Thursday, 23 July 2009

Finding a 'voice'

I was responding a Flickr photographer's great 'essay' underneath the photo 'Klimt's Island. I was so in tune with what he said that I didn't want to just slap down some instant comment. In fact, he put down in words exactly what I'm going through at the moment, namely, trying to find a 'voice' to my photography.

I have days when I think I may just have something with my photography and there are days when I feel I am just another bland, boring photographer making up the numbers. I have felt like that with other things I have tried in my life but the difference with photography is that I have not, and will not, abandon it as I have done with other pursuits. Inside me there is a feeling that I have something creative to offer and I'm convinced it is via photography.

However, the days, weeks, months and years roll on and that 'voice' has still to appear. OK, many shots have been blogged, used, and explored and, probably like many other Flickr users, Getty are interested in 26 of my shots . This month a CD of a well respected traditional fiddler will use 4 of my photographs, hopefully a book will be published soon with one of my shots on the cover, weddings have been done and a music festival will be shot by me. So, I'm not crap at photography obviously, but where is 'me' in these photographs?

When Rob said - "but the more I try to explore who I am and how that relates to my work, the more confused I become. I know it sounds rather self-centred, but to understand and further my photography I need to understand and further myself" - I thought, "Yes! somebody else going through this." I have read in many places that the best advice successful photographers give to aspiring photographers is to LIVE LIFE. Go to the theatre, opera, dance, movies, museums, concerts, read literature, etc. Also, have a passion or passions in your life - what really interests you? who areyou? These last questions are more difficult to answer than you think I feel. As Rob said, the elusive ‘I’ shows an alarming tendency to disappear when we try to examine it. I often look at other photographers I admire, or even some I don't even know, and I see work I am very impressed with but don't try to copy or emulate them. I just absorb it. Often they are city scenes and/or have people in them - two things I am short of up here in rural Aberdeenshire.

Add to this, the mess my head gets into when I think too much about the technical aspects of photography which I'm still fumbling to grasp. There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it. I now have enough knowledge to now that a particular shot could be improved with a different lens/filter/lighting and it kind of puts me off taking it! whereas in the past I would have given it my best shot. Recently my new D300 had to go and get fixed/calibrated and I was so happy taking my old D50 and 'snapping' away without giving a damn about technical concerns.

One aspect of photography Rob didn't talk about was 'networking' with other photographers, I live in rural Aberdeenshire and 99% of the time I am on my own taking shots. I don't have a network of photographers I could tap into and share ideas (or see what I will never do!) I think this might help me find a 'voice' so I am going to try to work on this somehow. What do you think? Do you network with other photographers (or artists for that matter) and does it help find 'you' in your work? I started this photography blog but failed to keep it up to date (how often have we heard that?) and I am in the process of setting up a website (truth be told, I can't be bothered with it but I will persevere). I need to get my work out there and my name known I guess if I wan't to see if I can cut it.