Sometimes just looking at an image you can tell who’s work it is from the style or colour tones or even the theme. The ‘sublime’ seascapes from Rachael Talibart, the majestic scenes of light amongst the mountains captured by Greg Whitton and the stories within woodland beautifully recorded by Simon Baxter. You could even recognise in an instant the intentional camera wobble and colours from Doug Chinnery but you won’t necessarily recognise all of his work; this is because Doug loves to capture what catches his eye; I dare say when displayed they will always catch your eye too.
So why am I writing this? Developing a style often takes time; time to discover exactly what it is you enjoy capturing. If you’re not truly enjoying what you are doing, you won’t be doing it for long, you may feel inspired and enjoy trying to capture similar styles to those who’s images you enjoy viewing but eventually you will find yourself looking at each scene in your own little way, seeing things slightly different to others. Or so I’m told......
How would I know; I’ve been teaching myself photography since I bought my first DSLR late in 2012 and it’s very clear from the vast array of different images I’ve produced that I haven’t developed any form of style. Yet! It became apparent to myself when I was trying to select images for the LPOTY competition. I’m not sure if any one image was similar to the next other than two that were shot on the same morning.
So what does this mean for me? It tells me that I’m still learning, still developing and still finding my own way into this creative art. At times it can be very frustrating, especially when I’m trying to capture a scene and it just doesn’t feel right or it just doesn’t look like I want it too. But mostly I’m enjoying it, finding my own way, using the inspiration of others as a guide. It’s probably taking longer than it ought to due to the fact that I rarely get out with the camera for a dedicated ‘shoot’; I probably average 2-3 hours a month if I’m lucky, often going on a whim when the time permits and the conditions are favourable. In truth I should probably go regardless of the conditions.
I feel as though I’m getting there, I’m steadily gravitating towards darker more dramatic scenes & moody weather or smaller pockets of light highlighting interesting features. I no longer automatically look at my watch to see if I can make it to the beach in time for the sky that looks like it’s about to explode in stunning bright sunset colours. I still appreciate it and may capture it if I’m there but those amazing sunset and sunrise skies no longer appeal to me as much as storm clouds and misty scenes. I also feel as though there is no rush, I’m enjoying trying, learning and finding my way.
I’ve also recently enjoyed different genres of photography, one in particular that combined two of my favourite things, photography & live music; but more about that in another post soon enough. Needless to say I enjoyed it very much and I’ll certainly consider future music events.
LPOTY & SUBJECTIVITY
I mentioned the LPOTY competition above and I entered it first time this year because I am naturally competitive. I wasn’t successful at the first round of judging and observing various social media feeds it’s apparent that not many of the people I follow were either, despite displaying some very strong images. I was a little disappointed as I’m sure many were, though I’ll happily take my hat off to the winners should I feel the images are worthy. Another judge or another day and the results could have been completely different, it's nothing new, I've been surprised at some of the category winning images from OPOTY in the past few years, this doesn't mean to say they are no good, they just weren't 'MY' favourites given the others I saw in the shortlist and this is where it gets tricky, selection is a very personal thing. Obviously we will all be disappointed with rejection, at the end of the day we submit what we consider to be our 'best' images (certainly good enough for us) and it's hard for us to accept that others don't agree, and this is where again it gets very personal. In truth I didn’t expect to be successful and I can honestly say that if any of my images had got through I would have been surprised having seen the quality of other rejected images. But the judges may not agree with that.... see where this is going? In it to win it as they say!
I didn’t have a hard time selecting my images because I haven’t got that many I really like from the UK, most of my favourite images are from abroad. But selecting them still made me laugh, mainly because I know that my wife wouldn’t have picked half of them. Photography is so subjective, as with many different forms of art, you won’t always please everyone. My wife tends to like my less favoured images and vice versa, my more ‘artsy fartsy’ style of images, i.e. long exposures (like the one at the beginning of this) she just doesn’t get. Maybe next year I’ll get her to pick them for me, or maybe there will be an entirely different ‘style‘ of images to choose from.
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That's all for now, I bid you good light.