In the 1910s, a few rebel artists proclaimed a new style of art called vorticism. It only lasted a few years driven by a handful of people, but one hundred years later, Shooting Challengers brought the style back to life.


WINNER - Skybridge

I decided right away I was going to do this challenge. It seemed really interesting but I had no prism or mirrored kaleidoscope to use to take the photos with. After scouring the internet for a "vortoscope" to see what form of lens attachment had been used to make these photos, I stumbled across a "how to make your own kaleidoscope." I cut up an old CD into three rectangular pieces and used some paperclips to hold them together into a triangular tube. With the "vortoscope" contraption complete, no onto the photography.
I ended up just holding the vortoscope up to my lens when shooting. After many photos of flowers and leaves, my wife suggested that I try something more abstract. I'm actually proud of my submission this week. It is a shot of my backyard pergola looking into the sky. The vortoscope creates an amazing abstract and angular image. I hope you like it. Canon EOS REBEL T1i, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, 50mm, f/7.1, 1/125, ISO 100
- Matthew Johnson


Holodeck Head

I am a self taught amateur photographer on a $10 budget. When I read this week's challenge I didn't think I would come out and play. I slept on a couple of ideas for a Vortoscope and thought what the heck I will give it a try. I am glad I did.

I went to our local dollar store and bought 3 (4x6) inch oval mirrors. After removing them from there cases I glued 9-1/2 inch pieces of coat hanger to the backs with a hot glue gun. At the hardware store I bought a 4 inch hose clamp and attached the mirrors to my 18-55 mm lens. I used a little duct tape to hold them together in a triangular shape. Vortoscope price $4.24. Photos priceless.


"Faces" was shot in the bathtub with our daughter and her boyfriend as my models. I zoomed out (18mm) to include the surrounding bath tiles and frame the suspended Vortoscope around the vortex of the picture. In Photoshop I changed the picture to gray scale and adjusted the brightness and contrast. I used my Canon T1i Rebel set the ISO to 100, f/3.5, and a shutter speed of 1/5 with no flash or tripod. Just a very steady hand.
- Ron Barrett

Vintage Vortograph

I started with a picture I took of something from the era of vortographs – Seattle's Smith Tower, which was completed in 1914. I printed my picture on 4x6 paper, set it upright, and trained a flashlight on it. I stood five clear plastic CD cases on end a few inches from the picture, each at slightly different angles. The front and back cases leaned on those closest to them, not straight up. Each plastic piece both reflected the image and let light pass through. The camera wouldn't auto focus, so I had to do it manually. I setup the camera to manual mode – 1/80 of a second (fast enough for hand-held), f/5.6 (to get each image reasonably in focus), and ISO 800 (since there wasn't much light). I tweaked the exposure a bit in Lightroom. Panasonic G3 with the 45mm macro lens.


The image wasn't taken with a true vortoscope given the angles of the plastic. But it captures the feel of hand-drawn vortographs. It also reminds me of Walter Bishop from Fringe on LSD and stuck in a cross-dimensional hop.
- David Lee

The Kitchen

I decided to go the mirror route for this challenge, so I purchased three 4x5" mirrors from a local craft store and tried to super glue them together. When that didn't work, I duct taped them together and fashioned a posterboard tube that I handheld for this shot, of my beloved Kitchenaid (and of other various things as you can see). Canon Rebel XS, 50mm f/1.8 lens, Taken at ISO 400, f/2.2 with a shutter speed of 1/80 sec. in Manual mode.
- Trang Nguyen



I shot this using a Nikon d70 outfitted with a lens that I made by pairing a toy Teleidoscope with a photographers loupe and an aperture disc to refine the lines and to control the number of angles which the lens collected light from. The toy Teleidoscope I used has an optic that that has planes cut into the surface of the lens which multiplies the scene without using mirrors.
- Matt Saindon


Ghost Bridge

Because I had company all weekend, I didn't expect to have time to participate in this weeks contest. Imagine my surprise when I got into one of my friend's cars and discovered that the passenger side window was Vortorrific. The window tinting film was delaminating from the window which caused exactly the type of distortion I needed for the contest. The subject is one of the local causeway bridges. The intent was to play the horizontal distortion off of the mostly vertical lines of the bridge. Fujifilm s100fs β€” F11 β€” 1/60" β€” ISO100 β€” 50mm β€” Velvia Film Simulation
- Mike Case


