Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Personal Style

Occasionally one runs across people who worry about developing a personal style, or who talk about their personal style, or who think it is important that a photographer have a personal style. Adam Marelli has a pretty insightful essay here.

Style shouldn't be about you. It should serve the picture, or the portfolio, or the show. The style should support and clarify the idea, the meaning. And by the by, there should be an idea, or some meaning, of some sort.

If you do develop a personal style, it's because the work you do tends to cover some of the same ground, in some sense, over and over. It's because the meanings overlap, and therefore the styles which support those meanings overlap, and therefore the work tends to look similar along certain stylistic lines.

If you're just doing the same thing over and over because it's your thing, you're not an artist with a distinctive personal style at all. You're a one trick pony, and that is a different thing entirely.


  1. Andrew,

    Is there any way to be informed when you publish new material on your blog ? On blogger, there is the possibility for people to "subscribe", so they get an email when new material is published on your blog. There is a simple widget for that, that is part of the regular stuff on blogger. This would make life easier for your reader.

    BTW, you are a rather discrete person : no email on the blog and so now way to contact you. And your mailbox on the photoforum is full, so no way to contact you there. So this is the reason for this message here. But I have a comment for the blog as well here below :

    I agree about your views about style, or at least they fit mine. Style is the logical consequence of someones's work, not a goal or a cause. It is the result of a consistent work on something. I have seen photographer shooting with the goal of developing a style, and they just manage to repeat the same things again and again, saying that it's their style. They worked that way because other people told them that "You should develop a personal style". However, I believe this is the wrong way of presenting the problem : they should have said "You should work with some goal in mind, whatever it is precisely, and your style will naturally come from this consistent work"

    1. Aren't blogger and blogspot the same thing now? I know it's possible to follow this blog, since I have one follower! It's very exciting ;)

      Also, I updated the About page to include an email address. Here I had assumed it would be "obvious" what a usable email address would be, but evidently not so much. Thanks for pointing that out!

      I like your formulation of style and how to approach it very much. Well said.

  2. You have one reader at least, right, but this poor guy can still not see an email address in your profile. I might have miss something, though.

    1. I put it in the "About" page. Upper right side of the blog, there's a "Pages" heading, with a list of a few things, including "About"!

    2. Got it, thanks. I was looking into the "About me" located a the bottom of the right column.

  3. Ok, Andrew, I want to subscribe but I really can't find where and how! What am I missing?