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Chased by Constraints

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

One of the best examples of constraints leading to more creativity is Chased by the Light, a project by veteran nature photographer Jim Brandenburg.
In the mid-90s, Brandenburg decided to venture into the North woods of Minnesota with his film camera and shoot for 90 days straight. The constraint? He would only allow himself 1 frame per day.

No matter how many possibilities he saw for images, each day he could only click that shutter once. Of course, since he was using film, that one shot, no matter how technical or creative, would have to be perfect the first time, every time.

The 90 images led to a National Geographic feature (the most photos they’ve ever published in a feature), a book and a documentary. A sequel to the project followed, titled Looking for the Summer, which led to another National Geographic feature.

A single, very simple, constraint became the linchpin of a photographer’s legacy. How many unique constraints can you imagine?