Whilst I agree that we all tend to concentrate on subject matter that we like or think produces our best work I think it's essential that we look to develop our seeing and ultimately our style. It is so easy to carry on making photographs in a particular vein and not see that we are only producing more of the same and our style is really in part a formula. I can never agree that a certain way of printing is style, again it falls into the category of formula, anyone can print dark and satanic or light and airy fairy.So I was wondering if any of you have a certain niche of photography that you fit in. This can be a format, style, or even a particular printing process. I look forward to everyone's responses!
Yars ago I made only landscape photographs and hated photographing people and photography got boring. I decided to take a radical change of direction and started carrying a 35mm camera at all times and disciplined myself to use only one lens and expose one roll of black and white film each week and photograph anything that caught my eye, no matter how wacky although I avoided landscapes. I photographed people, light that appealed to me, signs and notices with text that I thought humourous or otherwise, in fact I just snapped away until the film was done.At the end of the week I processed the film, contacted printed it and chose the image that I though was the best and filed it in a loose leaf folder. This became my visual journal. I did not look at the prints once they were filed until about 6 months later and spent a couple of hours going through them. I was amazed firstly at what I had photographed and secondly that I saw similarities in images that were totally diverse in content. As I carried on doing my visual journal over the months and years I did develop a style that was not a formula, it was a way of seeing no matter what the subject matter was that I photographed. I carried on with the journal for quite a long time looking at it every few months and the gave it a rest. When I feel that my photography is going stale I start with my journal again, so far it has not failed me.
I'm convinced that the journal has had a huge influence on my photography and willingness to make photographs of subjects that I'm not really comfortable with.