Monthly fragments; June 2012
When I re-started to take photography a bit more seriously, a couple years back, I begin to follow a path that I thought would give me the insights to achieve a recognizable “style”. The aim was not to flourish in the photographic community or to try to be famous. I was just hopping to find my self-expression trough photography and to feel good about the pictures I take. I somehow thought that with practice and experience, that kind of recognizable “style” would emerge.
My line of reasoning was based on the examples of those generally considered as great photographers, like Bresson, Salgado, McCurry, Francesca Woodman or Daido Moriyama; their work is easily recognizable because each one expresses one self in a particular kind of way, in relation with their personal interests, techniques and attitudes towards photography and the world.
Well, things didn’t turn out to be quite like I was expecting and I just don’t know if I’m moving towards something I can call a personal style. I’m not even sure if that’s an important question for me anymore. All this time, however, was not spent in vain. Besides having fun taking pictures, regardless of the results, I reach two conclusions related to the way of balancing emotion and reason in (my) photography.
First of all, I now understand the importance of being emotionally connected with the subjects I choose for my photographs and that connection can be a human interest, a particular color arrangement, an interesting composition or a beautiful sky. It can also be a particular mood I’m experiencing on any given time for which I discover a visual capture to convey it. The number of possibilities is immense and I never know what will catch my attention. If this emotional connection with the subject doesn’t exist or it’s week, I find it very difficult to achieve satisfactory results.
However, this dispersion of interests can be annoying and I sometimes think I could produce better and more interesting photos if I narrowed the subjects down, something I’m not prepared (or want) to do as yet.
Second, I discovered the advantages of emotionally disconnecting from the shots I take, after I took them. Does this contradicts the first point? I think not. What I mean is that I found to have a much better judgment towards my pictures after disconnecting emotionally from them. Time alone will do the job and the more time, the better. It’s only when I forget the emotional circumstances that led me to take those shots that I’m in a good stand to use a more rational approach and evaluate the real interest of those shots as photographs. That’s not as easy as it sounds because I feel an inner pressure to shot, edit, post and move on…
Being fond of a particular shot one takes doesn’t necessarily make it a good shot. There’s nothing wrong with that but one must be able to tell the diference… Objectively.
All photographs by António Marques – © António Marques Photoblog, 2010-2012