If you have any questions which aren’t answered below contact us on Flickr or drop us an email.

How it works

1. The first Thursday of every month a challenge is revealed
2. Take photos that interpret the photographer’s challenge and upload them to Flickr or Instagram
3. Add them to the current Flickr group or use the relevant hashtag on Instagram (e.g. #12by12Challenge3)

On Flickr
Each challenge has its own group which you will add your images to. Why not join all of them to get ahead of the game. Challenge groups: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. It’s possible to add up to five images per challenge to each Flickr group.

On Instagram
It’s important that you add the challenge hashtag to your image if you’re using Instagram, that way the other members and the challenge setters can see your work. Hashtags on Instagram looks like this 12by12challenge912by12challenge10 etc. If you’re thinking about using Instagram for the project why not stay connected to the community by sharing your username with the group on this Flickr post.

Consider becoming a Supporting Member
If you’ve taken part in 12 by 12, one our previous projects or have simply enjoyed following the project please consider backing us by becoming a Supporting Member. You can do this by giving a small one-time donation of your choosing.

The nitty-gritty

Why have multiple submissions for a single challenge?
For our previous projects we’ve only asked for a single image to be created for a challenge. We wanted to offer the opportunity to broaden and deepen the possible responses to the challenges this year. One way in which we’ve tried to do this is by allowing one month for members to answer the photographer’s challenge, another is to encourage people to submit more than a single response to a brief.

This opens up multiple ways in which a challenge can be tackled. It could be that you submit five completely unconnected images, each talking a different approach to the same brief. Alternatively you could evolve an idea over the course of the month, with each image being a riff on the same theme or create four photographic ‘sketches’ leading up to your final more resolved piece.

Additional meaning can be brought to your photographic responses by sequencing them within a Flickr Album if you wish.

How do arrange my submissions so they’re read as a sequence?
Submitting the images you wish to be sequenced at various times over the course of the month will mean they sit apart from each other in the group pool. One way to compensate for this is to add all of the images you’ve created for a challenge into an Album on Flickr. You can then post a link to the Album into a dedicated discussion within each Flickr challenge group and also add it into the comments of your submissions. That gives the viewer the opportunity to browse the images in the sequence of your choosing.

There’s no easy way to arrange images taken at different times sequentially within the Instagram universe. If this is an important feature of your response to a challenge we’d suggest you upload your Instagram images directly to Flickr.

How many images can I submit?
You can submit up to five photos to the Flickr groups for each challenge. It’s considered poor project etiquette to remove or replace images once submitted to the Flickr group pool. For feedback on your work in progress please use the Flickr Album discussion threads for each challenge. There are no limits on submission numbers when using Instagram to take part in the project.

Can I contribute to other 12 by 12 challenges in addition to the current one?
You can if you’re using Instagram for the project but for Flickr each challenge group pool is only open for the duration of the brief. After all the challenges have finished in March 2016 we will open up the submissions to Flickr for all briefs for a short period so people can catch up with any they’ve missed.

Can I submit work to both Flickr and Instagram?
Certainly. They’re two quite different mediums, with pros and cons to each. Flickr offers a curated, longer form, more community-led version of the project whilst Instagram’s immediacy and lighter curation may help to iterate an idea quickly. We hope many people will use both platforms simultaneously as different ways in which to explore a challenge.

Do I need to add anything to the title or description of the image on Flickr?
No. In previous years we’ve asked that people add the challenge number to their images but because each challenge now has its own pool that’s no longer necessary.

Why 12 groups on Flickr?
Having a Flickr group per challenge helps keep all of the work for one brief together. It also means we can close submissions to a challenge once a new one begins. All member submissions and discussions around a challenge are found within the individual Flickr groups, with the general 12 by 12 Flickr group only being used for the occasional project-wide discussion. You might find it easier to join all the challenge groups when you first join the project. Challenge groups: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.

How can I keep up-to-date with the challenges?
You can subscribe to the Mailing List, ‘Like’ our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter or Instagram. To be notified about member submissions and discussions you can follow @12by12_alerts, a Twitter account dedicated to highlighting new activity within the Flickr group.

Are there particular tags on Twitter or Flickr I should be using?
You can use a 12by12 tag within Flickr and #12by12 on Twitter, though it’s completely optional.
Tip: it’s 12by12 not 12x12.

