For our next “Find Your Eye” assignment, Kat asks: “What is your shooting style?”
Shooting style is the sum of all the choices you make about your photography. Your choice of equipment, lighting, time of day, location, camera mode, intention – each of these aspects influences your work. So, what makes up my “shooting style”? And how has that style evolved over the past two years?
In photographic circles, I travel ultra-light. It’s just me, my Canon G11, swinging from a wrist strap, and an extra battery. No gear, no lenses, no filters, no tripod, no lights, no reflectors. Simple; lightweight; unobtrusive. For me, it works. In a previous post, I documented the reasons why I decided not to upgrade to a DSLR. Obviously, that decision has had a critical impact on my shooting style.
This decision impacts both the kind of images I can take as well as the quality of the outcome. I understand that to a large extent I am limiting my photographic possibilities by sticking with a point-and-shoot. But at the same time, part of me is thankful for those constraints. For drawing lines around what is technically possible and forcing me to be creative within those restrictions.
In the past, it was photography’s technical demands that kept me away from this art form. What opened up the world of image-making was the option to minimize the technical aspects and concentrate on the creative.
And in the name of full disclosure, I have to admit to a
tiny competitive streak – to prove that I can create arresting and significant images without fancy gear. I’m not sure who I am proving it to but the feeling is there. (I didn’t say I was proud of it.)
And in turn, my choice of subjects reflects my camera choice. Things found on the street, shadows, windows, urban architectural details, textures and abstracts, are chosen partly because the technical constraints of my equipment support these kinds of images.
When photography first entered my life, my camera became my side-kick during my daily walks. The overriding purpose of those walks was exercise; image-making was secondary. I became intimately familiar with my neighborhood and its surrounding streets. My photos from this period are filled with shots of nature and macros of detritus discovered on the street. And for a while, this was enough.
The greatest evolution in my shooting style came on the day when I gave myself permission to go out for the sole purpose of taking photographs. When I realized my camera was no longer the side-kick – it had become the star, the leading lady. That I deserved to allocate time and focused attention to this hobby. That there was a world larger than what was within walking distance of my home.
And this realization, more than my choice of camera, more than my aversion for the technical, is the source of the most significant sea-change in my style. The simple act of giving photography priority in my life changed everything. No longer was driving 20 minutes to the next town a foolish folly; a frivolous waste. No, these forays became inspirational fuel, providing new subjects, new challenges – a style evolution.
I still walk daily for exercise – but those walks occur on the treadmill while catching up with the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Now, when I leave the house, photography is my purpose.
Just me and my camera.
Written for “Find Your Eye: Journey of Inspiration”