I have spent a lot of time the past few weeks thinking about the future direction of my photography. If you have heard me speak about my photography before, you will have heard me talk about how I have, and still do, struggle to define the style of my work, and the genre in which I best fit.
There are two polar opposites, and potentially conflicting styles of work at play, and a third that is just starting to be thrown into the mix!
1) Abstract Seascape photography, made using Intentional Camera Movement. This is my best known, and most popular work. I have two major bodies of ICM work, with projects shot in Cornwall (Fathom) and the Isle of Wight (Leviathans).
I have an undeniable love for the Coast, and for making seascape images, but being in Surrey, and with a busy work and family life schedule, it is becoming clear to me that if I want to be creating new work regularly, this is not a viable option for me going forward.
I will never stop making these images, as my connection to them is too strong, but visiting the coast may well be reserved for holidays or other special occasions.
2) Abstract photography made on the street. I have been careful not to classify this work as "Street Photography", as I know in the eyes of many it would not be valid. "Soho Nights" is a series of multiple exposure images made on the streets of London.
Now that we are out of lockdown, I can get into London in 30 minutes, so there is really no excuse for not pursuing this type of image, apart from one thing.... I have lost all my confidence in shooting in a busy, urban environment. I always feel when shooting in London that all eyes are on you the minute that a camera comes out of your bag, and when you are self conscious, then you certainly will not be creating your best work.
However, I have a great love for street photography, and this is one of the fears I hope to conquer over the next few months, and to get back into London and start to enjoy making images there again.
I have always managed to tie the images made by the Coast and in London together by defining myself as an "Abstract" photographer. I would now even go one step further and call myself a "Colour Abstract Photographer".
It is clear that colour and abstraction play vital roles in the images I enjoy to make, and I often say that IK am far more intrigued by the things that are out of focus in an image!
3) Now here is the spanner in the works. I have begun to discover that I really, really enjoy consuming and making more conventional images. I don't know how to classify these images, so I am going to call them "Documentary Landscape".
I have an ongoing project in Dungeness, and I have also started to force myself to make images closer to home, in a currently untitled project based on the River Thames. Until today, I had never shared this work on Instagram, as I knew it would never be as popular as my other styles of image.
But I am going to try my hardest not to become a slave to the algorithm of social media, and to publish work that I like, but that others may not. This is not going to be an easy thing to accomplish, but I believe it is vital if I am to improve as a photographer.
So there we have three types of images that I enjoy making. I still find myself asking the question - Is this ok? But won't my feed be so inconsistent? Will I lose followers? Is one type of image better then the other? Have I already peaked with my Fathom work?
Most people would probably say, "You are way overthinking this" and I imagine they are probably right. There is just always something in the back of my head telling me that I am not as good as other photographers because I don't have a "speciality", but find myself to be more of a jack of all trades, and master of none!
Just getting these thoughts down onto a blog has been therapeutic though. I would love to hear your own thoughts about how you classify your own work, and if any of the points raised in this piece resonate!