Rules & regulations

What are the rules?
1. Your submission(s) must represent new work taken in response to the challenge (no old photos)
2. We only accept photographs into the group pool (no illustration, 3D art, graphic design, etc)
3. Your submission(s) must have been taken by you
4. No full-frontal nudity
5. No watermarks
Submissions that contravene these rules will be removed from the group pool.

What type of imagery is acceptable as a submission?
Only photographs are accepted within the group pool. Images which could be described as illustrations, 3D art, graphic design, collages or typography do not fall within the remit of project.

Once text or mark-making are applied to an image there is a danger that it could fall within the genre of graphic design. The project has no wish to restrict members’ creativity but we do want the focus of the project to remain on photography; we’re constantly looking to maintain a balance between those two factors. We accept the boundaries of various artistic genres can be permeable and the exact definition of what constitutes photograph can be subjective and so only work that clearly falls outside of the definition of a photograph (in our opinion) will be removed.

Is photoshoppery allowed?
Yes. There are no restrictions around how much the image is altered, as long as the result can still be described as a photograph (see rule above).

Can I show my XXX?
Our community is a diverse one; your posts are visible to people from a broad spectrum of ages and opinions. While we respect the artistic integrity of your photos we’d like to have our group remain rated as “Safe” by Flickr so we can be accessible to all. We ask that you refrain from posting any images that contain full-frontal nudity. If you’re worried that one of your images might fall under that definition please contact the team before submitting your image to the pool.

What’s your stance on Watermarks?
We don’t allow watermarked images within the group pool; any submissions found with one will be removed.

Is the group moderated?
Yes, there’s a small group of us keeping an eye on the Flickr group. Constructive criticism is an important part of the project but rudeness or bullying, (and other similar activities) degrades the experience for all and serial offenders will be warned, and thereafter would be subject to being banned from the Flickr group. It’s impossible to moderate the images on Instagram but we ask everyone sticks to the same rules. We’ll be creating a curated list of Instagram images for each challenge and linking to those from the website.

Hints and tips

Does it cost to take part in 12 by 12 as a member?
No, but if you’ve taken part in 12 by 12, one our previous projects or have simply enjoyed following the project please consider backing us by becoming a Supporting Member. You can do this by giving a small one-time donation of your choosing. There are different personalised rewards available depending on how much you like to donate

So why ask people to become Supporting Members?
This is simply an option for those that enjoy what we already do to help if they feel like it! Any small donation helps towards covering our operational costs, for example book production, web hosting, design and printing. One half of the donation goes to the wonderful photographic charity PhotoVoice.

Will there be a 12 by 12 Members book?
We’ve created books for 52 by 52 and 26 by 26 which aim to showcase a small selection of the images submitted to the projects, 12 by 12 will be no different.

I don’t feel particularly happy with my photo for this challenge, shall I still post it?
Definitely! We’re keen that the Flickr pool isn’t seen as a gallery of finished images, but instead a shared sketchbook. This passage from Bruce Mau’s “Incomplete Manifesto” neatly sums up our approach to the group…

Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
– Bruce Mau

Do I have to have a “proper” camera or be a professional photographer to take part?
Not a bit of it, any type of camera and level of experience is fine. If you’re an amateur, having the chance to get key insights from well respected professionals is an amazing opportunity. For seasoned pros, having regular thought-provoking challenges can keep your shooting fresh.

Do I have to join the Flickr Group or use a hashtag on Instagram to take part?
In theory no, you could play along at home and post your work just on your own blog, on twitter or nowhere at all. But we believe sharing your work with the group is part of the experience and so would recommend you do take part using Flickr or Instagram.

Using a SB-28 on a D70 with a SB-600?!
Whilst not opposed to discussing photographic equipment we are primarily focused on the images themselves rather than an in-depth technical discussion on how they were created. Klaus Pichler, a challenge setter for 52 by 52, summed up the group’s approach quite well.

Most enthusiastic amateurs talking about photography is, in most of the cases, just technical talk, and this is a perfect opportunity for every participant to leave the nerd-talk behind and concentrate on the really important knowledge of photography – the story behind the pictures.
– Klaus Pichler

Who are 12 by 12?
The 12 by 12 project is curated by David Gillett, a designer from the South West of England. Artists Julia Cameron, Emma Georgiou, Mark W Russell and Meredith Wilson completed the team. Drop us a line if you’ve any questions about the project.