The 365 Thing*

So I’ve just this minute decided to do a 365 thing. Was it just an impulse? No. Truth is I’ve kinda been thinking about it for months. The reservation was that I thought I might not have the time to shoot and process every day. Well maybe the time will be tight sometimes but if I make the commitment then I will adjust the time accordingly.

Enough on the difficulties. On to the reason. I keep reading about the idea of developing a style and I keep thinking that most of what is said on the subject is b/s. I can shoot in many styles right now and so can most photographers who know their basics and are aware of styles.

A photographic style

A photographic style

The above pic is mainly created in the studio as opposed to in post processing.

An Old Master painter's style

An Old Master painter's style

This one is from the same shoot. The lighting is different and the clothes were changed. The post processing was also different. The result is a different style. You may prefer one to the other or prefer something entirely different. The point is they are completely different styles.

So why am I writing about style?  Dunno really. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Well style is the thing that is supposed to make you unique. It is supposed to be your trademark. That thing you are known for. I don’t know about this. It seems to me that anyone who comes up with something different and interesting will be copied immediately by others anyway. Regardless of whether the copiers are right or wrong in copying the fact remains they will exist and many potential buyers will not know or care who the actual originator was. So I’d like to refine the first three sentences of this paragraph.

Your style won’t make you unique but it is something you could be known for. I don’t believe it is possible to come up with a style that retains some aesthetic qualities without it being copyable by others. Neither do I believe it necessary.

The kind of style I want to develop isn’t really a style at all. What I want is to get my attention away from any kind of technically derived “look” and on to communicating something in the most powerful way I can develop. Technique will certainly be developed. Looks might be more developed. Everything I know about technique might be used. But the primary purpose of any image I create should be to communicate something to a viewer.

So I want to do a 365 project with the sole purpose of leaning how to communicate better.

I love shooting portraits but I think this project will involve many other subjects as it will not always be possible to find a new sitter every day and it might become dreary using the same sitters too frequently.

* A 365 thing is a commitment to making at least one image per day, every day, for a whole year.

Posted in 365 project
6 comments on “The 365 Thing*
  1. Farouk Ali says:

    Romper style
    I ‘m glad you brought up the subject of style. I must confess I have never really understood it as a photographer. However in a marketing sense I can see how it would give a public or a client something to latch on to,sommething to mark you out as different from the crowd. I have different styles just as I do in clothes. These tend to change from time to time otherwise I’d still be in a rompers.

  2. Leon Godwin says:

    Bernie! I’m stoked that you are taking it on! Thanks for the comment, I’m proud to have been a part of your decision to embark. I love what you have to say about style. I’ve always had trouble with that term as well. I like to shoot so many things, how can I possibly reconcile all that into a ‘personal style,’ and wouldn’t that be a bit of a restriction? That said, I have noticed that there are things I naturally gravitate toward, like symmetry and squaring up subjects parallel with the frame edges. This could be considered a part of my style I think, but as you said, there’s nothing there that hasn’t come before or isn’t the same for any other number of photogs now and in the future. I think for something to really become ‘YOUR STYLE’ or ‘HIS STYLE,’ said person has to gain some measure of fame. Then they can singled out from all the others with that style too.

    You ever read/heard Bukowski’s poem, Style? http://blog.ahfr.org/2008/03/charles-bukowski-style-screwed-and.html

    Good Luck!

  3. Bernie says:

    Rompers might be fun Farouk.

    @Leon I’d never come across Bukowski’s poem but it was worth seeing. Thanks.

  4. Bernie says:

    By the way Leon I’m going to hold you responsible !

  5. Miserere says:

    I like the “style” of the 2nd one better. If nothing else, the lighting is certainly more favourable to the subject.

  6. Bernie says:

    @Miserere Yes I do too.

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