Friday, September 9, 2016

Personal Style

I revisit this topic from time to time, I guess? I swear I've written a lot of this before.

To review, my opinion of a photographic style is that it's a set of photographic choices you make the same way every time. Same lens, same film, same point of view, same whatevers. There are things you do differently, of course, as well, but if you've got a good set of choices you make the same/similarly every time the pictures will cohere visually.

To review further, a singular personal style is probably not something you actually want to develop, as such. In my opinion, what you want is to shoot each project in a photographic style that suits it. If your projects tend to work the same sorts of themes and ideas, well, these styles may overlap, and a signature style may emerge. Fair enough. But just because you always do gloomy black and white with a slightly long lens (err, who, me?) doesn't mean you should stick to that "because it's my personal style" when it doesn't fit a project you want to pursue.

Ok, now look at this guy on instagram. I think he's an actual commercial photographer, with tear sheets and everything. I don't know or care if he's successful. The instagram is interesting, though.

There's a very strong photographic style in here, which is executed mainly through something we rarely think of in these contexts. It's done through the styling. He's got a classic fashion color palette going on, pale blues and browns, occasionally a green accent. He's on top of his color, by golly. I think he might spell it colour, though. Either way.

What he strikes me as doing with this instagram account is illustrating to his clients that he can indeed do this. Are your corporate colors magenta and green? Got it, I can shoot that. Do you want a profoundly coherent look for your campaign? Got it, I can shoot that. The pictures seem to me quite good, which is astonishing since so many of them are pictures of the guy's coffee. But he does it so well, and the brown is the right brown, and he's got a whole suite of chromatically related fashion-ish stuff to go with it, that it actually works.

Anyways, I found it interesting because I have never thought of this kind of styling as a tool for a photographic style in my sense, but of course it is. What you shoot is perhaps the most important photographic choice, right? And if you choose to shoot things mainly in a given color palette, well, there you go. This also illustrates the exact opposite of something I said recently -- in many ways Mr. Gumbatron is simply shooting the same old shit, but by managing it as a portfolio under the aegis of a style, he makes it fresh and interesting. At least a little bit.

1 comment:

  1. Photos
    My obsessions define my style.
    It's so difficult for cameras to make colors look right, it takes a lot of post processing on my part, and since I don't have any self discipline I overdramatize everything. I saw that the raw files from 5D's and D800's look right in terms of color, but can't afford them.
    Curious why you said his colors are spot on? I like them, they look like VSCO brown or blue overlays I can't recreate outside of photoshop, but they are not correct to my eyes. Or maybe you meant that they look good.
    Any thoughts on colors, likes dislikes, our cameras (in)ability to capture them, etc?