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Recently, when leaving this event near the Excel centre, I saw this bench against this amazing red wall… and was reminded about one of the greatest photo projects I’ve ever taken part in.

Back in 2009 I began joining in with Bench Monday. It wasn’t ground breaking in any kinda of way, but it’s a project that taught me so much and many of the things I learnt are still used in my work today.

Bench Monday rules were simple…

Stand on a bench. Make sure it’s Monday. Wear something pretty.

And I did… Every Monday for two years! Never missing a week.

It was a very supportive community over on Flickr, everyone cheering each other on… wishing each other a “Happy Bench Monday” and what people deemed a “bench” was so creative.

Those were the golden days of Flickr… so much inspiration and experimentation… I learnt so much… (Please let’s not talk about my post-processing… I think I’ve learnt a lot in that area too!)

Cute outfits can make a photo – Wear something that makes you feel good and that’s colourful… and appropriate for the season.

Make your self timer your friend – understanding when it’s going to fire and how long you need, to get into position comes with practice. But once you nail it, you can achieve magic.

Gain confidence shooting in public – Most benches are in public places, so you have to get over the “What will people think of me” worries. If you want the shot, you have to stand out in public… And it’s ok.

Put yourself in the frame – If there’s no one else to photograph.. hop in front of the camera, it’s fun… and you get used to the initial awkwardness.

Personal projects for the win – The power of a personal project is so strong. Shooting for yourself gives you complete creative licence to create however you want. To shoot what you love and not worry what other people think. You then can take these lessons into your other work.

Weekly projects bring commitment – Having a weekly or any regular project keeps the creative juices flowing, keeps you playing and experimenting. These are valuable lessons too.

Illustrating the seasons or documenting special moments – I tried to make each scene tell a story of what was happening in my life that week. Occasionally I would dip into the archives, but mostly they represented the time of year and my everyday life.

The value of being in a community – Community is everything. Support and inspire. And be inspired. I’m still in touch with lots of the people I connected with every Monday – online and in real life. It’s a blessing.

Collaboration is way more fun. Many benches were shared with other benchers, these were always a laugh.

Simple ideas are the best – Those three rules and the simplicity of the project are what made it so achievable for me. It could be interpreted in so many ways… but basically gave me outline to tell my story.

Thank you Bench Monday! For all the things I learnt and for this collection of photos that I wouldn’t have taken without it. Look at those little boys!… and the kittens.

SO grateful.



During November, I’m taking part in a month long blogging challenge – leaving a few words or photos or films here everyday – #NaPhoPoMo

Some of my friends are taking part – Kim :: Karen :: Andrea :: Jeanine :: Barb :: Kelly :: Bella :: Pen – If you’re joining in, please leave your URL so I can add you to my list – Thanks! :: Cassandra :: Mascaraandmud :: Sara :: Dorry


  • Elizabeth Lehman
    Posted at 00:15h, 03 December Reply

    i joined flickr sometime after bench monday had stopped being a thing. i remember looking back at bench mondays of both meredith winn and kristin zecchinelli and loving the uniquenesses in each shot! yours are so great, too!! so interesting to see various takes on the same theme. each of these is so fantastic! the red wall, especially!

    • CathienChris Calder
      Posted at 04:45h, 08 December Reply

      I remember some of these as well. I too came along after the bench photo series, but remember them being shared quite often. I love them. 🙂

  • Dorry E.
    Posted at 21:11h, 30 November Reply

    Bench Monday looked so fun for you. I’m awestruck that you could keep it up for that long. Guess it means that blogging every day for November wasn’t so hard for you after all. This might be my most favorite of your November posts…altho we must remember that my memory isn’t all that great and you have given us loads of fun each day. Thanks for a fabulous November Xanthe!

  • fionabailey
    Posted at 17:09h, 30 November Reply

    Well done! You did it 30 days of blogging x

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