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Cafe Challenge #41 "The Eve of Life" - Topic Thread

Discussion in 'Challenge and Contests Forum' started by Harry S., Jul 27, 2007.

  1. First of all, thanks to Patrick for hosting the previous challenge and respect to all for the nice contributions.



    In the early 1990’s at the museum, I had the chance to listen to the stories of a very aged entomologist (94 at that time). He retired 12 years before I was born and already was a POW in WW1, stationed in the Lake Baikal area. The spark of my fascination for old people had already been kindled by a socio-photographic book about 90 year old people, written by a friend of mine (Willy Puchner, a very renowned Austrian photographer). This fascination lasts till today.

    The eyes, the countenance, the body language, all this tells something about the hardship they had to endure or the bliss they have been lucky to enjoy. Their souls are sometimes difficult to fathom, but overall they are an encyclopedia of wisdom. Sometimes they are full of bitterness and disappointment and less willing to share this wisdom – like my grandfather, who was never able to get rid of his conviction for the NAZI ideology and seldom had anything else to tell but harsh words for his neighbors and relatives until he died at the age of 87. But if you were able to filter his words and stereotypies, a fascinating world opened up before you.

    Therefore, respect your elders and the aged in general, motivate them to share their memories and wisdom or this unrecorded knowledge will leave the world together with them.


    I have hoped and dreaded for a long time that I would once win a challenge and could bring up this topic:

    The Eve of Life​

    As I said earlier, if this topic is taken serious, it will be a real challenge, because

    what I don’t want to see

    are the usual “Granny-sitting-in-the-armchair-looking-at-the-camera” images.

    What I expect from you – and I know you can do that – are powerful pics of aged people (best taken unawares), pics which tell a whole story, ranging from full of melancholy to full of joy. See further below to get an idea of what I mean (Epilog).

    Knowing that this is not so easy to achieve convincingly I will grant a week more time for this challenge period.

    The challenge will start as soon as the submission thread is up and will end Saturday, 18th August 2007, 20.00 UTC GMT

    To avoid a time discussion best use this link to help:


    To give you an example of how I would approach this challenge, here’s a pic taken some 25 years ago and a few fitting lines of a song I wrote about 10 years ago (at a certain age people tend to think if there will be a “Next Year” for them). The man on the pic was the acolyte of my hometown church, a very naive but very friendly person. His name was Brother Julian and he played a role in a movie, of which this photo might be a screen shot.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    But the seasons pass and the nights grow longer
    hair is grey the fire is burning low
    flowers bloom and wither
    and when winter’s frosts are near
    their buds are hidden well, my dear
    will they open for us next year?

    Sorry for the melancholic mood, you may of course create your challenge entries a bit more cheerful.

    So read all the lines carefully, digest them and show me some real socio-graphic art. I know you can do it.

    Now for some of the regular stuff


    1. Every participant is allowed one picture per challenge.

    2. The picture has to be taken between the submission start and end date.
    This is to make it a "Challenge" and not just another "Best
    Picture Contest"

    3. The posted picture must remain unaltered, once posted.
    But the text of the participation may be edited/changed, as often as
    necessary (for possible exceptions contact the Challenge Leader)!

    4. Pictures may be processed/edited and worked on, in post production
    before submitting them, but the main picture/content must have been
    taken during the submission dates.

    5. Somewhat controversial pictures are permitted, but please use your
    judgment and keep it within reason. ( Note that this community should
    remain suitable for all age groups )

    6. If there are any questions or obscurities the Challenge Leader is the
    person to appeal and to decide.

    7. The actual Challenge Leader has the freedom to alter the rules,
    if reasonable (except Rule 5 perhaps). But he/she has to make sure the rules
    are clearly stated and applied to all submissions.

    Look here for more detail:


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  2. What a great challenge!
  3. Yes a great topic.

    But this won't be easy, thanks for the Challenge, Harry
  4. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    Very difficult.

  5. Yes, that's why it is called a "Challenge" - otherwise it would just be a competition :wink:

  6. Only one entry so far (which is excellent - BTW). Is this challenge really so difficult?

  7. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    I'm gonna hit the streets today and tomorrow I think...we'll see what happens. I can call this "feature hunting" for my newspaper. :smile:
  8. DeoreDX


    Jan 16, 2007
    Only because I do not have any elderly people to photo and I feel strange taking pictures of people I do not know :940:
  9. Yes, it is difficult. I tried last tuesday and it felt like I was sneaking up on some poor elderly people who ignored what I was up to: invading their privacy. Seems I'll never be a people's fotographer....
  10. I understand your concern, but wouldn't then all types of street photography fall in that category, too?

    OTOH - that is why I wrote "motivate them to talk" - in the same course it is much easier to be able to take photos of them, in most cases they will be even thankful to get this unlooked-for attention.

  11. Sunesha


    May 3, 2007
    Malmoe, Sweden
    I showed my subjects the photo and asked if can keep it. They will get a printed copy in the mail. I always use this approach on the people I take photos off. This way the subject has chance to decide if I will keep it.

    That way I sleep heavy on the night also.
  12. seems like submits are closed and I am a day too late!
    I just returned a few days ago from a month of traveling which started the day after submitting a photo for the previous contest and assumed that I would just have to sit one out. I have just now started reviewing my digital images from my trip and noticed one picture i would have used for this contest.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    the image was taken at the Museum of Flight Restoration Facility near Seattle WA. it does not contain a old person in it. who is to say who is 'old' and who is not anyways. it is an image of a relic with a story. an artifact with an old life and a new life to come. this old wing of a P-80 shooting star is literally in the process of dying and going to heaven and its guts are exposed for anyone to see.

    contest entry or not, i just wanted to share it anyways.
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