First of all, I'd like to apologize for my lack of updates here on my blog. It's been a few hectic weeks to say the least. I'm currently switching jobs. I am starting a new challenge on Monday the 30th of April. Really looking forward to joining a big worldwide graphic design agency.
So let's talk 'style' for a minute here. Or as others call it 'finding your own photographic voice'. How important is it to have your own style? I think it is the most important thing an artist needs to strive for in his whole career. But why, you say? Let me explain.
If you look at landscape photography these days, everybody is after the same thing, the elusive colour of a sunrise or sunset. People make you believe that, if you want to be a landscape photographer, you need to get up early to catch spectacular shots. Well in essence, there is some truth in that but it is by no means a rule we need to obey all the time.
You see, I feel landscape photography these days is a cookie cutter business. Everybody is doing the same thing, taking shots from the same viewpoints, processing them in the same way, ... What is the reason why everybody wants to do the same thing than other photographers I asked myself a few days ago? I mean you can take 100 photographs by 100 different photographers and lay them all side by side. They will all look very similar. The only thing that will be different is location.
Their is a very simple answer to that actually. So here is what I think is going on. There are very few magazines out there that talk about style and technique. Everything is basically gear related. Buy this, use that to get such and so results. As a beginning photographer you will get blinded by adds that make you believe you can't do the job properly without buying expensive gear. Of course that is not true. In addition there are very few photographers that share their 'secrets'. As a graphic designer I laugh about that, because seriously there are no secrets. I can honestly say I can recreate whatever look in Photoshop. But just because of the very few people that are sharing, beginning photographers all fish in the same pool of tips and tricks. And in the end you will all have the same results.
But why does not everyone pursue their own interests I asked myself? As an artist you try to be original right? And I'm not only talking about photography. Take guitar players for a second. Everybody knows how beautiful Eric Clapton can play the guitar, or how BB King can make his guitar sing. Everybody recognizes the pinch harmonics and shredding by Zakk Wylde. Or the sound of a Pantera or a Metallica song (if you are metal head of course).
SO what makes THEM so unique? What makes them so 'special'. One simple answer. They found their musical voice. Once they've found that voice, they perfected it. Sounds simple. Right?
It takes dedication and a lot of time to search for that voice. It's an uphill battle really of failures and trying out new things, new techniques that make you grow as an artist. But you need to be aware of that fact that you are playing around to find that voice. And nothing what you do is serious, really. Of the 10 years I was playing around to find that voice, I kept about 5 shots. Five! Everything else is trashed or locked away on the bottom of some closet in a big portfolio folder.
But once you've found that unique voice, something special happens. Chances are that after some time doing what you are doing, other people will start to recognize your work. And even will try to emulate you! At least that is what is happening to me and all I can say it is very flattering. But never forget, emulating is one thing, that is how you learn, creating your own techniques and vision is your own journey and should reflect your personality or your own interests.
I live by the rule of 'Doing one thing, and one thing only, but do it really really well!