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26 BY 26 MEMBERS’ BOOK An online community’s response to fortnightly photo challenges set by twenty-six accomplished photographers


Over the course of a year some of the world’s leading contemporary photographers created challenges for members of an online community called 26 by 26. This book aims to showcase a small selection of the images submitted to the project and tries to give a flavour of the diverse work created in a plethora of styles and formats. The 26 by 26 project aimed to stretch its members creatively, encouraging experimentation in terms of approach as well as aesthetics. Whilst taking part in the project, members could gain an insight into how a group of well-respected photographers approach their art, as often their challenges were reflective of their own practice. All of the members’ images submitted can be viewed at



Take a subject as far out of context as possible. — Andrew Zuckerman


Above: Untitled, Oguz Ozkan Opposite: Simon flesh reality 5, Julia Cameron 3


Above: Untitled, Danielle Houghton Opposite: Forbidden Fruit, Eleri Norris 5


Above: The Sky at Night (aka Sodium Chloride crystals on black card), Maurice Ford Opposite: Paphiopedilum 1, Fred LePIere 7

Above: Stairway To Heaven, Michael May Opposite: Pauline doing the housework for her Granddad, Albert, who was 93 and house bound when this was taken, Mike Lincoln 8


Photograph an image which exemplifies the essence of altruistic behavior. — Steve McCurry

Steve adds… Neuroscientists believe that there is a neural basis of altruism. The findings, published Dec. 23 2012 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, may shed light on why many animals (including humans) exhibit kind, unselfish behavior that doesn’t directly benefit them.



Above: Untitled, Ilya Shtutsa Opposite: Donor, Rik O’Hare 11


Pretend you are an animal (earthworm, cat, bat, sparrow, etc.), imagine what you would perceive and take a photo from this perspective. — Michael Reisch Michael adds… It is a question of trying to identify with another being in a maybe emphatic way, although it is totally different from us. Also what I find interesting is that actually the photographers view on things is analogous to the animal view, watching mankind’s strange behavior and projects very much from the outside.


Above: What a house fly in my house saw when it looked into the mind of another house fly in my house, Mike Gorski Opposite: What the small fly on the inside of my windscreen saw when I brought my car through the car wash! Mark O’Doherty 13


Above: Line up, Joern Greuling Opposite: Alien Landscape, Meredith Wilson 15

Above: Untitled, Mark W. Russell Opposite: And My Love Shines, Meredith Wilson 16


Make a photograph in collaboration with a subject, that enables the subject to get their message across. — Tom Hunter

Tom adds‌ In my work I feel that the representing my subjects is extremely important, they are real people and need to be treated with dignity and respect not playthings of an photographer using images to further his own career. I see my work as a collaboration between myself and the subjects, trying to make images which tell stories of a real world for the world.


Above: Maisie, Adam Akins Opposite: Patriot, Martin Kelly 18


Left: Untitled, David Gillett “To me there are parallels between the act and results of physically stretching during the photoshoot and my trying to stretch myself to be more compassionate (feels a bit uncomfortable but also freeing). Whilst I would not define myself as a buddhist my trying to stretch myself daily to be more compassionate is inspired by by the writing of Pema Chödrön, a buddhist nun.” – HG, the model


Right: Recruitment Drive, Emma Georgiou “George has worked in the farming industry since he was 17. Farming however is experiencing some serious problems with recruitment; despite the current economic climate farming is not attracting the number of new recruits as it should be. In the next decade nearly 60,000 new farmers will be needed in order to provide enough food for the rest of us. George’s message is simple - The farming industry needs a new generation; if young people are not forth coming, it could well result in the British Farmer becoming a thing of the past.”



