Michael Gregory, no relation, wrote an excellent article for Aperture in 1961 about the nature of photographic style and idea for how to define and use style in photography. I was recently rereading the article and used it as the foundation for this week’s podcast. One the most common topics I hear about that is related to creating great photography is that you need to have a style, but the definition of style is both ambiguous and misapplied. This week, using the insights from this 55-year-old article, we talk about what style is and how to understand how it appears in our photography and what it matters.
In this week’s podcast, we are talking about how to go about applying some of the basic concepts from minimalism and getting organized to make it easier to work and edit our photographs. At times it is very easy to get overwhelmed with the work required to make a good photograph. However, by learning to focus on a few key things that have been tried and tested to work in keeping organized, you might find that you can make better photographs more efficiently and faster.
I was flipping through Netflix looking at movies and got to thinking about how many movies follow the same basic formula. For example, in most romantic comedies, the couple gets together, and something happens that drives them apart. After some conflict, they are somehow pushed together and end up happily ever after.
In our photography, we can quickly end up following the same formula over and over again. In some cases, this might be ok, but I other cases this could cause us to fall short of our expectations and needs as a creative person. In my own work, I think that it is easy to fall into a formulaic rut. You learn what works and you just do it over and over again. The challenge this creates is that it the more you do the same thing, the more it becomes harder to change. The habit builds a deeper rut.
Sometimes our creativity is at the edges of our experiences. So finding ways to push our boundaries by doing something outside the norm is critical. Now, this doesn’t mean giving up good habits like morning pages, walks in the woods or daily images, but what I encourage you to do is to not write the exact same thing every day. The habit is not the formula. You might find that by sitting in the woods and listening to the birds, trees and wind might be better for you then just walking.
So as you approach your photography this week, I encourage you to look at what is the formula you are following that you picked up from others or isn’t working and apply a twist to the formula. What if your romantic comedy went dark or some other direction. What would it look like if your story was really your story and not the formula that we have all accepted?
Welcome to the 175th episode of the Perceptive Photographer. This week’s episode looks at how to determine what a photograph is worth. Is a picture worth more because it has sold more copies and made a lot of money? Is a photograph worth more because it has a lot of likes or impressions on social media? Or is a photograph worth more because it shares something or says something that pulls at our heart and emotions? It is worth more because it changes the way we see the world around us?
Photos that reflect something about who we are and connect to something inside of us have fantastic power. That power to share a communicate says a lot about who we are as people and what we do to connect with others. So, as you think about what photographs you have made or will make, is the real value of those might lie in your ability to make a difference, even if just on one person, or is it about something else?
In the end, I think you may find that your photographs that connect with others in a meaningful way no matter how few or small that number may be might be the most worthy of all photographs.
In the 174th episode of the Perceptive Photographer, we take a look at how various methods of expanding and narrowing down the photographic process can help us make better images behind the camera. The creative process has a huge influx of ideas from both external and internal sources. If we can find ways to maximize those inputs, it can often times give us a jumpstart on our creative practice. However, at some point, we need to being to cull through those ideas and images so that we can build a cohesion to our storytelling and imagery.