Recently some friends and I started a small photo challenge. As I was organizing it with another friend, we tried to let the trivial themes in the first three photos and then we`d put a theme a bit more complex or requiring a specific technique, like “Order in Chaos”, or “Light Painting”. The first one, as usual in this kind of challenge, was a simple, trivial, self-portrait. First time I did one, I used a large silver spoon to reflect my image in its back and made it a very grainy and high contrast B&W. It was a nice idea that worked just fine! This time, the only thing I could figure out was an eye macro also B&W. Kind of a combination of two things I`ve already done.
Then it struck me.
That`s not about my style. That`s just me being lazy and trying to do things I know are going to work. It`s not that style is not important. It is, a lot. The thing I hear the most about photography (or art as a whole) is that one must develop its own style as soon as possible. I do have, nevertheless, the impression the word “style” is being held captive somewhere and the expression “creative inertia” has taken its place. When I sent the first image, my cousin Elisa (who has taught me a lot, even if she doesn’t fully know it) told me: “you`re already good in the technical part, it`s not about that, it`s about getting out of the comfort zone”.
Elisa was right.
It`s like making the trip backwards, from photography to subjectivity. As I`ve already stated before, I`m not a very creative person. Even tough, I`m still able to differentiate creative style and its inertia. It`s very common in photographers (mainly those who work with some specific kind of photography, like weddings) to learn a technique and then use it like there`s no tomorrow, HDR being the famous one right now.
It is a good sensation to master some kind of photography. The bad thing is that every new picture you make using something you already know it`s one opportunity to learn something new you throw away. The idea is clear to me now: as photography is a hobby to me, I prefer to have a portfolio full of mistakes of different kinds than to have it full of fantastic pictures taken the same way.