Above: Untitled, Michael May Opposite: Molly, Katie Smith 23

Left: Lentigo Maligna, Sylvia Slavin ARPS “John had this brown mark for around 10 years. In the last few months it started affecting his eyesight causing things to look more blurred and his eyes to water a lot. Finally he went to the doctors and within a month they operated. This is a skin cancer called Lentigo Maligna and it can be either benign or malignant. We are now awaiting the results of the biopsy and hope that its not malignant and that his eyesight will not be permanently impaired. Already (a week after the operation) his sight is improving. The operation was done under local anaesthetic and he was able to go home straight away. If you have something like this get it seen now!!�


Above: Untitled, Astrid Schramek




Be inspired to be brave. — Spencer Murphy

Spencer adds… Photography can often be a very solitary pursuit and an excuse for the shy to hide. Do something you wouldn’t usually do, photograph someone or something in a different way and subvert the pictures meaning, approach a subject that you’ve been putting off because you’ve been afraid.

Opposite: Flag thieves, Ilya Shtutsa



Above: Untitled, Oguz Ozkan Opposite: Eleanor, 2013, Benjamin J Borley 29

Left: Brave again, Elizabeth Roberts-Garth “In November 2012 I underwent a major bowel resection surgery which left me with a large scar down my lower abdomen. Before the surgery Crohn’s disease had left me so ill that I was unable to walk and had not been properly active in 2 years. After the surgery I had to learn how to be myself again, as my identity was ‘an ill person’. My first big outing after surgery was a trip to Center Parcs for a friends hen party. I considered buying an all in one swim suit to cover the scar but decided to use the suit that I had before surgery. I was nervous and scared of what people would think, but did it anyway, and it was fine! This photo was taken to represent how brave I had to be to go through the initial disease, surgery, recovery, and also being confident in my body again.” More information about Crohn’s disease:


Right: Brave behind blinds, Ingeborg Grandia “Brave? Don’t know, I don’t like to be photographed, don’t do selfies if I can avoid it, and confronting and imaging my own fear of being seen as that nosy woman/neighbour always taking pictures from behind the window”




Decide upon an emotion you wish to convey, use that as your guide to build your story. — Ian Teh

Ian adds… One of photography’s greatest strengths is its ability to emote through its ability to suggest. How would you frame your image based on the emotion you have decided upon? What colours will you use (or not)? What details will you include (or not)? What elements will be a constant recurrence in your story? These are just some of the thoughts that you could ponder upon. This reductive process helps define a framework that will guide you into capturing that distinct emotional note you are looking for in your story.

Opposite: Untitled, Oguz Ozkan



Above: Woman and screaming child: Edinburgh 2013, Paul Cruickshank Opposite: Cold Shower, Mike Reed 35


Above: Untitled, Larry Hallegua Opposite: Untitled, Astrid Schramek 37



Remove the separation between yourself and your subject. — Graeme Williams

Graeme adds‌ Following the end of apartheid in 1994, I realized that I was no longer motivated by objective journalistic or documentary concepts. Rather, I wanted to find ways of expressing a feeling through a body of work. This involved letting go of the narrative and the idea of separation between myself and the subject.

Opposite: Untitled, Kathleen Bridget Austin 39


Above: Hand Off My Stack, Patrick Sagnes Opposite: Untitled, CJ Crosland 41

Above: Close to You, Meredith Wilson Opposite: Emergence, Kristin Ator 42




What is happening when you are asleep? — Bieke Depoorter

Right: The Night Shift begins, Dionne Jones Opposite: Untitled, David Gillett 45

Above: Beasties, Claire Kastelan Opposite: Somnambulism, Julia Cameron 46



Take a blue photo. — Evzen Sobek

Top left: Untitled, Massimiliano Riso Bottom left: Blue, Manuela Guarnieri Opposite: Following the black line, Mary Cowley 48



Above: Blue Dancer, Meredith Wilson Opposite: Emerging Adolescence, Emma Georgiou 51

Above: Orchid Skies, Richard Styles Opposite: Abi, Katie Smith 52




Imagine you’re a time traveler from a hundred years in the future. Make a picture that shows how you perceive this place. — Carolyn Drake

Opposite: Untitled, Larry Hallegua 55


Above: Signs and Identities, Chris Kearney Opposite: Protected, Peter Dunsche 57


Above: Willington Power Station, Martin Kelly Opposite: Untitled, Ilya Shtutsa 59


