Guidance: You can only make one dot at a time.
Assignment: Today you must shoot images with at least 3 people in the frame, using a lens closest to the current temperature in Fahrenheit and your newest camera. You must also use your device’s widest ratio.

By Patrick La Roque

Right, so we’ve now published half of this issue’s Generator theme but have yet to explain what in the world it is we’re doing. So here’s a brief overview: awhile ago Derek shared a workflow he’d devised to generate shooting assignments with a friend. It involved technical variables, themes and dice throwing. I thought this could be a cool idea to automate so I created an iOS Shortcut that does exactly that: it dishes out assignments. It’s called KAGE Assignment Generator and it’s a free download if you want to check it out. Also feel free to modify it and add your own variables if you’re into this geeky stuff.

But anyway, this is what this issue is based on: Robert sat down with the generator a few weeks back and gave each of us the resulting assignments. And if you’re wondering what the “guidance” is about: I integrated Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies into the workflow as well. To add even more randomness.

The following images are essentially an exercise in compromise as far as I’m concerned. Luck of the draw saw quite a few of us having to use a focal length based on the temperature...which strangely—given how spread out we are on the planet—ended up leading us all to the XF 56mm f/1.2. I don’t mind shooting street/urban images with longer lenses; I’ve even used the XF 90mm in the past. But the combination of needing at least three people in the frame, ideally having them isolated (that’s how I interpreted the “dot”), a wide ratio (16:9 in this case), an 85mm equivalent and very few human beings around when I went out there (surprisingly)...let's just say I was more than a little unconvinced during the shoot. But that’s the point of the game: to work through the limitations and find a way in spite of them.

I’ll be honest with you: these are ok but I’m not sure the series is all that interesting as a whole. I feel there’s an emotional thread missing. Probably because there is, and in the end there’s no faking these things. 

But perhaps that’s the lesson here.