It was one of those articles that clicked with something in my mind. It reminded me that I had actually started a train of thought on a similar subject last week, and forgotten all about it. Following on from thinking about style, and what elements of your photography actually impart a style to your images, I started to think about all the photographers whose style we immediately recognise, and how they generally exclusively shoot in that recognisable way.
I wondered if it generally occurs that photographers start off trying loads of different things out, and over time they narrow down their technique – whether that means using a particular length of lens, a single film or processing method, square or panoramic format, or something like that. I know most of my fellow amateur photographers currently cover as wide a range of all those things as possible, and over time, I see that we tend to begin to feel more comfortable, (or productive, or inspired) with some ‘configurations’ more than others and so, work more exclusively with them.
But is it something we do consciously, in a bid to claim our own personal style? Does it actually limit our creativity to narrow down too much in an effort to force something that should be a more natural progression? And when these guys get to the stage – like experts who ‘know more and more about less and less’ – where they are trapped into such a constrictive way of working that it almost becomes a rut, do they continue to grow artistically?
Or… is it at that stage when you have narrowed down your ‘tools’ to the ones you know intimately and use intuitively, that you can create you best, most insightful, least self-conscious work?