The answer is in the background. — Remi Chapeaublanc


Above: Mr. Robert Andrews his nightmare, Ilya Shtutsa Opposite: Untitled, Astrid Schramek 61

Above: Untitled, Danielle Houghton Opposite: The Attack Of The Flying Bottles, Michael May 62




Photograph a fake. — Andreas Gefeller

Right: Tarot man: Edinburgh 2013, Paul Cruickshank Opposite: Vase, 2014, Benjamin J Borley 65


Above: Raining flutes, James Guppy Opposite: Man-Made Landscape, CJ Crosland 67


Take a photograph of a place that is less than one mile from your home. — Fabrice Fouillet

Fabrice adds‌ We can often have the feeling that interesting things to be shot can only be found somewhere else, far away from home. So maybe it could be something you see everyday without considering that it could be interesting.

Opposite: Plantation Fountain, Simon Marshall 68



Above: Untitled, Kathleen Bridget Austin Opposite: BA24DB, David Gillett 71


Above: Untitled, Danielle Houghton Opposite: Guarding the milky way, Mary Cowley 73



Photograph something you consider insignificant. — Riitta Ikonen & Karoline Hjorth

Right: A poor player, James Guppy Opposite: End of Season, Manuela Guarnieri 75


Above: Untitled, Danielle Houghton Opposite: For Viktor, John Paddler 77


Take a portrait without showing the face. — Tom Broadbent

Tom adds… Quite often details about a person: distinguishing marks, things they own and where they live say more about a person’s character than a traditional portrait image. In my work I like to explore themes of identity and belonging, and in certain cases what is hidden from the viewer can be just as important as what is revealed. Look beyond the surface.

Left: Fallen Angel, Liliana Lalanne Opposite: Robyn (nape), 2014, Benjamin J Borley 78



Above: Doug Law, Mike Reed Opposite: Untitled, David Gillett 81


Above: AF-light, Peter Dunsche Opposite: Untitled, Joji Sasaki 83


Make a picture entirely for yourself. — Jim Naughten

Jim adds‌ Imagine its going to hang in a gallery and you are the only person who will ever see it. No peers, friends, family, or anyone else will see it. I often use this process to visualise a project or story, free of any outside influence or judgement. You may just find your voice.


Above: Wet benches, Julia Cameron Opposite: Start exposure, Mark W. Russell 85


Above: Mystic, Meredith Wilson Opposite: Twiggy, Simon Marshall 87



Make a picture that strives to demonstrate empathy for a subject you may not have necessarily felt a sense of emotional connection to before. — Zun Lee

Zun adds… Robert Capa famously said “if your pictures aren’t good enough you aren’t close enough.” Many interpret this quote as referring to physical proximity. However, the closeness Capa spoke about also encompasses emotional closeness, or empathy toward a subject or subject matter. Caring about a subject (whilst not necessarily sympathizing) makes a visible difference in how we photograph, I believe.

Opposite: Untitled, Danielle Houghton 89


Above: Untitled, Larry Hallegua Opposite: Striving for a Sense of Self, Emma Georgiou 91


Above: Ratsody on blue, Kirsten Blumenthal Opposite: Untitled, John Paddler 93



Take a photograph using an image capturing device that is totally inappropriate to the subject matter. — Mark Neville


Take a photograph of, or representative of, something normally immaterial or invisible. Such as sound, music, air pollution, toxic waste, love… — Mark Neville


Above: 18b, Invisible wind, Richard Sharp Opposite: 18b, Newton New Town, John Paddler 95


Above: 18a, Thermal imaging, Dionne Jones Opposite: 18b, Sea Line, Manuela Guarnieri



Take a photograph of your present. — Alain Laboile

Alain adds: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present – Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda)

Opposite: The Kids, John Paddler 98



Above: Layers, Edward Whittall Opposite: Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Edinburgh 2013, Paul Cruickshank 101


Above: Untitled, TetĂŞ Silva Opposite: Untitled, Thania Albert 103

Above: More Love Needed, Mike Reed Opposite: All good things come to an end, Dionne Jones 104


Opposite: Persons Name Above: Persons Name 106


If for some reason you were told you would not be around when your children were adults, what image would you create for them? — Elinor Carucci

Elinor adds‌ Consider what image you can leave for them that will convey the core of our life, what is really meaningful, what is important according to you?

