Allow your style to constantly change, but be firm in your artistic vision:
What do you want to to say through your photos?
For style in street photography, I say:
Allow your aesthetic style to change, but generally speaking– you will be attracted to similar subject matter.
For example something I’m always fascinated in (both in photography and real life) are issues of class, money, and happiness.
In my SUITS book, I was exploring visually:
Is money the secret to happiness?
I discovered through my life experiences, the answer is no.
What drives you?
Why do we photograph strangers? Why do we photograph on the streets and public spaces?
- You love the chaos of the streets: You hate regularity and sameness.
- You love people, and are drawn to other people. You love humanity.
- You get an adrenaline rush when you’re shooting in the streets. Physiologically speaking, you are the most vigorous when you’re walking and shooting on the streets.
There are probably lots of reasons you love to shoot on the streets or out in public, but I think these traits are what bind us as street photographers.
Why discover your unique voice?
No such thing as a good or bad voice; there’s only your voice!
So for me, it is a matter of loving your own voice, and not desiring for your voice to sound like anyone else’s!
Applied to photography:
Don’t desire to emulate any other photographer.
Don’t think the photos of other photographers are “better” than yours. Dictate for yourself that your own style in photography is yours and great.
The benefit of discovering what your voice is that you learn to fall in love with your own photos. You discover more delight in your own images. And your own personal delight in your own photos will inspire/motivate you to keep shooting new photos!
Follow your own personality
If you’re more extroverted in street photography and life, shoot that way! If you’re more shy, just shoot according to whatever accords to you (shoot more stealth).
It is always interesting to see how other street photographers shoot, but now I’m no longer interested in emulating the approach of any other street photographer. I only want to approach photography from my own value system.
I don’t define success in photography the way the “art world” does. My own personal creative productivity is the only essential thing.
- Never stop shooting and making new photos.
- Recognize your aesthetic style is constantly in a state of flux. Delight in this neverending change.
- Listen to your gut: Keep shooting whatever interests you, even though others might think your photos aren’t interesting.
- Don’t strive to make photos that please others. Only strive to make photos that please yourself.
- Let your dissatisfaction in photography and your creative life motivate you to keep creating!
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