Quite often I leave comments on images by my friends, some I know in real life, and some are still ‘virtual’ acquaintances. But I’ve reached a point where I’ve seen what they’ve been producing for at least six months now. It occurred to me the other day when I wrote an email and told someone what I thought of their overall style, their photography as a body of work and as an outlet for their own personality, that it’s much more revealing to step back and consider it as more than individual pictures.
Even if you aren’t trying to produce a cohesive project as such, or develop a particular style, and just shoot from week to week to please yourself, there’s still a lot to be seen from looking at the stuff both as a whole, and also as a stream, a line of progression in time. Some people have started out with basic snapshots and honed in on a more polished, possibly more commercial aesthetic, others began with a natural eye for composition and then steered away from the stock site/Photography Monthly/camera club type of work.
It’s made me think a bit more about my own photography, and how I have progressed over the last year since I went digital. I have no doubt in my mind that I have progressed, because I’m at that stage where I’m still getting to grips with the technical issues. But now I’m wondering if I’ve been sucked into the slick, polished, saturated flickr style rather than following my own vision. I need to go beyond that, and develop my own visual language. I’ve been defensive over the need to attack that which is so obviously attractive to the masses simply for the sake of going against the fashion, but at the same time it can be sickly sweet in vast quantities, and leave you wanting something more substantial. Looking back at my own pictures over the year I can see hints of something else trying to come through, but I could really do with the ability to be entirely objective – yet at the same time, keep my own feelings in mind so that I can be slightly more conscious about what I want to try to put across. Has anyone found any ways to help achieve something similar?
P.S. There is a group on flickr called “the co curators resource” which I’m tempted to take a shot at, but it is something that would take quite a bit of time and effort.