Opposite: The Eve of the War, CJ Crosland 107


Above: Life’s too short not to live it up a little! Miles Winterburn Opposite: Sources #6 (Life is often a collection of transient moments make the most of them), Mark W. Russell 109


Above: Remember the starlings, Eleri Norris Opposite: De Ja Vu, Jordan Carr 111


Photograph only in the dark. — Julia Fullerton-Batten


Above: Kenton Place, Exeter, 2014, Benjamin J Borley Opposite: Lacom, Larry Larsen 113


Above: Jeweller, Chris Kearney Opposite: Self Reflection, Troy Chelsberg 115


Above: Untitled, Joji Sasaki Far left: Untitled, Eleri Norris Near left: Snakelight, Pamela Stevens 117


Photograph someone sleeping. — Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Left: Gimme Shelter, Mike Reed Opposite: Dream Sleep, Michael May 118



Above: Age is timeless, Steve Leverett Opposite: Dark swirl, Mark W. Russell 121

Above: “If in a dream you’re climbing a ladder, it means you will overcome your problems”, my grandma said. Maybe that’s why I take so many pictures of ladders, somehow helps me go thru the dark days, Tete Silva Opposite: An Obvious Symbol, Emma Georgiou 122


Tell me what your image is telling you. — Jaap Scheeren

Jaap adds… And don’t be scared of the cliche. If you are, consider yourself to be tree instead of the human you (think/hope/dream) you are, and try again.



Above: Interlude, Dee Birch Opposite: Untitled, Ilya Shtutsa 125



Capture the split second that the image is just right. — Sue Flood

Above: Pop! Emma Georgiou Opposite: In a spin, Julia Cameron 127


Above: Dreams of North Korea, James Guppy Opposite: Untitled, Kathleen Bridget Austin 129


Above: HISAE, Norah Fernandez Yegros Opposite: Untitled, Chris Richards 131


Above: Leicester Square Underground Station, London, Richard Stern Opposite: Man meets pole, Larry Larsen 133



Lookup the meaning of “hiraeth” and take a photo of it. — Bryan Schutmaat

Opposite: Untitled, Ilya Shtutsa 135


Above: Hiraeth, Pamela Stevens Opposite: Untitled, Chris Richards



Above: Untitled, Massimiliano Riso Opposite: Ashes, ashes, Simon Marshall 139

Above: Ed’s Left Eye; “Number seven in a series of 30. Eyes that don’t work and the people who live with them”, Simon Marshall Opposite: “From a project documenting a local food market that is trying to prevent a large food store chain from opening at its border”, Edward Whittall 140


I want you to make an inspired and beautiful contribution to the culture that you are a part of. Document the process with an image. — Simon Høgsberg

Simon adds… You could plant a tree, you could call someone whom you know needs the call, or you could form a group of positive, like-minded individuals. You decide. I want you to be courageous and to do something that will inspire the rest of us to follow your example. Make sure to photograph every step you take. You should submit the one image that best catches the essence of your action.


Left: Untitled, CJ Crosland “My ongoing “project” is LGBT human rights and justice issues. The picture I’m holding is a digital collage made in February, just before the Sochi Winter Olympics, to express solidarity with Russians who are experiencing persecution and brutality as a result of Putin’s “anti-propaganda” legislation. Thinking about my response to Challenge #26 has made me realise that making pictures to raise awareness is something that I should explore further.” Right: When I were a lad, Eileen Wilkinson “Take a person back to their place of childhood and document their journey. Returning to his childhood home brought back some bitter sweet memories. I arranged for tickets for the Anfield Experience with lunch in the Centenary Stand VIP boxes, where 50 years earlier his home had once stood. Here standing in the Kop where as a lad he watched Bill Shankly’s boys.”