Green Monkey

In all honesty, I first thought this week's challenge was dumb, but I'm glad I made myself do it because I had a lot of fun. My first thought was to use mirrors to reflect several images back to the camera, but I then thought to make a sort of Kaleidoscope for my lens. A trip to three different stores yielded nothing, but then I remembered a large, broken mirror my wife had used to put on her make-up. I returned to a hardware store and bought a $2 glass cutter, and a $1 hose clamp. At home I cut three identical pieces of glass 7x3 inches and hot-glued them together in a pyramid shape. I hot-glued some spare wire down the length of each mirror and hose-clamped the new apparatus to the zoom ring on my wide angle lens. This allowed me to use the full range of my zoom - from 18 to 55mm. Even at the widest angle, I got the full effect of the mirrors and this device turned ordinary subjects into extraordinary abstract art. Not bad for only spending $3.50 on something I thought would break the bank.


I chose this photo because of the intense color. I went down to a local playground and started snapping away at various points, and found the lines on the monkey bars to lead you into the shot. The fall colors of the trees in the background certainly add just a bit more detail to the photo. It was taken on my Canon Rebel T3i, 18 - 55mm lens, 18mm Focal length, f / 4.0, 1/4000 shutter speed, ISO 400, No Flash
-R.J. Barrett


Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... the beat of my mind and heart are for the holiday that is. I had tried taking photos through prisms in the past, through I never new the name for it, vortograph. On the way home from watching our local high school (and my oldest son) race in the Sectionals for their division, which they won for the 15th year in a row, qualifying for State by placing all seven runners in the top 20, we stopped to do our weekly shopping. The store was beginning to clearance their halloween items. One of them was a "crystal" skull that changed colors. I thought it would be appropriate to try for the challenge, so I turned it on and held a sun catcher up to the lens and began snapping photos. The result, appropriate for both Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Canon EOS REBEL T2i, 0.2 sec (1/5), f/7.1, ISO 3200
- John Hays



I read about this contest just before leaving to visit my daughter for a few days. I knew I wouldn't be back until the night before the submissions were due. If I were going to do this, it would have to be a picture I took at her place. I love contemporary art. I enjoyed "researching" images for this project. In addition, I was in a place where I always take so many pictures. She lives near some arboretums in the Piney Woods of Texas. I was originally thinking I'd do something clever with the pine trees - they have great lines. It seemed a fitting juxtaposition to the urban look of vortocism. I was sitting in her kitchen looking at the blinds and randomly asked her if she had a prism. Go figure - she did. It was a gift she got in a Christmas stocking from me when she was a kid. So I played with it. Pocketed it. And forgot about it. When I went to the arboretum, I couldn't find the prism. Gone. Hmph. However, when I looked at the pictures I took of the blinds, I really found a few I loved. I hope you do, too!
- Karen Tarlow


Pumpkin Donuts

My brother and I originally wanted to make an actual prism based housing for my camera lens. After lots of broken mirror pieces, we decided to just put three larger mirrors together and shoot from inside them. We had just carved pumpkins the night before and leonardo made a great subject. Canon 60d, 18-135mm. f/7.1, Shutter - 6sec, ISO - 200
-Tyler Begood



Elephants are pretty cool animals, but when threatened I am sure they would not hesitate to defend themselves. I can say that I do like them best when they are 2 inches tall, surrounded by mirrors, cd's, and flashlights. I am also sure that using a real elephant for this photo would have brought on some sort of atrocity within my home. Therefore I used a wooden, hand carved replica from an African market. I practiced safety and no one was hurt, not even the little wooden replica. Canon 40D, Canon 28-70L mm, 4sec, ISO: 250
- George Westlake


Ringlight Rings

I actually wasn't even thinking about the challenge at all when I shot this. I'm still not even sure I understand what a vortograph is - so hopefully this fits. I was playing around with a cheapo $20 LED ringlight I bought on my nikon 55/3.5 macro lens, and noticed that the reflection in a mirror in some of my test shots actually looked kind of cool. I went over to the mirror and shot a few shots looking right into the mirror with the ringlight on and the lens in various amounts of defocus, and this was my favorite. Shot with a nikon D2Hs and a 55mm f/3.5 micro nikkor, wide open at 1/100
- Joey D'Anna


I may be in the minority, but I actually really dig this style of photography, even if our working definition of vorticism has been a bit ill-defined. The full-sized wallpapers are on flickr.

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