Excerpts from a photographers thoughts on creating a recognizable style:
Many photographers are concerned with style.
“What’s my style?”…“Do I have a recognizable style?”…“Is my style consistent?”…“How can I develop my style?”
“People with these concerns about style often pointedly choose to adopt recognizable eccentricities of technique, equipment choices, or subject matter, for the explicit purpose of differentiating themselves. Unfortunately, they sometimes do this devoid of well conceived reasons fused with their expressions. In such cases, these devices amount only to gimmicks. That’s mistaking the effect for the cause.
The visual tendencies and photographic tics which make a great photographer’s works identifiable are actually not her style. They’re the artifacts of her style. Not the style, itself.
Style is the manifestation of who you are. It’s how you see. It’s how you think. It’s what subjects resonate with you. It’s the kinds of meaning you perceive. It’s how you express yourself. It’s the sum of all of your mental and perceptual characteristics, coming through in your creations.
Your style is rooted in your formative experiences, and in the characteristics of your senses. Your style may change over time, but such changes come from further formative experiences changing who you are, and from sensory changes affecting your perception – not from attempts to specifically pick or alter your style. Each of you reading this already has your own unique photographic style (and artistic style, in general). It’s within you, inextricably tied with who you are. You already perceive and understand the world in ways uniquely your own, which thereby inform your creative expression with a combination of characteristics only you impart. If your style isn’t already apparent, then it’s latent (or lost within a confusion of other irrelevant details which needs to be pared away) – but it’s not nonexistent. It exists, and doesn’t need to be created.
Find what resonates with you. Pursue it passionately. Plunge its depths. Be true to yourself in your perception of it, your response to it, your representation of it – unabashedly, unreservedly, and completely.
Your style will then naturally shine through.”
As Janis Joplin said “Don’t compromise yourself. Its all you got.” People tell me all the time that they can recognize my style so reading this guys thoughts was interesting to me.