Photographic Style

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by cliveh, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    When you see a photograph, can you immediately recognise a specific photographer’s style? I can usually recognise a picture by HCB or Atget within a few seconds, but would struggle with many others.
     
  2. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    With "the greats" it's usually because I've seen their images for so many years that it's hard to tell whether I recognize the style or the image first.
    In the Gallery, there are a few posters that I can recognize from the thumbnails. I consider that a compliment, as their eye, and technical prowess, deliver every time.
     
  3. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I can't always recognize who did a certain print, but I'm frequently right. In a couple of camera clubs I've been in, when images are judged on competition nights there are no names visible. I've still been able to tell whose they were with very few exceptions (and even when I'd been in one club for less than a year). But I don't think I've seen enough of the "greats" to know theirs as well (though I do know some). I can definitely tell certain images in the gallery here.
    I wonder if the ability to know whose are whose is connected to whatever part of my brain I used as a chemist to know that a certain item I was seeing in the microscope was X, Y, or Z.
     
  4. batwister

    batwister Member

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    That's because you're not familiar with anyone other than these two! :smile:

    You should try spending time with other photographers, cliveh. Something outside your comfort zone. Alec Soth for instance has a very subtle style, but I instantly recognise pictures I haven't seen as being his - just as well as a Paul Strand or Callahan. Jem Southam too - who I still haven't come to a conclusion about - has a very quiet, very contemporary style, but I recognise his pictures straight away.

    It's not just the greats who have a strong style. As I see it, style is just an expression of personality and we're drawn to particular work for being a reflection of our own. It just happens that the greatest work is the most universal and identifiable, vernacular and familiar. I think some people are too scared to look at work beyond the greats, for fear of finding something out about themselves! The deeper you get into anything - be it music, photography, art - the more you look for work that has some kind of resonance with your own unique personal experience.
     
  5. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I guess that would depend on which axis they were aligned with.:wink:
     
  6. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I would probably be able to recognize the printing style first in many cases.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i can recognize some things but there is a deep well when it comes to photography
    here on apug, i recognize some folks like eddie, just from the thumbnail
    but from time to time they throw a curveball and i show myself how clueless i really am :smile:
     
  8. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    That is so very well put, batwister, so very well put. I would add that style is something that emerges from the work, it is not something that one consciously attempts to apply to the work.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  9. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Winogrand - his pictures always had that certain lean!
     
  10. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I think the more work you see in general, the easier it becomes to discern differences in style even among work by artists you've never seen before. And with this greater sense of reference when you come across work from an artist whose work you've seen many times before, that artist's style might be very evident to you.
     
  11. realart21

    realart21 Member

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    Nice Head shot pictures .
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I'm personally not really able to see immediately who made a photograph, unless I already know it from studying.

    But, honestly, I've always been a bit allergic to the word 'style', because to me it becomes one of those things that photographers try to accomplish, to 'create' a style for themselves and not be patient enough to simply let it evolve. That, I think, can be a great distraction, and maybe even a source of disappointment, because they try so hard to comply with their 'style'.
    To me it's better to just not worry about style, work those prints, and if we work hard and look within ourselves to find out what we want our work to come across like, that 'style' will simply come naturally.

    Some photographers I think have a real mark on the photography world, though, like H. Cartier-Bresson, P. Strand, A. Adams, whose work is pretty unmistakable. They practiced a bit, didn't they? :smile:
     
  13. ScarletBrown

    ScarletBrown Member

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    No i can't recognize the photographic style of any photographer.
     
  14. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Seems we can almost ALWAYS can tell a jnanian image, though!

    The Twilight Zone feeling always gives you away, John.