Why and How: Lasting in Photography In 9 keys - Part 1
You are a nature photographer. Taking photographs is your passion. You spend a lot of effort and energy to make interesting photos.
One of your wishes is to be able to last over time and that your passion remains intact.
But how do you get there?
This is what I will explain to you in this article.
The Little Story of this Article
I had an interesting experience that opened my eyes to what I should not do during my career as a professional photographer artist.
I am passionate about an American photographer specializing in black and white. I will not mention his name because that is not the purpose of this article. I had already bought three of his beautiful books because they are a real source of inspiration for me. During a weekend, having no more recent coffee books, I decide to go to a specialized bookstore with Isabelle, my wife. In the photo department, I discovered something new. A book by this photographer published two months before.
I throw myself on it and I decide to buy it without even leafing through it. It was then that Isabelle said to me "You already have three books of him. At least look if he has innovated in his shots".
I open the book and I discover that the photos and the texts are always in the same vein as the previous books.
Finally, I put the book down and I decide not to buy it.
It was this event, however insignificant, that made me realize that a photographer artist must know how to regenerate himself to last. It was on this day that I understood the difference between photographic styles and the photographic signature.
Many photographers, some of international renown, create collections of photographs only with the same signature. Over time, they become boring because they always create the same type of photographs.
Definition of Lasting Over Time
To last in time is to occupy a defined space of time. It is to continue to exist, to occur, to persist in a state, to maintain yourself.
It also means resisting the effects of time. It is a question of preserving all your qualities intact.
Application to a Photographer
For a photographer, lasting over time means continuing to take creative, meaningful and interesting photographs for a given audience.
As far as I am concerned, it is one of my obsessions. My photographic activity is partly motivated by this need. I have the desire to last over time.
This is for this reason that I often question myself by exploring new creative paths.
Why Do You Want to Last in Photography?
You may be like me. When you undertake an activity like photography, you are fully invested.
You put all the necessary means to succeed in making creative, interesting photographs. You may already have a loyal following. I want to say that you have managed to gather around you, a circle of people who follow you, encourage you and motivate you. This audience can be physical, but it can also be virtual. In that case, this is the purpose of social networks.
It is for this audience that you realize your projects.
You want to please them.
For me, lasting over time means continuing to please collectors and people who share my moral and ethical values and who trust me.
Wanting to last is to say that all the efforts I have made are not in vain. But one day they will help me to add a small brick to this gigantic building that is called "humanity".
I believe that this is an important and sufficient reason to justify this desire to please.
But how do you last over time? The answer cannot be summarized in one sentence. It is a little more complicated.
In the rest of this article, I will give you some keys on how to last.
Key 1: Specializing Yourself in One or Two Themes
I believe that one of the essential points to be able to last in photo, it is to specialize in one or two fields. This is true in all artistic fields.
In fact, the more you choose different areas, the more efforts you will make that you will not be able to capitalize on.
Photography is a very complex artistic field and very difficult to grasp. Each chosen theme requires different skills and know-how. It takes a long time to acquire them.
The more you disperse, the less you will go deep into these themes. You will fly over them. You will only glimpse the possibilities of each of them.
By specializing, you will learn to master the techniques of a theme. You will excel in your shots. You will certainly meet people who will appreciate what you are doing. You will still be encouraged, motivated. You will continue to progress and go even further.
If you choose to specialize in more than one area, try to choose them consistently. For example, choosing the portrait and the architecture seems inappropriate to me.
If you want to last, choose one or two consistent photographic themes to fully express yourself.
Key 2: Having a Well-Defined Photographic Approach
Your photographic approach, whether artistic or not, is the guarantee for you not to get lost in the photographic meanders.
When it is well defined, it serves as beacons and a beacon throughout your photographic life.
You will refer to it when you are going to doubt or when you are going to take a divergent path. Your photographic approach is the guarantee that you will follow the right path to reach your goals.
Without a clear and precise photographic approach, you risk taking paths on which you will get lost. You will lose your photographic soul. You will end up forgetting your creative goals. You will not be able to last because you will demotivate yourself.
I remind you that a photographic approach consists of two very distinct components:
- Your photographic vision: it is the way you see the world around you and the scenes you photograph.
- Your signature: this is how you show the scenes you are photographing.
When you know how you are going to show your universe, you will develop techniques allowing you to last because people will recognize your photographs.
Key 3: Knowing Why You Are Taking Photos
If you have not answered the question yet or if you have not yet found an answer to the question of why you are taking photos, it is time to get started.
If you do not know why you are taking photos, I guarantee that you will never manage to create interesting photos. It is exactly as if you have not yet found meaning in your life.
Knowing why you are taking photos will allow you to set precise, simple and clear objectives.
All your photographic activity will consist in defining and following paths to reach them.
During my photo workshops, when I meet new participants for the first time, I am always surprised by the lack of answer to this question. Sometimes the answers are elusive and general. Yet it is essential and fundamental.
If you want to last, try to find an answer to this question today. You will save a lot of time during your photo sessions. Your photographic activity will only be better limited. You will also avoid taking paths on which you may get lost.
photographique n’en sera que mieux bornée. Vous éviterez aussi d’emprunter des chemins sur lesquels vous risquez de vous perdre.