Len Metcalf has some really interesting ideas about photographic style.
"Style is what we observe in others that we use to group for similarity and for difference. Style in the art world can be seen in how we group artists together and associate them together as art movements. Many art movements share similar ideals, techniques and mediums. They are often bound together in a particular time frame.
"We have these in photography too. We have the Pictorialists, Photo Secession, Group f64, Dusseldorf School, Surrealist Photography and the list goes on. Traditionally, the art historian is the one who labels such artworks and artists together for classification. They are looking for similarities and for differences. It makes their job easier if they can lump art and artists into easily described groups. They are looking for a distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related movements.
"Yet style can be observed in more minute ways. Imagine a group of photographers who are all friends and you know well. They visit a location together and all photograph it. They each pick a handful of their photographs and make small prints. We spread them all out on a table and examine them. When we look at a photograph, we know who took it. We can even start to group photographs together in little piles of who took them, based on assumptions about similarities and differences.
"When we look at each photograph, we get an intuitive sense of who took it. What we are noticing about each photograph and linking it to the photographer is style, its voice and its look. Style is what you can see in the work of others. It is like answering the phone and before the person calling you can say their name, you recognise them. We have so many clues, like tone, intonation, attitude, words, cadence etc. Each a clue that tells us who it is.
So, how do you develop your style? Read more of Len's thoughts in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 105). Click on the link below to subscribe - plus you get immediate access to 50 back issues full of informative material and inspirational ideas! Use coupon codeBP40to get 40% off - just $29.80 for an annual subscription.
Me, My Camera and Our Pandemic - Reader Project (3)
Pandemic Photograph by Ken Spence
Better Photography contributor Ken Spence had a great idea - why not get our readers involved in a little pandemic project?
Writes Ken, "No matter where you live, this pandemic has been a shared experience of isolation. There are the extremes – Melbourne’s lock down total of 250+ days and counting being at one end of the spectrum, with Western Australia’s isolation from the rest of the country at the other.
"More broadly, as Australians we have all shared the common experience of isolation through the ban on international travel. This has changed what we can do and what we can photograph. For the many photographers who define their preferred genre of photography as “travel”, pity about that."
However, as Ken suggests, limitations can be a fuel for creativity, so we have cooked up the idea of providing a stage for Better Photography Magazine subscribers to share their creativity in the context of the pandemic with a larger audience. This may well involve aspects of isolation, but not necessarily.
"See this as an opportunity to document and share your personal experiences of this worldwide catastrophe. Our State and Federal leaders assure us that we will be on the other side in a few months and so we are calling for your contributions before the end of November 2021. Then in our Autumn 2022 edition, we will publish a selection under the heading “Me, My Camera and Our Pandemic” , plus release a web gallery of 100 contributed images."
We are very excited to see what our creative subscribers will share with us - and Ken has started the ball rolling with the photo at the beginning of this post. We know that this will result in a very powerful article that will provide a historic reference to this unique time in all our lives.
So, how do you contribute?
Step 1: Prepare a photo for submission. The subject is up to you. It might be something you edited from a trip taken years ago, or something you photographed around the home - that's up to you. However, the size you send to us should measure no more than 3000 pixels on the longest edge and be saved as a JPG at a moderate setting (e.g. setting 8 or 80%). Name your photo with your own name and a number (so we know whose photo it is): e.g. PeterEastway-01.jpg. If you send more than one, give the next one a higher number (PeterEastway-02.jpg)!
Step 2: Write a caption of no more than 50 words. You can start the caption with the title of the photo if you like. You can write a few words of poetry, you can explain what the subject is, how you photographed it, or relate something of interest you experienced during the pandemic. But no more than 50 words!!!
Step 3: Send the photo and a caption in an email with the heading - Pandemic Project - <Your Name> - Photo 1 (or 2, 3 etc). Use a separate email for each photo you submit. Insert the caption into the body of the email (do not attach a separate file). Insert the photo as an attachment, not in the body of the email (Mac users beware).
That's it! You have until the end of November to respond, but you can start sending in your photos whenever you like.
Peter EastwayFAIPP HonFAIPP HonFNZIPP APPL GMPhotogII MNZIPP Editor and Publisher
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