This page attempts to answer any and all questions you might have about how chiaroscuro works, why it exists and the meaning to life.

are there rules ?

Yes, but only really two*.

Your photos must have been taken within the themed month. Which is to say, if you took some photos for the month of March and the theme was water, then you must post those photos in March. Photos taken during any other time period are not allowed. chiaroscuro is about encouraging you to get out and take photos each month, so it only makes sense you publish photos from that month, right?

The second rule is regarding photo manipulation. You can do what you want grading/cropping wise, but composited images are not allowed (HDR shots are an exception). So no excessive cloning, no pasting multiple shots together. deviantart is an awesome place for that kind of thing, while chiaroscuro is an awesome place for plain old fashioned photos.

*Okay we lied, there is a third rule. You can only submit 3 photos for each month. Keeping a small limit is supposed to force you into being super critical of your own shots and isolating the best ones. If you took 50 awesome shots for one particular month, dump them on your flickr site.

what sort of camera can i use ?

Any type of camera you like! It can be large format, super compact, digital, film, holographic, plastic, real, faux, pretend or pretty much anything else. If it is a camera and it captures images of the real world, then you can use it!

how do the monthly themes work ?

On the 1st day of each month, a supercomputing cluster which is at our command executes a highly sophisticated algorithm designed at extracting the optimal theme for that particular month. The algorithm considers things such as the state of the world, the weather, the general vibe of photographers the world over and also the potential for maximum theme exposure.

Once the theme has been computed, we simply pull the inspiration from out of a hat filled with numbered feathers.

Then, on the last Friday of that month, an email is sent out which reminds you the month is about to end. This gives you one last weekend to take photos for that month.

Photos for a given month must be uploaded within that month as once the month ends, the theme moves on and the album for the month prior is closed for uploading. Then at the completion of the month, the photos will be revealed on the website.

how can i join in ?

Right now chiaroscuro is invite only. With some good fortune and correct alignment of the stars, chiaroscuro will be open to many more people in the not too distant future. You can still check the homepage each month and be inspired, although uploading of photos is limited to registered folks only.

interpreting the themes, whats the deal ?

You know what, there is NO DEAL! There are two themes each month. How you interpret them is entirely up to you. The idea is that you are influenced by the themes in your photos, but you can take the theme literally, or conjure up your own idea on what the theme means. The 'theme' is supposed to be the primary thing which motivates your subject, yet it does not need to be.

In saying that though, there is something cool about seeing how people interpret each months theme. So staying 'on track' has its own benefits too. Over to you.

uploading of photos

There are a few things to keep in mind when posting your photos.

  • Keep photos at around 2,000 pixels in width. This allows for great fullscreen viewing. And don't worry, only registered members can view the full size image. So dodgey brothers has no hope of downloading your high resolution photo and using it for something they shouldn't.

  • Once a shot has been uploaded, you can then 'edit' the shot. This allows you to add a custom 'title' and 'description' if needed.
misc bits

  • If you would like a custom photo to appear next to your comments, you will need to create a Gravatar account. It's pretty simple to setup, takes a minute and only requires you to provide the email address as used for chiaroscuro.


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