I'm anxious to get back on the bike and visit a few destinations that I have in mind. Rain and now freezing conditions are hampering those plans. So for now I find myself writing slightly different blogposts. That title came from a gentleman I saw yesterday by the way, but now I've given it I'll have to babble on a tiny bit about photographic Style, we'll double back to that gent at the end. You know by now that my attempts at writing blogs don't always run to plan, I just sit at my computer and words spill out onto the screen not necessarily in any order or demonstrating any kind of coherency. I suggest you might want to just look at the photos!
The following photographs were all taken in Bath yesterday as I walked to meet my wife for coffee. Let's press on, I'll keep it very brief... When we begin to look at the work of other photographers we are influenced, like it or not. If you're new to photography replicating that style is a stage to go through, essentially you like what you see and copy it, that is part of the learning process. Eventually though we need to develop our own style, which will be influenced with just the slightest hint of what we have previously viewed, but mostly created by our own experience and practices. I believe at some point we need to stop looking at others work in order for our style to evolve and also alleviate some of the dissatisfaction we feel through comparison of quality. Back again to shoot what we like, how we like and for ourselves. For some reason I've grown a little dissatisfied with my own style and there's absolutely no reaon for me to feel like that apart from I've been spending too much time looking through my books about the great photographers. I briefly tried experimenting with some techniques on yesterdays walk, really in an effort to produce something different. It was a failed experiment. I already know what I like and don't like. For instance, when I take portraits I rarely go for a close up, I like to include the environment, a complete scene framed, so pointless trying out close ups with Street Photography. Another point to make is that I always have the view finder to my eye, I see nothing wrong with shooting from the hip, it just isn't for me because I need to see the frame. These things contribute to ones style. Take a look at these couple of examples, one a silhouette type shot and the other where I didn't put the camera to my eye -
They're okay, but it isn't me, not my style at all. In any case there are some excellent proponents of these styles already, they do a much better job, their work could almost be art. I like the silhouette of the passenger in the taxi mostly and with the shot from the hip there are some gestures rather than just PWA's (People Walking Along), but the scene isn't complete, because I couldn't frame it and therefore present the image how I saw it. With my own style I'm often looking for something more with Street Photography, perhaps where the viewer might need to look a little more closely, piece together what I see, maybe or maybe not get the irony or humour. They're rarely glory shots. It's more my style and I fell back into it pretty quickly. Some examples -
Photography, Street or otherwise is subjective and it follows that so is style. Our desired subject matter will effect our style. I'm not interested in Street Portraits and I don't take photos of the Homeless and Vulnerable. Pigeons and seagulls are a no, as are PWA's, although I have become a bit of an expert at taking boring pictures of "people walking along" lately, maybe that's my style!
My excuse here is there is at least some light and shadow going on! That must be a part of anyones photographic style surely. It easy to become negative (no pun intended!), yes it's all been photographed before I know, but why not shoot it again, stamp your own style on whatever it is you photograph. Cartier-Bresson took that shot of someone jumping a puddle, doesn't mean that scene can't be shot again, who's to say his was the definitive version. If a client offers me a job, family shoot, wedding, cover an event, then the very first thing I say is have you looked through my website, because I want them to see my style before employing me. Let's just say that style is important, it evolves over time and leave it there.
Slight change of subject to end with. Over the last few years I've become more interested in seeing a short series or sequence of photographs rather than one off shots. Obviously I still appreciate one off photos, mostly that's how it works with photography, but I like to see how another photographer sees. So again, these two short sequences were taken yesterday. Firstly, this guy oblivious to the sign behind him -
And lastly back to our stylish gent. I spotted him a mile off. Stalking definitely isn't my style incidentally despite what the damning evidence below shows. He was impeccably dressed, resplendent as he sat on a bench smoking his cigar. I said "Good Morning" and he replied in a beautiful, cut glass English accent. A perfect gentleman.
Or did it go like this, just for a bit of fun - "Target acquired". I crouched down, close by and ready to shoot. Oh, he knew I was there alright, cool as cucumber these spies. Better say something to him, quick, think man - "er...I hear the geese fly at midnight comrade".... he got up, and headed swiftly out of the park - "the goose has flown, I repeat, the goose has flown". Turns out he wasn't a spy, just a very nice man whose peaceful smoke in the park was interrupted by a buffoon with a camera, my sincere apologies sir ;-)
As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with a Summicron 35mm lens fitted.