Nieztsche talks about the “grand style” in art and aesthetics. I’m not quite sure what that is, but I know the notion of style is very important to me. Why?
Style as a stamp of you.
How to discover your style
Experimentation. To keep trying out new approaches, new compositions, new aesthetics, until you’ve discovered an approach or technique which brings you joy and satisfaction.
You are unique
The irony in America: ever since we were kids, we were indoctrinated with this notion that we are special. That we are unique. However as we get older, the disenchanted intellectuals say no you are not special or unique. in fact, if you’re educated, you’re not allowed to say you’re unique or different.
But to this notion I say nay. That is, you are indeed unique. Even from a physics perspective or a biological perspective, consider there is nobody else on planet earth with the same genetic make up and unique life combination of yours.
Discovering your own taste
I personally love to eat fatty Lamb. I never knew that I like to eat lamb until I tried it. In America and also in Korea, eating lamb is uncommon. Whereas in Mediterranean areas, lamb is considered one of the highest and most choicest meats.
So the first thought is you must experiment and try and taste lots of different things, to know whether your palate likes it or not.
Style as your soul imprint
What do you find interesting and beautiful is the reflection of you and your soul. Therefore, your style as a photographer is a reflection of what you consider beautiful in the world.
Can you tell who is who?
Don’t try to become any other photographer. For example, it is good to be inspired by other photographers, but the goal isn’t to become them. The goal is to become yourself.
Your style is evolving
I like the notion that your style evolves and advances, piecemeal, slowly but surely. It is a gradual process, and technically your style is always in flux, and in the stream of becoming.
This means that your style today will subtly be different than your style tomorrow, and what it was in the past. your style in photography is a kaizen approach: gradually changing 1% every single day.
Your life and lifestyle is constantly in flux
There is not one ultimate a final end to lifestyle. Rather, it is always in flux. For example, certainly my nomadic living with Cindy before we had a child is very different than after we had a child. and actually in fact, I prefer my life after Seneca. Then the question is how can I continue to evolve my photographic style with Seneca.
Sticking consistent with one camera one lens, and one JPEG style
A simple and practical tip: stick with one camera and one lens and one JPEG post processing style for at least a year. By keeping this one variable consistent, you can let your style condense and solidify. for example, Ricoh GR 3 with JPEG high contrast mono chrome setting.
Style towards what end?
Our life blood as photographers is to create the new. To create new photos is essentially innovation. Every time you make a new photo, you innovate a new photo.
Therefore my practical thought is this: the less you could think about your style, the better. Then it will allow you to just focus on making new photos.