Michel, if you want to find your photographic voice, let your photographs speaks for you. At least, it is what I do.
Michael, what size film do the grafmatics take? If you have a camera that takes that size film, by all means use them.
Jose - IMHO=In My Humble Opinion,
As for Tina, I think she became interested in politics and lost her interest in photography, thus never matured.
Thanks Juan, anyway, she never consider herself a photographer, not even an activist-photographer.
Originally Posted by juan
[size=1]'How do you find your voice, give your images soul?'[/size]
I don't know. I photograph what pleases me, that which makes an impression on me. I have no idea if I have a 'voice', one day someone will tell me, but for now I'll carry on as I am, trying to do my best, for me.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
I think thinking about this is counterproductive. Look through the current issue of Lenswork. The one with the Texas Tintypes. 3 photographers with very different visions but all three shout 'soul' to me. Several times a year someone will come up to me and say, "I saw one of your pictures at such and such. I didn't have to look at the signature, I knew it was one of yours." That's about the nicest compliment I could be paid.
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Originally Posted by jimgalli
and I get that a LOT...
I have - or so people say - developed a certain style in my images.
PWL. Liquid emulsions and so on..
reckognizable images, people say...
I think I am kind of blessed that I have never been successful. commercial wise.
so I have just been playing around, and developed this style..
people sometimes ask me: why don't you take images of other things?
"it could be so interesting to see whay you could do..."
I don't. I stick to what I am interested in. and the content of my images have changes a lot in the years gone by.
interesting enough; I lost my mother 18 months ago - and my photography went to a compleately full stop.
It was like it had to "mean" something - it had to be serious..
the trouble is, if I know I "have to" be serious, I can't do it.
I have to have fun, while doing the images. Even though the end result would be dark in mood or something similar...
otherwise the results will not be good.
So I have a "style". it isn't all good. It constantly asks you if it is the right one, or if it is time to change - or stop..
But that is also a good thing (?)
Originally Posted by Jose A Martinez
I don't know about this. Modotti left photography early. She had less than 10 years before politics became her obsession. I think that her photography never matured because she left it before it could. The Weston influence is pronounced in her Mexican work. I haven't seen much of the other work that she did. Also, it was my understanding that her return to Mexico was in part to revive her art. I guess that we will never know.
Soul can be good in small doses too
There is soul even in my commercial work - it is just less obvious.
Originally Posted by blansky
Admittedly, when you are photographing weddings, or portraits, or events (which is most of my commercial work), you have a bit more leeway , but I think it is generally true that when photographing for others, there are an infinite number of choices available to you. It is the choices that you make that reveal the voice.
If I have photographed a wedding, and there is evidence in my photographs of the joy, and excitement, and stress, and community revealed there, it shows something about me as well. The things we capture on film, are the things we notice and attach value to and choose to record.
The "art" may not be earthshaking, or transcendent, but if it communicates in any meaningful way, then it is important and it does express itself in your voice.
Even the presence of good technique has a "soul" element to it. I use as an example a wedding I photographed three years ago for friends/relatives. I used MF colour negative film. There were dozens of people there taking pictures, and the bride and groom got to see lots of other people's pix (some digital, some from film) before they saw mine. When I went to see them with the 5x5 proofs, there were already a number of other people's photographs around - some were even framed. It didn't matter - the bride and groom were amazed at how different the results were from my work, as compared to the vast majority of the other's. They commented on the clarity and detail revealed in the proofs, and commented as well about the expressions I had captured, the relationships between foregrounds and backgrounds, the naturalness of the poses (when posed) and the lucky accidents of my candid choices - i.e. all the expected results of experience, good technique, reasonable judgment and a liking for and understanding of the work. I believe that they were moved by my photographs, but even if not, they at least enjoyed them, and I expect they will continue to be a source of enjoyment in years to come.
In my case, I had the satisfaction of performing work that I was proud of, and which I too enjoyed looking at, because I felt it captured the event, which was obviously an important one for these people, in a way that accurately reflected the happiness of that day. I also have the continuing satisfaction of knowing that my photographs have brought pleasure to others, which by itself does have value. I would suggest that even if my photographs of that wedding were not unusual, they did and do have "soul".
I would also suggest that, as a result of choices made by me, the photographs I took are clearly an expression of my view of the wedding day, as compared to someone elses, and as such they do reveal my voice in a meaningful way.
All of this may be a roundabout way of saying that your "voice" can be found in every photographic expression you might make - sometimes loud and clear, and sometimes subtle and maybe even subversive. Some of your images may have so much soul that they need to be labelled with a caution, while others will have a gentle and winning type of soul that lends itself to sitting on a corner of a desk, in a frame, to give you or someone else pleasure for years to come.
If you are at a crossroad, then you have choices to make. Don't worry about making the wrong choices, because by making choices you are just trying out your voice. If you choose something, and then later come to the realization that the choice made was not the best fit for you, then you can almost always make another choice.
Whatever choices are made, if you bring care and interest to your photographs, then your voice will reveal itself, and the images' "soul" will be evident.
Could not agree more Jim...that one issue has me going back to look at the works of different photographers, each one different, each with soul.
If you do a search about 'vision' in the threads you will also find that this something we all struggle with. I think it is good to do this once in a while, because it helps us evolve - are at least it does for me. Can't tell you how often I go out with film loaded in a camera/holders just to return home without ever taking the camera out....just nothing moved me to trip the shutter, and I fell that now my work has more to it than just a technical photograph. Seems like I 'see' more photos than I produce, if that makes sense. Now, I do not stop make the image and declare that it will be a great image....but now when I stop it is because I felt something and with a little skill and a lot of help from the gods of photography, I might just get the whole thing to come together and get close to what I was feeling on to film and from there (if the darkroom gods cut me some slack) the negative will actually come out the way I was hoping, then on to the print...you get the idea I hope. So, the tech part is important, but somewhere I have to get that part of 'me' that I am trying to share so that someone will understand why I bothered in the first place....does this make any sense?
Originally Posted by jimgalli
We are confusing each other on definitions.
Originally Posted by MattKing
In my experience "commercial work" is generally product photography.
What you are referring to is generally known as "portrait work", and I absolutely agree that is can, should, and in a lot of cases probably does exhibit "soul" and "style".
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.