Lasting in Photography Means Building your Photographic Structure
Key 4: Have a Real Photographic Consciousness
Photographic consciousness is your ability to know where you stand in relation to other photographers. I am not talking about the relationship level or ranking in comparison, rather, I am discussing the relationship attributes of creativity. Saying that you are better or worse than another photographer makes no sense. The scale of value represents nothing in art. Indeed, you can create photographs that are interesting and exciting for a certain audience, and with that same collection, bore another audience. You must find your people who appreciate you.
You must know how to find yourself on the photographic chessboard. When you have defined a circle of people who make up your audience, you will gain self-confidence. You know that you represent something for certain people.
Key 5: Know How to Build and Solidify Your Photographic Structure
The photographic structure is an expression that I created to develop my ACANP method.
ACANP is a methodology which I use to animate my nature photography courses.
I teach the participants in my workshops to build, develop, and consolidate their own photographic structure. ACANP is made up of a set of elements which are linked together.
I will not discuss all the elements that constitute ACANP because it would take too long and be irrelevant for this article. Instead, I will consider how a photographer masters his compositions and his framing to fluently write in the photographic language. Likewise, it is essential that a photographer master the theory of photographic elements.
As I often say, “one lifetime is not enough to learn and master photography.” Each new technique and theme that is mastered is a manifestation of personal growth and learning. This process begins with the dawn of each day.
If you ever have the chance to participate in one of my courses, you will see the construction of your photographic building in more depth.
Key 6: Have a General Sense of Culture
If you want to create interesting photographs of nature, you must have a general sense of culture.
You must be interested in the world around you. Indeed, when expressing emotions, transmitting messages and emotions, or even achieving aesthetic works, you are practicing empathy with the world around you.
General culture will equip you with elements to develop your own photographic language. By knowing how to express yourself photographically, you will be more directly understood. Having a sense of general culture allows you to listen to your environment and better translate what you see.
For example, if your passion is found in photographing wild deer, then cultivate that part of yourself and learn how culture receives it. You will then create unique photos that will have more impact.
By staying locked in your own skills without trying to learn general knowledge, you limit your creativity. You prevent yourself from lasting over time.
Key 7: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You may take beautiful nature photographs. You may have created an audience of people who appreciate your photographic approach.
But a few years from now, you will realize that you have confined yourself to creating photos with your signature only. You will be satisfied with what you achieve because you remain in the same creative routine.
Why not try to explore new ways with a new style? Why not try to surprise your audience by questioning yourself?
Why not step out of your comfort zone?
This is one of the keys to last in photography. Nothing forces you to always create the same type of photographs. No one keeps you tethered in your routine except yourself.
By adopting a new style that remains broadly consistent with your signature, you will regenerate yourself and initiate a new start.
Getting out of your comfort zone does not require a big risk. It is simply a matter of taking a photographic turn and choosing a path that will open new creative doors.
Key 8: Define Your Photographic Culture
You may think that you are an excellent photographer. You may think that you have nothing to learn from others. You may think that the ease that accompanies digital technologies allows you to take photos which our forefathers would have never dreamed of. You may think that these same elders have nothing to say to you since so much time has passed since they captured a photo.
You may be right. You are certainly a good photographer. You may have nothing left to learn. I cannot judge you. You are the only one who can define your limits.
But where I do not agree is that the other photographers, whether old or recent, have a lot to offer.
The technique is not that important in creating a good photograph. It represents approximately 10% of the finished product.
Personally, I have dozens of books written by photographers. I also have many photographic biographies. I have read and reread these works without stopping.
On one hand, they are important sources of inspiration. On the other hand, the experiences lived by these people allow me to avoid similar mistakes. I have found that I greatly benefit from their experiences.
This photographic culture of the past is a precious ally. Without it, I would certainly not be who I am today.
The photographic culture not only fuels worldly conversations around a table with friends who are photographers.
It is much more. Photographic culture feeds me, enriches me, and allows me to grow every day.
All the stories and experiences of others are a source of inspiration when deciding which new direction to take.
Without this photographic culture, I would not have been able to define my photographic consciousness as precisely.
I believe that to develop an interesting photographic culture, you must study all photographers regardless of their theme. For example, even if I specialize in nature photography, I should not hesitate to take an interest in fashion, news, portraits, and media photographers.
When it comes to cultivating myself, I have no limits. All experiences are beneficial in some way. I always draw from different positive elements for enrichment.
Key 9: Know How to Create Styles for Your Collections
In one of the previous keys, I indicated that in order to last, you must have a recognizable signature.
Simply saying that you have a signature is insufficient. You must know how to create styles according to your collections.
I hope these nine keys have given you the tools you need to last over time. You have talent. You are unique. It would be a shame if you do not share your points of view and your photographic vision with the largest audience possible. Sometimes it takes time to become known. Be persistent. Be methodical. Most of all, never doubt yourself.