At college we were asked to print a large poster sized image that was going to be displayed along side images from other photographers attending the college.
It was really good to see the diversity of subjects shot. Although I think it would have also been nice if the lecturers had displayed an image that they’d taken over the year.
Anyway, I was thinking about diversity and style.
I have been told a few times by a few people that I have a consistency with my portraiture and gig photography. This is intended as a compliment and very much taken as one.
It may be true amongst my own peer group but I suspect in the wider world of photography my images would not necessarily carry a definite style that would be associated or credited directly to me. Naturally I would love someone to look at an image and say “that looks very much in the style of JJJ’s portraiture”. I’m a very long way off from that & I think it is something that just happens, we find our feet, capture what we like, when we like, how we like and then develop & process those images to our personal taste.
Some advice I was given was to do what I want to do; what I like rather than try to conform to ‘the norm’. Not to do what I think people will like or want to buy, but, to do what I do and let the people that like what I do find me.
I think this is good advice to maintain an enjoyment of photography. However, to sell images, either to cover costs of equipment and trips or time and effort, certainly to make a living, there is also a need to produce and be able to consistently produce images that a wider audience can appreciate.
Where am I going with all of this….. well, along with my class mates I took about eight images to college and had to select one for the end of year exhibition.
The image that was picked was a gig photo, black and white, high contrast with low key lighting. It was also a bit gritty with the subject being heavily tattooed and looking a bit rough & ready.
The image was selected because my peers felt that this best summed up the images they are used to seeing from me. Its not the one I intended to go with but I’m actually really pleased that its the one I had printed.
Because its the one I had the most fun getting. It was also, by far the most challenging to take.
I guess I should post it? I will.
My class were surprised at the other images I had brought along; a swan, landscape, still life…….. Its kind of nice to be pigeonholed into a particular genre and style but the truth is that I take a range of photographs in a range of styles because I think selecting a diverse subject matter will ultimately improve my images.
It would also be nice to produce images that would fit into the stock photography bracket and this is something I will have a look at towards the end of the year.
Below is the live performance photograph that was printed and displayed at college:
Below is a still life that I did not take as one of my selections but I feel still has a slight dark and gritty element that I like.
I wish digital photography had the same feel as film. I’d love to shoot film but its an expense that I can not justify.
Two further still life images follow. There is some further editing that should be done but I have included them just as examples of stuff I have been working on.
A number of things could be changed in this image. I could have ironed the backdrop or dealt with the creases post production. I could have selected bananas that were more yellow and some fruits that was a little less natural without dents and marks. However, the fruit was bought to be eaten and not with the intention to be photographed.
The cropping on this image is a little tight and there are a few other obvious little tweaks I would make. Again the food was not selected to be photographed but to be eaten. Very nice it was too.
Fortunately everything I have done around photography has been a really fun learning experience. Some of it has been a little stressed but still fun & I hope to see even more of an improvement over the next year.
As always, feel free to comment, email, add constructive criticism and thank you for stopping by.
Jim Jimmy James
You can See, Like and Comment on images at My flickr account