Musings on Photography

SoFoBoMo Rolling Month

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on October 27, 2008

Ok, so there’s a lot of support for shifting the ‘fuzzy month’ period for SoFoBoMo around, so that it doesn’t always fall at the same time of year.

Next questions: shift the ‘fuzzy month’ period by one month? Forward or backward? Shift it around randomly, or just let it precess slowly through the seasons. (Brings to mind, really, Kipling and the bit about the equinoxes precessing according to precedent, from the Just So Stories)

Shifting forward means that eventually, you’ll have calendar year with no SoFoBoMo. Shifting backward means that eventually you’ll have a calender year with two SoFoBoMos. I don’t know if either of these is a problem.

16 Responses

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  1. Gordon McGregor said, on October 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    My preference, if it has to roll, would be that it rolls earlier in the year to avoid the hot summer in Texas.

    I know many more will prefer it to roll forward, to avoid the depths of winter. I think that’s how we ended up in Spring (and Southern hemisphere fall) in the first place.

    I guess the shifting window makes more sense for landscape photographers, maybe. I don’t see much need for it myself, there’s plenty of subjects around all year.

  2. John Chabalko said, on October 27, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Earlier! (or not at all)

    I think moving it around is a great idea though, then we all get to see the world in different seasons in our own different perspectives

  3. John Doty said, on October 27, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    I would like to see it roll to give us the challenge of finding subjects in all seasons/weather (Nov/Dec in Northern VT will either be very hard to do or very Clichéd). Either direction is fine except for the fact that I have some good ideas for the March/April (or Feb/March) time frame already.

  4. Anil said, on October 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Seasons matter only for very specific subject matter… many other subjects have been photographed for SoFoBoMo 2008 and probably many will pick a non season-specific subject. Moving the start date earlier or later than April 1st as we had for SoFoBoMo 2008 is OK – guess a consensus will emerge here soon enough. Ending up with two SoFoBoMos in a calendar year could happen, does that really matter? That SoFoBoMo will move back or move forward each year need not be set in stone for that matter! Lets leave that “fuzzy” too ;-))

  5. Eric Jeschke said, on October 28, 2008 at 12:01 am

    How about separating the month of photo taking from the month of book making? Radical idea, I know, but that might just be very interesting. Something like: book is done within a month beginning same as last year, but photos can be from any “fuzzy month” in the previous year.

  6. Andreas Manessinger said, on October 28, 2008 at 2:06 am

    I strongly prefer having SoFoBoMo wandering through the year. Yes, for many subjects it won’t matter, for others it does. If it did not matter for me, I would not care. I have no idea what I’ll do so far, but I’d like the heightened variability as an option.

    A completely different variant would be to decide the question each year by vote, with the rule that we’ll eventually want to get the whole year covered.

    Rolling or not, forward or backward, I don’t care. If I had to cast a vote, I’d vote for an 11 months period, that would place the next fuzzy month from March 1 to April 30.

  7. Amy Sakurai said, on October 28, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Yeah. As I said in my initial comment, I knew this was too complicated. I pride myself at being an instigator, but maybe this idea would have been better left unsaid. o.O Photography is all about the light. And while indoor photographers are unaffected, for outdoor photographers the quality of light is important. That was the thought, anyway. Also, holidays and events could be eventually included by some people for whom that was an interest.

    OTOH, SoFoBoMo is just for fun. What we make doesn’t have to be the ultimate portfolio of our best stuff.

    I don’t like the idea of years without a SoFoBoMo, and I’d rather not see long (> 12 months) intervals between SoFoBoMos. A swinging pendulum schedule would ensure that every year had a SoFoBoMo, but that means 13 month intervals while the pendulum swung the other way.

    The simple answer is to just keep SoFoBoMo where it is. Sometimes simplest is best.

    (Sorry for kicking up the dust!)

  8. Bernie Sumption said, on October 28, 2008 at 5:28 am

    I have nothing to say about whether it’s a good idea or not – it works for me either way.

    What I will say is that if the goal is to provide varying sights and seasons for projects, and to avoid SoFoMoMo becoming associated with a certain style of landscape photography, then rolling it by one month each year is too slow. How about rolling by three months each year, i.e. having SoFoBoMo every 9 or 15 months? This way the season dramatically changes every time, rather than a slight change that becomes significant over the years. It also solves the branding issue when you get two in a year: SoFoBoMo Spring ’09 and SoFoBoMo Winter ’09.

  9. Steven Scherbinski said, on October 28, 2008 at 5:36 am

    How about a slightly longer period? In the northern US (Michigan), it can still be snowing in March and the trees don’t go green until mid/late April. Another month would be good, any 30 day period from March through May. It would allow those folks in the frozen north to do landscapes.

  10. Bernie Sumption said, on October 28, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Another couple of ideas:

    You could do two per year? This might dilute the effort. One month is such a significant amount of time that I imagine few people would do every SoFoBoMo. The big advantage would be that it would offer people more flexibility in when to take part, without sacrificing the consistency that SoFoBoMo always happens in set months.

    Alternatively, you could let people know that if for any reason they can’t make the fuzzy month in April / May, it’s OK to do it beforehand as long as they do it 30 days.

  11. Martin Doonan said, on October 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Too much talk, too much angst.

    Fix a time. Take a bunch of photos. Pick 35 or more. Make a book.

    Remember this is about getting the discipline to go through all the steps to make a book, not an opportunity to create a ground-breaking masterpiece.

  12. Anil said, on October 28, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Agree completely with Martin.
    Ground-breaking masterpiece creation is more a personal thing, SoFoBoMo is about sharing the experience [the process, the frustrations, and the “Ah!” moments] with other SoFoBoMoers and even producing a book at the end of it!

  13. Bill said, on November 1, 2008 at 4:07 am

    I think Martin has it – The photographer designates Month X as their SoFoBoMo book month. They do it, and viola, books all year round (hopefully)

    Cambridge, UK

  14. Martin Doonan said, on November 1, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Bill, I think you missed my intent entirely. I think there should be a single month for all, fixed. The whole “get it done with others” thing disappears if we all chose our own months.

  15. Bill said, on November 2, 2008 at 5:28 am

    OK Martin, I understand now. I don’t really mind whichever way it is done.



  16. Sam said, on November 6, 2008 at 2:44 am

    I like Bernie’s rolling seasons idea best, though I am fond of Autumn and wouldn’t mind if it didn’t move from April/May.

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