I’ve been doing a great deal of reflection of late. Sifting through my collection of images created over the years, searching for unifying themes and visions. Asking myself what, if anything, defines my body of work? Have I created a recognizable style, voice, and message?
This long overdue self-assessment began with the booking of my first photography show, which opens December 2nd. The task of deciding which images to show was admittedly a bit overwhelming. While I’ve been sharing my work online for sometime now, there is a level of anonymity to posting images on sites like Flickr that feels safe. Little thought was being given to how each image I uploaded reflected on my overall body of work. It wasn’t until I was tasked with producing tangible evidence of my work, that I stepped back and attempted to define myself a photographer.
What I realized was I’d already started the process of building a recognizable body of work. Over the past year or so, I’ve transitioned from simply photographing everything around me, to taking a slower, selective approach to making photographs. Ideas are formulated well before film is even loaded into the camera, guiding me as I set out to create these concepts. Movement, is an example of something I actively attempt to capture in still photographs. Blurred flurries of activity set against an an otherwise stationary landscape. Perhaps its a crowd of people navigating about a city, the artful hand of the ocean shaping the shoreline, or how the wind makes the trees dance.
Developing a voice as a photographer doesn’t happen over night of course. In fact quite often its a lifelong quest, filled with periods of success and stretches of doubt and uncertainty. Many of the concepts I wish to depict in my work, have yet to materialize either because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet, or I’ve simply failed in my attempts. But that’s OK, because each instance builds upon the last until finally a successful photograph is created. A body of work is about more than a collection of images, its about the journey taken to create them. Even though your viewing audience only sees the finished product, not the effort behind it, that doesn’t make it any less important. Realizing this, and learning to take pride in my photographic process has helped immensely in my ability to continue to grow and develop my craft.