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  1. #21
    MattKing's Avatar
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    IMHO one's "Style" is best determined inductively, rather than deductively.

    Think about it
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  2. #22

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    it is very hard to do a series of photographs of subjects that are very close to you.
    the best suggestion i can give is to just photograph as much as possible the subjects that you enjoy.
    don't put any boundaries on anything - use whatever equipment you want, and let yourself get carried away.
    don't edit yourself until time has passed ... then look at everything you have shot
    and decide what you like and don't like ... and then make more photographs ...
    eventually you will find a vein or a stream to follow and everything will fall into place.

    don't for get to have fun
    john

  3. #23

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    What has helped me:

    1. using one camera, one lens, one film for a long time (this was a Mamiya 6 with a 50mm lens and TMY-2, now a 4x5 with a 90mm and Portra 400), I find that the process is very important for me.
    2. no longer making photographs of anything that moves, being very selective instead
    3. thinking really hard about why I'm choosing the subjects that I do
    4. leaving my comfort zone to work on a project, meaning calling up people I don't know (or visiting them) and asking permission to enter their place of business for my project, this increases my commitment to the project
    5. I like to look at others' work, but not obsesively. I put my energy into making photographs, and I'm not worried about shooting the same subject as someone else because I know I'll do it differently. Art and photography have become fashionable in the last 2 decades. I don't follow fashion or fads, I do what I like.
    6. finally, I take making pictures very seriously, but I always have fun doing it

    Good luck!

  4. #24
    winger's Avatar
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    I truly meant to say that when it comes to style, I can't exactly determine mine because at this point in my photography experience I enjoy a multitude of things at the same time.
    I've been shooting off and on since the early 80s and serious about it since the 90s and I don't really know what my style is. Others say they can pick my photo out amongst a crowd, but I don't know what it is. Other than that the photo is usually of rocks, trees, or streams.

  5. #25
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Christopher,

    Thanks for putting this thread up. You have asked the questions that I have wanted to ask but was too afraid to.

    After 'playing' with film for the last 3 years, I feel that I have now served my apprenticeship so to speak and I am now ready to focus my efforts. I think I am much like Christopher, in that I have tried a multitude of different things (but I have been restrictive with Film choice!!! The change in process scares me at times). I think this is what you do to determine what you want to go back to.

    What I would also like to ask, is when you start a project, do most have an idea of what the body of work will comprise - I.E., do you sit down and think 'I want to have 15 16x20 prints for an exhibition' or is it a case of 'crap, I have all these shots that I really like.....what should I do with them'?

  6. #26
    winger's Avatar
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    What I would also like to ask, is when you start a project, do most have an idea of what the body of work will comprise - I.E., do you sit down and think 'I want to have 15 16x20 prints for an exhibition' or is it a case of 'crap, I have all these shots that I really like.....what should I do with them'?
    I'm far from an expert in this (and closer to where Christopher is right now, in fact), but I've done both. I moved to southwest PA in 2007 and was suddenly unemployed (left my job to move here). So I figured I'd concentrate on photography and went looking for subjects. I figured that a day in the woods would be good, whether I got great shots or not, so I found a state park with a cool waterfall and started shooting. I explored other sections of the park and eventually decided that it was a project. Anything in my gallery here (or on my website) from Ohiopyle State Park is part of that project. Which will probably never really be done. When I started, I was doing mostly biggish scenes with a 645. Now I'm doing closer shots with a 4x5 (and larger areas still occasionally - still learning 4x5).
    I also have this idea for some particular still life shots. I have them in my head, but not a single one has made it to film, yet. I also have another subject/theme for which I've only shot about 2 or 3 frames - and not the one that gave me the idea 'cause it's back in MA and I didn't shoot it before I left.

    So both methods of coming up with a project are valid.

  7. #27
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I don't view a 'style' as what camera format you shoot, whether you use prime lenses or zoom lenses, or whether you shoot film or digital.. etc. I view a style as how you see and approach a subject, how you compose a subject and how you use the technical aspects of photography (lens choice, aperture choice, printing options) to portray the subject. As time has gone by I now feel comfortable with my style of photography. I too was unclear at first. Finding cameras that fit the way I prefer to work really helped, and I went through many camera systems until I settled on medium format rangefinders. They fit the way I like to work and see. After shooting and shooting and looking back and editing it became clearer. It has taken me 6 years in black and white shooting, doing the entire process myself to get to this point.

  8. #28
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    it is very hard to do a series of photographs of subjects that are very close to you.
    the best suggestion i can give is to just photograph as much as possible the subjects that you enjoy.
    don't put any boundaries on anything - use whatever equipment you want, and let yourself get carried away.
    don't edit yourself until time has passed ... then look at everything you have shot
    and decide what you like and don't like ... and then make more photographs ...
    eventually you will find a vein or a stream to follow and everything will fall into place.

    don't for get to have fun
    john
    Well put. +1
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  9. #29
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
    Alec Soth, for example, says he created his work "Sleeping by the Mississippi" over two years of just shooting, then editing down to a cohesive body of images.
    Another fine example of the one camera, one lens body of work, in this case, 8x10 with a 300mm lens (which I believe is more or less "Normal" focal length at that size)

    I talked with Alec a bit after a speech here in Atlanta, and he said he always set a goal for a day of a certain number of photos. He also said he was "the guy with the box of negatives under the bed" and spoke of "the good old days" when he was working on the Miss project. I think he experienced a bit of shock when he went from being that guy with the box of negs under the bed to the darling of the art photography world. He went from no expectations to suddenly very high expectations. I suspect you start wondering if it's all just an accident, if you perhaps really aren't good enough to warrant all the attention, or if you can actually live up to the expectations that others have set for you.

    He seems to have done quite well, and still uses that same camera and lens (with the exception of his Columbia book, which was all MF)
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  10. #30
    guitstik's Avatar
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    A local film photographer, Tom Fox of tomfoxphotography.com, has done a series on the wolf river area simply because it interested him. Now it is a series of books and speaking tours. I had a college proffesor tell me once that thinking to much kills the creative process. Find what interests you and shoot it, don't get caught up in what film, lens or format, just grab a camera and go. Keep track of what you used and look over what you have so that you can return to a particular subject later with a format/lens/film that you feel would work better. I have a ton of stuff that I will be revisiting next year but one of them can never be shot again since it has been torn down. As of this moment, I am the only photographer with prints/negatives of this historic site before the destruction. Two things I always have with me are a camera and an idea and of the two the camera is the most important. An idea without a camera is just an idea but a camera without an idea is an opportunity.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

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