I think that so many of us love photography because of its inherently dichotomous nature. On one hand photography is an art form which allows each of us incredible creative latitude for visual expression. That is counterbalanced by the complexity of the technical considerations that can come into play when creating images.
Each of us may be drawn to different things. Some like the grand vistas of landscapes.
Others are attracted by the strength and character of buildings.
The delicate details of blossoms can offer intrigue.
We can see the world around us as optical illusions.
Or be compelled to capture moments in nature unfolding before our eyes.
The beauty in the graceful sweep of lines and shapes can be found all around us.
Sometimes simply being in the right place at the right time can yield interesting opportunities created by the combination of subject, light and circumstance.
We can find messages about the human condition during our everyday walkabouts.
At other times our vacations can provide us glimpses into the everyday lives in other countries and cultures.
We can be mesmerized by the fine details and almost surreal colours that can be found in nature.
Or wonder what we will find around the next corner or up the next street.
Our eyes may be attracted to the subtlety of hues and of graceful lines.
Or the symmetry and power of man-made objects.
Our images can capture movements and preserve them as snapshots in time.
Everyday subjects can be messengers about the need for each of us to strive to grow and overcome obstacles.
The power of emotions can often be found in both expected and unexpected places.
There is so much in the world that still baffles me, and reminds me that there is an infinite amount for me to still learn and experience. With each thimble-full of knowledge that I add, the more acutely aware I become of the depth of my ignorance. There is one thing of which I am certain.
None of us will ever find our personal photographic style by reading books or viewing DVDs. Nor will we find it by trying to replicate the work of other people no matter how famous and how talented they may be. It will never be found through seeking the approval of others. And, there is no need to put artificial restrictions on our creativity by labelling ourselves as ‘wedding photographers’, ‘landscape photographers’, ‘nature photographers’…or anything else. Labels of any sort are self-limiting definitions.
We must free ourselves from all of these limitations and distractions, and simply trust in our experience of the world around us. The camera gear we choose to use makes no difference…it is only a tool that helps us to visually create. Ultimately each of us must follow our passions and our individual visions. Bringing them to life in our own unique ways allows our personal style to find us.
Photography is, and always will be, subjective in nature. What one person loves another may hate with vitriol.
Trust in your creative impulses. Trust in how you see the world around you. Through those things – you will find yourself.
Article and all images are Copyright 2016 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, adaptation or reproduction of any kind is allowed without written consent. Photography Life is the only approved user of this article. If you see it reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use