyard, outside the dining room sliding glass doors – with a huge multicoloured (rainbow colours? – something like that) beach umbrella to shade us, as we ate lunch. Later, I am “allowed” to take Cris (the dog) for a walk – so what? – we do that several times each day, have done for decades, with her and her predecessors. Then it will be time for me to open up my grand piano and amuse myself with some of my favourite music, till I break off to cook our dinner. My gaol is a mirage – my jailer is a mirage.
        Back to photos.
        No 4 – Pascal Jappy, our other Pascal, and a very fine Pascal he is too. Cabined – cribbed – confined! A headline just appeared on my screen – “Photograph your hamster!” – I don’t even know what a hamster looks like, the message must be for Pascal, not me. I read – and try to empathise – but it’s all beyond me, so I am left suspecting Pascal must be an extrovert. Ever since this started, I’ve been thinking – “well OK, I’ll be alright, I probably won’t even notice – but how will the extroverts deal with this lockdown?”
        Still scrolling – and suddenly stop! My entire screen is smother by something completely from left field – a brilliant black & white photo [I left B&W behind, when I decided to spend the rest of my life with digi cameras, do my own processing, and only use B&W in extraordinary circumstances where there is too much of a mix of different and incompatible artificial lights]. And it is the most beautiful, the most spectacular, photo of a dandelion flower head that I have ever seen! And it is pursued down the page by photograph after photograph. “When there’s nothing to photograph, I just don’t photograph. A book is just as much fun.” turns into a parade of beautiful photos of flowers – bugga the book, this is much more fun! Till my eyes stop on “Blue abstract I” and I adore it. Slowly departing, moving gradually to the next one – and startled out of whatever wits I still have! If I loved “Blue abstract I”, I am at a loss for words to express how much more I fancy “”Blue abstract II”. Throw those books away, Pascal – stick to what you’re good at!
        No 5 – Bob Kruger – bang, bang, bang – and I am blown away, again. Dorian Gray is a masterpiece (LOL – so was Oscar’s book! – oops, forgot – we aren’t doing books, here!) – so is Contra Dance – and Pepperazzi makes me think of medieval masterpieces in oils. I usually have an orchid in full bloom at one end of my dining room table – happy memories of time spent in Singapore and Malaysia, when I was younger. But grafting green groceries onto one of them is beyond my skill set.
        No 6 – Jean-Claude. Is it impolite to ask where in the North-West of the Pacific anyone lives, apart from Koreans and Siberians? Creative – intriguing – and once again, they would make a very attractive addition to a lounge room wall. Anyone who has ever set foot in the Orangerie at the Louvre is bound to tell you they love paintings of lilies. But this is not Paris – it is the NW of the PO, half a world away. And the lilies are pushed to one side, replaced by a remarkable shot of leaves under the water – brilliant, once again. The artist puts the blame on nature – I think nature puts it straight back on the photographer! And the final photo is utterly absorbing – I can imagine it as a set for a murder mystery – this is where they hid the body, which was never to be seen again!
        No 7 – Pascal Ollier – Pascal the third! SciFi at the top of the first photo – a UFO, presumably. Talking cranes? – blame Leon Musk and the spread of AI. And then you give me a lady bird – I adore lady birds! Have you ever caught a picture of one of them, in flight?
        No 8 – Sateen. Well FYI, the cooking in our house is done by me – occasionally my wife tries to do something towards the making of the evening meal, but it is better if I simply ply her with cocktails. I hope you are joking about boredom – for me, it is a constant process of learning, and developing or acquiring recipes, and creating. I don’t even mind the hour or so spent later in the evening, cleaning up the kitchen and feeding the dog – once again, I’d far rather do it myself, than let my wife anywhere near it! So – is the yellow patch in the first shot lemons? I can see the cup handle and plates in the second – closeups like this lend us a helping hand, where the goal is “creativity” – by giving us something crisp and clear, something blurred, and an air of mystery.
        No 9 – Mike Ross. Highly imaginative – very appropriate for the topic of how we are all dealing with lockdown – sorry about the spectacles, but I think yo must have another pair!
        No 10 – Nancee’s genre involves travel – this is clearly creative, and the colour wheel is flying once again. How can we characterise complementary images as “contrasting”?
        No 11 – Lad – your final frame symbolises what most of us have been feeling – a peek through a gap, looking for liberty, but finding an empty street.
        And finally no 12 – Dallas – caught by the rush of announcements of shutdowns and lockdowns – but bringing back with him a photograph of the most imaginative zebra crossing I’ve even set eyes on. That said – it’s so unusual that I don’t think I’d be prepared to put it to the acid test, by stepping out on it to see if motorists took the slightest notice of it!

        Now I have to finish my chore for my wife’s computer and then transfer my shot of the super moon, to send to Pascal no.1

        Cheers – and whatever lies ahead of us, I hope we all come through this difficult time, together, safe, sound, healthy, and happy. 🙂

        • pascaljappy says:

          Pete, thank you for all those interesting analyses and kind words. In our collective misfortune, we are very lucky to have great vegetation to inspire us all 🙂

          And I’m sorry there are so many Pascals here 😀

        • Jean-Claude Louis says:

          Jean Pierre: Sorry if this came through as americentric, I plead guilty; I must have lived here for too long to pay attention 😉
          For information, the Pacific Northwest is a geographical region in western North America bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges to the east. It includes the Canadian province of British Columbia and the US states of Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho.
          And thank you for your very interesting, and entertaining, critiques of the submissions from all the participants. It’s heartwarming and rewarding. Stay safe !

    • PaulB says:


      I was shooting Super Moon images two nights ago. I haven’t downloaded mine from the camera yet either.

      Maybe we should send Pascal 2-3 moon images for a mini-challenge. We could call it the mini-Moon, or the Many-Moon, challenge. But only images take this week (before April 13th so others can participate).

      I would expect that images of the same subject taken from around the world could be rather interesting.


      • jean pierre guaron says:

        I’m in – mine might by blurry, but hey! – I’ve only ever done astronomical 3 times in my life, and Pascal assures us it’s highly technical and only suitable for experts – utterly impossible as a sideline to pet photography! 🙂 (Or shots of Guignol on my dining table – LOL)

        • pascaljappy says:

          Please do. I wouldn’t consider your rig as exavtly “layman” 😉 And you’ve had training on distant objects in the past. Go for it 🙂

      • pascaljappy says:

        Yes please, yes please !

  • Pascal O. says:

    Pascal, thank you for allowing this (con)fine challenge to take place.

    Fine contributions galore, especially yours. Quality, quantity, humour, what else could we hope for?

    I just hope we are now invited to do a refresh any time soon ^^.

    Stay safe, stay healthy, everyone!

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Nice work everyone! I noticed many emotions being expressed in the images, which perfectly mirror the myriad of emotions we are all feeling during this world-wide crisis. Stay safe and sane!

  • PaulB says:

    I have often said that constraint leads to creativity. I usually mean that in the sense of being limited to a single piece of equipment. Though, these images show that taken literally, it is still true.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hear, hear. In fact, I’d love to post something on succesful artists being those who manage to eliminate the most from their vision and workflow. It’s a discusion we’ve been haing offline with Philippe for a while and it will turn into something, one day 😉

      • Jean-Claude Louis says:

        Self-imposed constraints? Foster creativity by minimizing distractions (for ex. gear, tools, workflow, preconceived ideas), focusing the mind, increasing perception, finding the inner truth. Meditation anyone ? 🙂

  • Great images for everybody well done. Pascal O it was a great idea!!

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