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Send Me Another Photo!

Ooh, I smell a challenge...

By Mackenzie DavisPublished 10 days ago Updated 9 days ago 5 min read
Taken by me in Denver's Civic Center Park last December

I faintly remember promising May as the timing of the second Ekphrastic Challenge. I do believe that time has come!

If you’re unfamiliar, here's how it works. For about a month, I open submissions for photographs, then randomly assign them to the people who submitted. With these photos, we each write a story. The end result is a mixed media, community-generated challenge! And don't think there won't be cash prizes, because there will!

Last time, there were a few hiccups, so for this round, I’m going to make it more specific and convenient.

Rules for Photographs


The photo must have been taken by you, the Vocal Creator. It must depict something you wouldn’t mind another writer writing a story about. It can be the first picture you ever took or one that you haven’t even conceived of taking yet. I don’t mind which, as long as it meets the requirements below.

Because you’re in charge of picking or potentially taking the photograph, make sure you’re okay with someone else writing a story about it. You will not write a story based on your own photo. Is there potential for a story to be written from this image? A backstory, location, character, or some other spark of inspiration inside its four borders?

Upload ONE photo to the Shared Google Drive Folder.

Given the difficulty I experienced downloading the photographs from the last Google Doc, I’m going to have us upload our photos to a shared Google Drive Folder instead. This means that we can all easily access and see all the photos. Most importantly, it means that we can easily download our assigned one, retaining the pixel integrity.


Your photo should be composed in a creative or interesting way. This means it should have an aesthetic you’d expect to find in, say, an art museum or maybe in your cultured grandmother’s house or simply that you’d want to pay to get framed and displayed. I know art is subjective. This is my attempt at uniting us in a shared standard, an even playing ground. I want the overall vibe of these photos to be similar to allow all who participate to have an even foundation for their story. True, each photo will be unique, but if the atmosphere of each is aimed in the same direction, then the narrative inspiration can be too.

Can you edit the photo? Yes. However, please keep edits minimal and expected, like contrast, or light cropping, that sort of thing. No extravagant additions, filters, or effects. think of this part of the challenge like you might a photography contest. (I’d hope it goes without saying that absolutely no AI should be involved. I will disqualify anyone who submits an AI image.)

Here are a few examples, for inspiration. (All taken and lightly edited by me.)


If you submit a photo, you are committing to writing a story. Let's try to avoid any leftovers this time around, if possible! Because I see this as a communal project from start to finish, I feel responsible that each photo gets utilized.

* That being said, if you’d like to submit a photo and not write, I will allow this in a separate folder for a separate challenge. I’m calling it “Ekphrastic Tag.” Details to come!


I will not be reshuffling photo assignments after I post them. I used a number generator last time and will do so again. If you don’t like your photo, please keep that information to yourself, as I find it to be bad taste to make that information public where the photographer can see.

Furthermore, I humbly request that you do not trade with others this time around. There was no issue last time, as I didn’t consider anyone would want to, but for this one, I’d prefer we didn’t.

If you cannot write a story in time, please let me know as soon as you know so that I can do something with the photo you were assigned.



  1. Submit one photo that you took to this Folder. Please use your Vocal name as the file name. File format should be .jpg or .jpeg.
  2. The photo must be artistic and hold the potential for a story.
  3. You commit to writing if you submit a photo.
  4. No late submissions. (Time zone converters are available online, if you need one!)
  5. No re-assignments by request.
  6. No trading.


In about three weeks, I will be closing the photo submissions by restricting editing access in Google Drive. The deadline is 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time (MST) on June 5th. I will post a reminder a few days before!

You can change your photo at any point before the deadline!                 

Curious about Part 2?


Once you are randomly assigned your photo, I will leave a six week time frame until the deadline.

For the writing itself, I’m open to stories and poetry. Yay!

  • Fiction: between 800 and 1500 words.
  • Poetry: between 1-3 pages (according to a word processor).

* I will post the rubric and all the necessary info at the start of Part 2 😀


If you have a mind to, add a song to your story or poem. Ideally, this song is relevant to your piece in some way (any way, really). Include the title of the song and the artist in whatever format you see fit.

I’d like to compile a playlist at the end of this challenge and use it in the winner’s list article. Who knows? I might even create a different challenge using that playlist…



I am stoked for this challenge!! I keep getting all kinds of ideas for similar takes on it too, like one based on paintings and sculptures, even one based on music.

Let me know if you need any clarification on how to access the Google Drive Folder or anything else at all. As always, I welcome all kinds of feedback.

So excited to see your artistic images!

Cheers, all!


Where Do I Submit??

THIS Challenge — Second Ekphrastic Challenge. You are committing to writing if you submit a photo here.

Tag! Photo Challenge — Tag Photo Challenge. You don’t have to commit to writing if you submit a photo here.

(Yes, you can submit to both!)


About the Creator

Mackenzie Davis

“When you are describing a shape, or sound, or tint, don’t state the matter plainly, but put it in a hint. And learn to look at all things with a sort of mental squint.” Lewis Carroll

Find me elsewhere.

Copyright Mackenzie Davis.

Reader insights


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Comments (14)

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  • Davina Zinn McKeeabout 20 hours ago

    I wasn’t able to participate in the last challenge due to some unforeseen circumstances that put me on Vocal hiatus. I was one of the people who photo traded, though, so this challenge isn’t for me. It feels too collaborative to me, since much of my inspiration hinges on the random selection of another person’s capture of the world. I don’t find that level of creative restriction enjoyable. I only write for the freedom of expression, and I have a hard time with many Vocal prompts too. That said, I’m excited to read what others come up with. I love what Paul Stewart did with my plumeria.

  • Paul Stewart5 days ago

    So, uploaded one so far for the challenge..it's a bit abstract...just loved the way the light changed the colour of the image. Taken down the road from our flat...where one of the entries to the Country Park is.

  • Paul Stewart8 days ago

    Yay, there she is. Lovely to see this challenge again. I will find an image when I am back home home.

  • Belle8 days ago

    This challenge sounds awesome!!! I will definitely have to see if I can come up with anything... Amazing and unique!

  • Leslie Writes8 days ago

    Yay! Glad to see this challenge again. I did the submit thing. 💖

  • Andrei Z.9 days ago

    Yay, you're back with the treats Mackenzie! Been waiting :D I expect to have a few busy months now with deadlines and stuff, but I might manage to submit and commit to it. The idea with the playlist—cool; I approve :)

  • Lamar Wiggins9 days ago

    Round two! I will begin searching for a photo. Sounds like as much fun as the first one. Thank you!

  • I still feel awful that I got hold of the wrong photo last time (and was disqualified), though I was happy with the result of my labor. Excited to try again and do better this time.

  • Hannah Moore9 days ago

    Ooh, I really enjoyed this challenge last time.

  • I cannot commit to writing so the Tag Photo one would be suitable for me. I'll see if I have any nice photos

  • Donna Fox (HKB)9 days ago

    I am by no means an artist with photography but I think I have a few that could work.... 🤷‍♀️ Excited to see all the other entries!!

  • OH HELL YESS!!! Been waiting for this one! 🤩

  • Kenny Penn9 days ago

    Woohoo! I’m not gonna miss this one!!

  • Gerard DiLeo9 days ago

    I sent you a photo, "Gerard DiLeo Flowers in the street"

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