Shooting Challenge: Fail

The greatest discoveries are made by accident. For this week's Shooting Challenge, you're going to stage accidents and pray for serendipity. In short, you're going to fail.

The Challenge

Screw up when taking a photo so incredibly badly that you create something unique and worthy unto itself.

The Technique

The secret this week is to simply feel liberated. For once, you can set aside ideas of proper focus, exposure and manual settings. In fact, if you create a perfectly exposed, perfectly sharp photo, you're probably doing it wrong.

Put yourself somewhere unpredictable. Leave your shutter open too long, or shake while you take a photo. Encourage stray light on your lens and shoot with or without flash when you should or shouldn't.

Just shoot enough that you make something that looks cool for coolness' sake. And if you try and fail at failing? Submit that anyway.

The Example

Our lead photo is from Digital Yard Sale's flickr stream - yeah, it's an ad, technically, that's used a bit of texture to legitimize a photo fail. It's pretty much just a smear of muddy color. And you know what? That's great. Because I think it's totally beautiful. If you can touch up your failure with a bit of post production, feel free to.

The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

Send your best photo by Monday, July 11th at 8AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Fail" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameFail.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameFailWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.