Thursday, March 29, 2012

Finding Your Way

Sir Shea
Pentax 645N with 75mm f2.8 LS lens
I was flipping through some old Flickr photos today and thinking back on my path in photography after a really great speaker came through our Smug this week, Rockie Lee.  Part of going through the old images was nostalgic, but a big part of it was also to measure how far I've come.

Looking back I can see my influences and my stages of development as I learned certain things (HDR, shallow depth of field, creative (and sometimes awful) post-processing.  But what really struck me was something that Rockie had talked about, and that was moving from the (necessary) stage of imitating or copying someone else's style and finding your own.  

hair dryer clips
Olympus E3 with Panasonic Leica 25mm Summilux

Part of the journey is at some point finding a sense of yourself with your photography.  Being able to get past the technique and showing a real reflection of yourself to those that view your images.  It seems to me that the greatest artists in the world seem to have a knack for opening their soul to you with their work.  Letting you drink it in and almost taste it, for better or worse. 

Office Work
Olympus E3 with 11-22mm Zuiko lens
And I think that it is a lifelong journey, it never ends.  I think progression as an artist can't stop or you'll just die and wither away.  But it's the movement past imitation and technique that really brings out the expression of your true self in the art.

Olympus E3 and 50-200 SWD Zuiko Lens
You have to be patient though because the journey is long, and sometimes kind of lonely.  In the end you stop copying the works of your heroes, and you begin to find your own path.  Your own voice.  For better or worse.

Prairie Landmark
Olympus E3 with 11-22 mm Zuiko lens
And it feels like a circular journey too.  You'll have to keep visiting the beginning to learn new techniques, new ways to express yourself and to imitate a new art inspiration.

Olympus E3 with 50-200 SWD zuiko lens
Thanks for dropping by the blog and enduring my rather self-indulgent look at the past.  I received a couple of goodies today, one an adaptor to use my old Olympus film lenses on my DSLR and the other a short rental of the beautiful Canon 200mm f2.0 lens.  I'll be sure to post up my thoughts on them soon.  

Me working during a magazine shoot, or as Adam would say "lying down on the job," Photo courtesy of Adam Collishaw


Trevorb said...

Very interesting to think about. I have never been to heavy handed at post processing but it’s fun to look at how much it has changed. My first year with a DSLR I was really into landscape and always asked why in the world someone would want to shoot weddings. Yup, things have changed.

Neil Gaudet said...

It's kind of fun to go back and visit our early work isn't it? Maybe see how our thought patterns have changed.