This may be just me---I certainly am one of Nature's overthinkers of philosophical questions---but I came to the conclusion a while ago that I needed to stop asking myself what I was doing and why, and just *do* it. If my inner photographic daemon wants to take a big b&w landscape with pretty mountains and a huge tonal scale, I'm gonna go ahead and do it; if it wants to take a macro of a dog turd on C-41 film, I'm gonna go ahead and do it---well, maybe not on C-41, because I'm not sure I want to explain that photo to the nice folks at the lab. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? I take a photo that isn't very good? OH THE H0RrORz!!1!
So at this point I'm not especially even trying to please myself; I'm trying to follow my impulses, do the process, and the product can take care of itself. (I'm talking about exposure here. Printing is a different story, because I'm still learning the rudiments of the process. I don't think I'll be able to listen to my gut about printing for a good many years to come.)
I like the idea, or concept then telling a story with images.
From working with many photographers over a period of time, the story or idea is more important than any individual image. Trying to walk around and find images is IMO a waste of energy, but walking around with a concept or story to tell and capturing images that tell the story is not.
Personally I have decided that the solarization process is worthy of my time and I have found many different subject matters that fits well in this printing method.
Therefore the camera and film is just a simple recording device and most of my effort is in creating an image with a unique print process using a boring object using simple setup with basic light.
I hope to produce a body of work over time in this process that some viewers may like though I really am not concerned whether people like them or not. I don't put much pressure on myself to please others, but rather I concentrate on creating an image I like.
I edition these images in small editions of three, and when I am finished a set I move on to new subjects. Selling these images are not as important to me as making them.
Over the last couple of years I have had a certain amount of fun trying to take and make photographs that will appeal to others in my photo club.
The photos that are "successful" in the photo club environment tend to be quite good - technically proficient, with good visual impact and sometimes great interest - but generally not the type of photographs that I would normally shoot just for my own satisfaction. By attempting to stretch myself and shoot something different than my first reactions would normally lead to, I've learned a bit about myself, and a lot about what others notice in my photographs.
I guess I'm saying that it never hurts to at least try standing in someone else's photographic shoes. And that it can be enjoyable too.
I consider myself a hobbyist, and I shoot what interests or intrigues me in some way. Considering how little I actually take to the point of prints, I've gotten into a fair number of juried shows and landed a number of awards. However, I've sold three prints in the last couple of years. Hmmm -- mayhaps your average buyer doesn't see a toned B&W of some "rust belt remnant" as just the thing for that bare spot on the dining room wall! :D
I've mostly done work that's fairly straight and, imo, kinda like stuff you'd find at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I'm kinda tired of many of mine and have been doing the sort of navel gazing that (hopefully) can lead to more interesting work. I've also been getting inspired by another photographer I know (she shoots film and digital, but does most of the after-exposure work in PS) and have lots on my mind (hubby is in Afghanistan). That seems to be pushing me to try more things like multiple exposures and not so straight shots (all analog if I can). Though a good walk in the woods with cameras is still fun, whether the photos look mass produced or not.Quote:
Do you aim your photography at selling the pictures? Or does it all come from the heart? Do you blend what's in your heart with inspiration from others?
Do you subscribe to any particular ideas about photography, like all your photos have to be stark realism, or romantic like pictorialism?
I shoot for me and more and more to express myself rather than just record what I see. I've sold about 6 prints in the last 5 years - 5 in one year.
I don't worry so much about the subject matter. For me, it's all about Light. Seeing Light and using it well.
Kent in SD
I keep going through the "what do I want to be when I grow up thing?" I expected to know long before I turned 54. :confused:
I have the most fun photographing things with personlity; people, dogs, ...
Right now I'm mostly in it for me. I do hang my work for sale now and again but it's not really priced to make a lot of sales.
On style it's mostly f/2.8 & be there on 35mm, f/4 on the RB. When I need a lot of DOF I'll stop down to f/4, f/5.6 on the RB. :whistling:
Pictorial and SF work with a well defined subject is most interesting to me.
I do look at a lot of other people's work for inspiration. Much of this is also to learn something, whether that is about lighting or composition or whatever else, I don't care.
My subject matter is varied because I photograph ideas. Photography is a medium of communication for me, so the ideas I want to communicate are the most important part. I will use whatever technique, medium, or subject in order to best communicate what I want to say.
I think this is a great thread topic and have been wondering about similar things over the past little while. I've been invited by a friend of my wife's to join their little art show/sale in early December (they are a group of three to five painters that host a show/sale twice a year). At first, I thought 'cool...awesome'. But, then I started thinking about some of the things you mentioned. Flipping through my photographs it really sunk in that I am doing this for myself. There isn't really a comprehensive vision, just a bunch of stuff I am interested in.
I really like some of my images and the few people I've shared them with seem to really like them too, but I don't really have a clear vision for this work of mine. I'm struggling with what 'art' is and if I'm even making it. I never really considered selling my work, but with that potential looming, I find myself asking a lot of those philosophical questions.