PHOTO-ASSIGNMENT 03: Go Somewhere New With A Camera | Zen Camera By David Ulrich

Read: Starting A New Challenge – Zen Camera | David Ulrich

Constraints Of The Assignment:

  • Make use of the heightened sensitivity (that results from visiting a new place) by taking pictures.
  • Give yourself the benefits of adrenaline by challenging yourself and inviting hints of danger – where you risk discomfort, not physical danger. Maybe waterproof your phone or camera and go diving, or surfing, or snorkeling. Try going into neighborhoods that are unfamiliar or interesting to you. Or, make portraits of strangers that you meet on the streets or around the town.

Read: Creativity Thrives On Constraints.

“Don’t be like the tourist at the Grand Canyon who leaves the car and walks to the edge of the site to take a single picture – then turns and walks away. Been there, done that. For them, photography is a substitute for experience. Rather, take a lingering look, use the camera to expand the action of looking and interacting. Walk into the rim of the Grand Canyon and have a picnic. Stay there for a while. Take photos. Walk around, climb up and down the parts of the rim where you have access. Stay for sunset. Return again in different kinds of light and weather… Explore thoroughly. Have a good time with your camera at your side.”

David Ulrich, Zen Camera

Purpose Of The Assignment:

  • New surroundings and unfamiliar environments stimulate the senses, invite a heightened sense of attention, and usher you into a fresh experience.
  • To enjoy the privilege of a photographer and get access to and an excuse to interact with people and places you might not otherwise encounter.
  • Heightening your experience of the world using a camera, and intensifying your interactions.

If you plan to do these assignments, I highly insist that you get yourself a copy of ZEN CAMERA to fully understand what each assignment is actually about. I provide only the outline in my blog-articles.


Duration: 31 December, 2020 – 3 January-2021

Location: Varanasi, India. (Google Map: )

Photographs From The Assignment:

My Experience:

I have seen a few hundred pictures of the evening aarti on the Ghats of Varanasi, and none of them did any justice to the actual event. What a beauty! One must see with his/her own eyes. One needs to sit there quietly and see all the hour-long preparation that goes in everyday before the aarti even starts. One needs to stay back after the aarti and watch people wrap it up again. One needs to see the thousands of people who ride the boat to watch the aarti. No single image can do justice to this. One needs to see how coordinated all the priests are at every moment. One needs to smell the incense and hear the people chanting together.

It was a much-needed-change after spending almost nine months quarantined in my bedroom. The first 24 hours were overwhelming, either because Varanasi is way more crowded than what I am used to in Kolkata, or because it was a sensory shock after staying in for such a long time. Whatever be the reason, this short trip charged me up again.

I meditated in a distant part of the banks early morning with nothing except fog around me – gave me the feeling of experiencing heaven first hand. Chilling cold, and not a single soul visible through the dense fog. I even made a very brief video of that morning. Such a dreamy sight!

Another prominent part of my tour was “silent observation”. I spent almost 4 hours sitting in the middle of the crowd at Dashashwamedh Ghat and soaked in everything: the diversity in the types of people, their behavior, their clothes, their languages.

“Silent observation” is the previous photo-assignment that I did: PHOTO-ASSIGNMENT 02: Look Up | Zen Camera By David Ulrich.