My Kind of Marathon

photo credit: 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon

Although I was not in Vancouver to participate this year, I was rooting for the 60 contestants at yesterday’s 12X12 VANCOUVER PHOTO MARATHON.

If you haven’t heard of it, here is the low down:

Basically this is a 12 hour long impromptu photo contest, using film. Yes, that’s right, film. So you can’t check to see how the photo turned out, or erase the blurry ones. Starting at 10 am you are given a randomly chosen theme and have one hour to photographically interpret it. A total of 12 themes are picked and you have ONE shot to get each one (it’s a 12 exposure film). And they have to be in order.

Sound like fun? It is! I lucked out in 2010 and just squeaked my way in, getting a call on the morning of the event that my wait list status had changed to confirmed! You have to pre-enter (about a month beforehand) and when tickets go on sale they sell out FAST. Seriously, they are gone within minutes (or minute).

The only requirement for participation is a 35 mm camera and an entry fee of $36(+ Eventbrite fee.) The cost includes the roll of film and developing. The resulting images are displayed in a free public exhibit where they announce the winners.

The marathon headquarters are a chosen coffee shop somewhere in Vancouver (it was in Blendz in Yaletown when I went but this year it was at JJ BEAN on Commercial Drive.)

The themes are not known until they are announced every hour. To give an idea of what the themes are like I have listed the ones that were chosen when I was a contestant:

Theme 01 (My Entry Number)

Theme 02 (The High Road)

Theme 03 (Torn Apart)

Theme 04 (Expendables)

Theme 05 (Ultimate)

Theme 06 (Secret World)

Theme 07 (Persistence)

Theme 08 (Dog Eat Dog)

Theme 09 (Vague)

Theme 10 (Resort)

Theme 11 (Easy as Pie)

Theme 12 (Unfunny)

If you missed out on it this year, you can still make the exhibit (October 12th at the Scotiabank Dance Centre on Davie Street. Doors at 6pm.) to get an idea of the finished results and make plans to take part next year!


Check out the 12X12 Vancouver Photo Marathon website for more details:

If you are not in Vancouver, here are some other cities that host similar events:

Cardiff, Wales- digital photo marathon:

Kauppilantie, Finland-digital/bicycle photo marathon:

Ramallah,Palestine-6 and 12 hour options:

Copenhagen, Denmark- Analogue, digital, mobile, 12 hour and 24 hour marathons. This year was their 25th anniversary!:

More events like these are popping up so investigate where you live to see if there might be one in your area. Better yet, start one up!


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