The Constant Search of Style
… is so overrated.
When I first started shooting photographs, all I wanted to do is create things. It doesn’t matter what I photograph, how bad or how good it looked, I would continue. Fast forward a couple of years later I came to a question that we couldn’t answer: “What is your style”, asked one of our potential clients. It was quite a difficult thing, mostly because I never even thought about this. Ultimately, I was having so much fun creating photos and capturing moments that I didn’t really care about it. I ended up asking most people who claimed that they were able to distinguish our photographs from others, and their answers never satisfied my curiosity.
Throughout those years, I have heard many people asking about how we came to our “style”. I also hear it in a lot of interviews on others as well. I found it really interesting that we always want to be understood, placed in a certain category, and maybe it’s our clients trying to make a comparison between the photographers that they met. Yes I understand that in the design world (artists) are supposed to have a certain style to distinguish themselves from others. But the fallacy about this is that when you are still growing, it is NOT the time to be thinking about style, because it will just hinder your development (think about style as a form of journey as opposed to a destination).
I don’t see my initial search of my style that way anymore , at least not in the way I used to struggle with trying to place myself in a certain category. To me, a style is simply put a repeating pattern of the things that you do, it could be a certain type of shot, one that has a signature look, etc. It could be a translation of who you are, how you see things, and what you like to photograph. Honestly it doesn’t matter, I think, as long as you produce good pictures within the same philosophy you should be ok.
I don’t think you should focus too much about what your style is either, and here is why…
Our growth in life creates change
The fact is that we continue growing physically and intellectually through our experiences. The experiences change us in terms of what we like, what is important to us, what we see, what we choose to photograph, and how we photograph them. All this is a path, a journey for us to “find” ourselves. The journey is fun, one that you should just experience and be excited about. Photography is a beautiful thing so enjoy it. Things work better when you enjoy doing it.
However, “finding yourself” is an ongoing thing – it never ends. When you find it, then your style will be there, clear as day.
Instead of thinking of what to label yourself with your style, focus on what you like and what your strengths are, in addition to perfecting your technical skills (this is often overlooked and will become a crutch if left unnourished). The style will come later when you realize that you like certain parts of photography and you’re good at it, which allows you to do this over and over again. Style is a repeating pattern. In the mean time, hold on to your passion and keep creating. All will fall into place in due time.
Stay positive, keep shooting, and keep learning!