Climbing the Mountain – Thoughts on Finding Photographic Style

by davidbrommer

Rancho Los Cruces, Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. Sony RX10

Rancho Los Cruces, Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. Sony RX10

The Mountain. No, I’m not talking about a character form a George Martin novel or a Janes Addiction song. I’m talking about a vast project and desire to create something amazing. The Mountain is all the work ahead of you, all the plans, the complications, the raw effort. The Mountain soars in front of you, its height is dizzying and when you are in the shadow of the mountain the temptation to do nothing, to not try to move forward freezes you. Letting the mountain daunt you will be the equivalent of rolling over and going back to sleep, thus condemning you work to photographic mediocrity. But you are stronger; you will climb the mountain and figure out how to let your photographic voice soar in an orgy of style that will define your photography!

Adapting to the brutal winter of 2014 in NYC. Fujifilm Xpro1 18 mm f2.0

Adapting to the brutal winter of 2014 in NYC. Fujifilm Xpro1 18 mm f2.0

The way to go over the mountain of work ahead of you is actually quite easy. Take one step at a time and keep moving. I would now like to introduce you to something everyone one of us has in their pocket, The Goal Compass. Every great person who achieves something wonderful sets their goal compass and moves in that direction with little deviation. This doesn’t just apply to photographers, imagine Christopher Columbus and the mountain he had to climb to discover the new world. He needed ships, he needed sailors, he had to break a history of convention that stated what he wanted to do was impossible. The planning took over a decade, but he stayed the course and made his spot in history. He could not be deterred and every movement he made was aimed towards his goal. We are not explorers seeking the New World, we are photographers, and fortunately our goals are easier than Columbus.

However the Mountain does stand before us and it can be daunting. By setting the goal compass on plateaus to traverse you will be amazed at the creative ground you will cover. Here is style deconstructed and that which reveals a simple formula  serving as a map to travel over the mountain in the most expedient way.

  1. Master the camera and lens you are utilizing. Use a specific technique to create the image and perform specific post process treatments.

  2. Find subject manner you want to explore deeper. This is idea made reality in the camera viewfinder.

  3. Create a body of work around the subject and place by using the same camera and techniques.

The Euclidean triangle that is the base to developing photographic style. At what point on the triangle are you?

Note: This is an exert from my upcoming book on Finding and Developing Photographic Style. Want to learn more? Come to Brommer’s Style and Composition in NYC Workshop in April.

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