I had everything I could ever need, all the dream gear. Broncolor lighting, the latest professional Canon cameras along with all the faster canon lenses. I had the latest Apple laptop, tethering equipment, software, c-stands, tripods, light modifiers, Polaroid cameras, all the gear I could have ever dreamed of. I had it all, and at that time it was good, better than good it was extraordinary. So why did I later decide to get rid of everything I work so hard to obtain, and only after a few years after having it?
For most of us, we end up reasoning by analogy because we’ve had the ‘why’ question beaten out of us. Naturally, we are born with reasoning by first principles, but our parents, guardians, teacher and mentors eventual put their foot down and say something like because I said so. Our curious mind and quest for reason and answers are destroyed by an authority. Do as I say, because I said so, don’t question me, I’m the chef, your just the cook follow the recipe.
You have found your style when you can’t do anything else. It’s your default your normal your nature. Style comes when imitation and influence perish. Its something that becomes one… you, yours. Defining your style or finding your style is a life’s journey. I hope you are always evolving and changing, never stagnant when it comes to your style. But at the same time hold onto its structure, it’s roots, its essence. So where does one begin? How does one create a photography style?
We are what we repeatedly do. We are the actions we take not the words we say. How you live today is how you live your life. In saying that what did you do today? What did you do to better yourself and your aspirations in photography? Indiana Jones said it best “If you want to be a good archaeologist, you gotta get out of the library!” or in other words, “If you want to be a good photographer you gotta get off the internet!”
I only use one camera body and one lens, because I only have one voice and one point of view. Most photographers use a variety of equipment and effects to best capture a subject. To say something unique and different for each moment. Wanting to tell a story in a unique way from everyone else. But is this necessary, isn’t your point of view enough?
Recently I was walking to work in the early hours of dawn when suddenly the clouds closed above and the sky fell. It felt like I was in my morning shower again. My clothes were soaked, my shoes wear wet through. I didn’t have a change of garments or even a towel to dry off once I reached work. I would enviability be drenched, dripping through the foyer. Whilst I was walking in the rain, the motorway onramp was adjacent to me. Figures peering, warm, dry, comfortable in their metal cages on wheels. Void of smiles resulting from the congestion of traffic. But I had a smile on my face. I was happy. Outside walking in the cold wet rain, it made my day.
It’s no lie that Minimalism is the direct contrast and was brought to light from the juxtaposition of over-consumption. All trends start from the opposite, a rebellious movement around social norms. Minimalism isn’t new, its aesthetic has been around since the 1600s from Japan. Then later the word ‘minimalism’ was coined as an art movement in the 1960s. Today it is associated with an aesthetic and the juxtaposition of hoarders. But what I am interested about the photography genre minimalism is the appeal. The need, want and visually pleasing nature of minimalism.
Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. Doing something now is exceedingly more important than thinking about doing something later. Success is more a product of habit than it is of skills and resources. The great masters of photography used gear that would be considered obsolete for today’s standards. If they can capture photographs that influenced people, there is no reason you can’t do the same.
As artists, we all know what good work looks like. We know it’s difficult to achieve good work, but we strive regardless. It can sometimes feel like we are Sisyphus, but instead, we never reach the peak of the mountain. The road to becoming a successful artist however you interpret it can be arduous, for there isn’t a standard path. In our hearts we know we can’t just follow a guidebook, mentor or degree to reach it. Which can be frustrating, the not knowing. The passage one must take is unprecedented, a route only an individual can charter through.
I’m sick of reading misleading titles with catchy thumbnails that use bold fonts that have nothing to do with the content except for the sole purpose of catching your attention so you click on it. We live in a world where people spend more time trying to be heard rather than focusing on what to say. Do you really think that meaningful content is manifested just to get more likes? Great work comes from the soul, from a place of meaning, purpose, a personal story, a creative exploration into one’s self.