What’s Your “Vision”?

February 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

"Old Man in Mexico"

"The Artist"

I mentioned to some people that I was going to blog about “light painting” some still life images, but then I had a conversation with my son about creating your “vision” in photography.  If you look back a few months ago in my blog, you’ll see a blog entitled “My Son…My Inspiration”, and you’ll see a selection of his nature images.  He’s really good at nature photography, but he’s developing an interest in expanding into other things.  He’s taking an interest in a more commercial aspect of photography, but he doesn’t know where he wants to go with that.  He doesn’t seem interested in studio work, so I advised him to look at the work by Jay Maisel, Pete Turner, Seth Resnick, and Eric Meola to name a few.  These photographers can see something in a scene that a thousand other people that pass by miss.  So many people “look”, but they don’t “see”.  Anyhow, this conversation made me ask myself “how would I define my vision?”  Believe me, that’s really a hard question for me to answer.  Maybe other people can look at my work, and put a label on it, but I can’t.  I know photography consultants preach that we photographer need to create a unique “vision” so as not to confuse potential clients.  Maybe I’ve done that and don’t even realize it!  I know that when I got into photography, two of my original favorite photographers were Pete Turner and Jay Maisel.  Pete Turner was doing Photoshop stuff before Photoshop was invented.  He duped slides to make composites, enhanced colors, and even invented his own colors!  Talk about surreal!!  I went out and bought an Illumitran slide copier so I could do the same.  Then you have Jay Maisel who never manipulates his images at all, but yet has this uncanny ability to see something that the rest of the world misses.  I wanted to be another Jay Maisel, so I went out everyday with my 35mm camera and looked, observed, and shot.  Sometimes I would go out with only one lens…a telephoto, a wide angle, a macro, but only one.  I trained myself to see what I could through that specific lens.  I think I have a “good eye”, at least that’s what I’ve been told, and I credit those little one lens experiments with helping me to develop that “good eye”.  So do I try to shoot “Pete Turner style” or “Jay Maisel style”?  The answer is yes…both!  Now when I go into the studio to shoot a still life, my style is fairly apparent.  When I went to school, I studied still life photography.  Probably the two most famous still life photographers at that time were Phil Marco and Irving Penn.  Marco’s still life images were moody, softly lit, with plenty of deep shadows.  Penn’s still life images pretty much jumped right off the page.  His backgrounds were very high key!  I loved his stuff, but I loved Marco’s even better.  To this day, I shoot with that “Marco style” when shooting a still life.  So that bit of history brings us back to my question.  What is my style, and what is my vision.  I shoot still life in the studio, I shoot available light outside, I do “real”, and I do “surreal”, and I love it all.  The one thing that has always fascinated me though was that single solitary person doing their thing.  Maybe flying a kite all by themselves in a big field, strolling along a beach, sitting on a bench reading a book…anything, but doing it with no one else around.  That doesn’t mean I don’t shoot groups of people too…aggh, there I go again, I shoot solitary figures, I shoot groups!  Like I said, I can’t put my finger on it, but maybe someone else can.  Anyhow, here’s some solitary people shots.

"Man at the Bar"

"Old Man of the House" a Composite Image

"Kate Alone" A Composite Image

Hope you enjoyed this one…next one will be back in the studio for some light painting.

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