#1 Andrew Zuckerman

#14 Riitta Ikonen & Karoline Hjorth

#2 Steve McCurry

#15: Tom Broadbent

#3 Michael Reisch

#16: Jim Naughten

#4 Tom Hunter

#17: Zun Lee

#5 Spencer Murphy

#18: Mark Neville

#6 Ian Teh

#19: Alain Laboile

#7 Graeme Williams

#20: Elinor Carucci

#8 Bieke Depoorter

#21: Julia Fullerton-Batten

#9: Evzen Sobek

#22: Anastasia Taylor-Lind

#10: Carolyn Drake

#23: Jaap Scheeren

#11: Remi Chapeaublanc

#24: Sue Flood

#12: Andreas Gefeller

#25: Bryan Schutmaat

#13: Fabrice Fouillet

#26: Simon Høgsberg


Year one Year two Year three


Adam Akins Thania Albert Kristin Ator Kathleen Bridget Austin Dee Birch Kirsten Blumenthal Benjamin J Borley Julia Cameron Jordan Carr Troy Chelsberg Mary Cowley CJ Crosland Paul Cruickshank Peter Dunsche Maurice Ford Emma Georgiou David Gillett Mike Gorski Ingeborg Grandia

Joern Greuling Manuela Guarnieri James Guppy Larry Hallegua Danielle Houghton Dionne Jones Claire Kastelan Chris Kearney Martin Kelly Liliana Lalanne Larry Larsen Fred LePlere Steve Leverett Mike Lincoln Simon Marshall Michael May Eleri Norris Mark O’Doherty Rik O’Hare

Oguz Ozkan John Paddler Mike Reed Chris Richards Massimiliano Riso Elizabeth Roberts-Garth Mark W. Russell Patrick Sagnes Joji Sasaki Astrid Schramek Richard Sharp Ilya Shtutsa Tetê Silva Sylvia Slavin Katie Smith Richard Stern Pamela Stevens Richard Styles Edward Whittall

Eileen Wilkinson Meredith Wilson Miles Winterburn Norah Fernandez Yegros Featured members are from: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States



It was a great year. It was a pleasure to be a part of a community where so many talented photographers produced so many great images. The challenges were tough at times, but there was encouragement and constructive criticism from the participants. It was a good bunch. I feel that I have grown as a photographer since joining this group and am looking forward to being challenged more in year three. – Troy Chelsberg

Having joined the group part way through the year, it quickly became my favourite group. Finding a way to respond to each challenge, and then receiving useful feedback has been a joy. I have learned so much from fellow members’ photographs, and following comments on them too. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the group for their part in making it what it is. – Dee Birch This has been a very enjoyable year. So many terrific images throughout the 26 group, inspirational and a pleasure to enjoy. Thanks to everyone for sharing their work and being supportive to one another. It’s been a joy to take part. – Pamela Stevens It has been an interesting journey which has been very challenging for me at times, but also extremely enjoyable. Thank you to all involved. I have leant a lot since joining this group and look forward to new challenges in the next project. – Eileen Wilkinson Have loved this project. Its really made me do different things with my photography and come out of my comfort zone, I’ve become more interested in trying new things so thank you for making this so enjoyable. – Christina Davey The instructions definitely linger and make an impact. – Danielle Houghton I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this. It’s forced me to try new techniques and shoot subjects that I wouldn’t usually. – Miles Winterburn


The 26 by 26 project was conceived by David Gillett and run with invaluable help from the project’s team members; Benjamin J Borley, Julia Cameron, Emma Georgiou and Mark W. Russell. As a team we’d like to thank all of the members for the time and energy they contributed to the project throughout the year. We’d also like to thank the challenge setters who generously set the briefs pro bono to help provoke and inspire the members.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission from 26 by 26. Image copyright is retained by the credited 26 by 26 members. Challenge text copyright is retained by challenge setters. Thanks for support goes to Sandrine Escano, Heather Gilhespy, Katie Smith & The Royal Photographic Society.

To find out more about next phase of the project, 12 by 12, visit:



26 by 26 Members' Book (extended edit)  
26 by 26 Members' Book (extended edit)  

This book preview aims to showcase a small selection of the images submitted to the 26 by 26 project and tries to give a flavour of the dive...