After poking around a little more, I still haven’t been able to find other photographers who talk much about the process of “rediscovering” themselves or looking at their art in a new way…
Is this because it’s so personal? Because people aren’t willing to put themselves out there as someone who doesn’t have it all perfect? That they aren’t interested in failing in the public eye?
I’m not sure.
For me, this process is new. When you’re doing portraits, you’re trying to do it for others, for your client. This is exactly what portrait photography requires.
But sometimes it’s hard to include yourself once your style is “set”. For me, while I feel there is always room to do new things even with portrait photography. But the idea of trying new things while still trying to include and please my clients feels daunting.
Experimenting on my own while continuing my portraits feels more freeing for me.
Let go of something old to allow something new to take its place.
After looking at barriers, I realized all this – that “I’m a portrait photographer with a certain style and experimenting shouldn’t be done”. That was my thought!
I had also been holding on to a LOT of old (3-8 years old) fine art work that no longer suited me for a variety of reasons. So I let it go. I gave it away.
Not because I didn’t like it, but rather so I could make room for something new. I wasn’t sure what would happen. I was just trusting that wherever that voice was coming from, it was correct….
And I did bring in new ideas and new inspiration within days of this happening! It felt SO freeing.
Suddenly, my resistance to putting my work in a gallery fell away. I felt I needed to be “somewhere” with my work and that it had to be completely cohesive into order for that to happen. But you know what? That’s just silly!
And after talking to a few other artist friends, I realized that it was just my brain trying to mess with me.
So far, I’ve contacted 3 galleries and plan to chat with a few more early next week (another barrier coming down!). We will see what happens after that!
In the meantime, here are some of my experiments with a few thoughts below each.
With all of these images, I sat and thought about what it was that I liked about each. What could I pare down and convey better to someone looking at them. Much of what I shoot is about color, shape, lines….
These photos happen to be color photos, but often, I choose black and white because of these things. So trying to keep the color and still create the feel I was wanting was a really fun experiment – one that I want to work with more!
And as I played around with the Green Door, I had to think about what it was that was important to me with the image. When I finished and feel in love with my first image, I found that one of the details I loved – the chicken wire around the outside of the door – was very visible, but the image looked too close to a photograph. More factual, less representational.
And then I stumbled across another image I almost got rid of and tinkered with that one. And I found that the things that were important – the detail around the door, the color of the roof, the snow in front – disappeared and created a much more interesting image for me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Finally, with this photo, I was trying to get rid of some of the detail while still retaining the optical illusion of an eye. It’s hard to see this small (the editing I did, that is), but if you click on it, you can see that I’ve tried to keep you from seeing all the small detail, to bring you back to looking at the overall image and the shapes created by the dead and beautifully alive trees.
Do you experiment with your photography? How?
I have in the past, but it’s been from a far more technical perspective. I am pretty surprised at how much I’m enjoying this process. I wasn’t really expecting that!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!