View Full Version : Do you have a style...?
This thread is in connection with some past threads about how do you judge your work.
My first step in photography was at college. I taked a course in photography because I had and still have an interest for visual arts, but my ambition was to make movies and changing the world with art. Yeah I was young !
Now that I have a steady job as a philosophy teacher, I have time for photography. It is a mean for me to project my view and conception of my world in a medium. I set myself an esthetic journey trying to develop a style, a vision... But as a beginner you often try to mimic the master or others that you like their works. It is sometimes said that to have your own style, to input a personality or a signature in your photos is one of the hardest thing you can achieve. I don't have a style or achieve a vision in my photos yet.
So my question is do you have a style, a vision... ? If yes can you described it and post a picture that capture your style.
Good question. A. I shoot my portraits tight. B. No cropping waste of time if you are too far away too bad move your camera closer. c. Ansel Adams said it all...sorry with a rangefinder you can't compete & I don't live in the mountains. Shoot what you know. d. Your world will some day disappear and the common place with be the unusual. Or, I wish I had photographs not memories. e. Don't believe too deeply to what everyone tells you in anything in life. You can listen but what is right for you is not for the speaker.
I set myself an esthetic journey trying to develop a style, a vision... But as a beginner you often try to mimic the master or others that you like their works. It is sometimes said that to have your own style, to input a personality or a signature in your photos is one of the hardest thing you can achieve. I don't have a style or achieve a vision in my photos yet.
Don't try. Let it sneak up on you. Take pictures of subjects you care about. Compare the results of a shoot. Pick the ones you like best. Ask yourself why you like them better.
Everyone I know who has consciously TRIED to develop a style has failed, with shallow or derivative pictures, though among those who don't try, some develop a style far faster than others -- a few years instead of decades
Do not be afraid to mimic others. You'll never take identical pictures to theirs. Either you will develop your own style from there, or you will find that while you may like looking at their pictures, you have no desire to shoot similar pics yourself (that's how I feel about AA, for example).
Some people say I have a style, but they can see it easier than I can. They describe it as like being glimpses of something, or flashes of something you remember. I can half-see what they are talking about, but only half. That's after 42 years' taking pictures...
I didn't think I had one until my wife told me what it was. According to her, it's "put stuff over in the corner."
I think photographic style, like most styles and fashions, develops and changes over time. I don't try to create a style, I just look for images that mean something to me right at that moment. I tend to agree with Roger that it's best to let a style catch up with you, rather than go looking for a style. Let's face it, if we all wanted to be Ansel Adams, it would be rather limiting. I'd rather be who I am, as good as I can be and, if some folk like what I've photographed, then great. Mind you I'm never going to be a pro.....
I spent many year gradually working towards a kind of style... It was somehow just coming, but after a while I also worked towards what I found most interesting myself.
Now that I am making a living from photography I have loosened up on this - and rather prefer to explore new styles... I suppose some of my "unconscious" style will always be along, but now I rather prefer to explore each project I do as a chance to develop a coherent style for that one project...
I think there are many ways of doing these things! What really counts is getting gradually more conscious of what style fits what purpose - to really get into what an image or style communicates...
David R Munson
I am much more aware of my own style now than I was, say, four or five years ago when I finished college. In the time since, I've been able to let things go more in the direction that I innately feel, rather than the direction required of me by class requirements.
One thing that I think has helped quite a bit is that I have spent quite a bit of time studying the work of those photographers whose work has influenced my own. By better understanding their work, I have been able to *much* better understand my work. It's almost an inferential process, in that I can see certain boundaries of my style and from that can learn about what's really going on.
Personally, I have probably been most influenced by abstract impressionists and by a number of Japanese postwar photographers like Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, and Eikoh Hosoe. I tend to do a lot of abstraction, a lot of using the insignificant as signifier, inclusion by way of exclusion, etc. My process has evolved in such a way that I tend to have a darker set of tones than a lot of other people who favor a more "open" palette of grays. I use shallow depth of field, shadows, and graphic lines constantly. I am obsessed with these things. I am obsessed with light.
Does that make any sense at all? It's 4:00 AM and I can't tell any more.
Here....a few photos to illustrate. More can be found here: http://flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson
It's taken about 12 years of being in photography to get to this point with my work, and since I'm still quite young (26), I fully expect to continue to see my style evolve for a very, very long time. Frankly I find it very exciting.
I guess that as a philosopher you reflect on what photography is, does photography influence you view/experience of reality? How would you know? Is a pre-photgraphic view of the world accesable to us? Photography to me is profoundly perplexing. I think that as a philosopher an idealistic approach (= a keen eye on the way the medium determines the message) is more rewarding than a more realistic approach (=photography as way a capturing/storing reality).
none of this probably makes much sense: but the more I think about photography, the less it becomes my hobby.
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