Finding Your Photographic Voice

May 22, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

     This past week I had the privilege of taking a daylong seminar from Huntington Witherill, the accomplished fine art photographer who studied with the greats, including Ansel Adams, and established his own wonderful record of accomplishment.

     The seminar was to offer information on how photographers can establish a market presence.  But the area of discussion that impressed me most was a discussion of the importance of finding one's own photographic voice.  This is something to which every photographer, and indeed, every artist, can easily relate.

     Witherill explained that we often begin by copying famous styles, to gain a foundation of technical and aesthetic expertise, and from there we move on to discover and explore an individual vision.  This process must happen for every artist, for there are as many unique visions as there are individuals. It is that voyage of discovery that is actually the most exciting part of exploring the artistic experience.

     People often ask me to tell them what type of photographer I am.  I am still discovering that mystery.  I explained to a man seated near me that I enjoy photographing golf courses and scenes among other subjects. He showed me his work - wonderful artistic images of iPhone images he had taken in traffic and then enlarged and manipulated using a variety of software programs in innovative ways. The results were beautiful.  And the two of us couldn't be more different than Edward Weston and Cindy Sherman.

     I've also spent some time this week exploring the FaceBook pages and websites of a number of women photographers from around the globe. It's a fascinating and enlightening exercise to take a look at the work of these talented individuals, and it is exceptionally helpful in understanding how a photographic voice unfolds.

     Of course, there are often extraneous circumstances. It is the blessing and curse of many successful photographers to develop great commercial viability in an arena, be it weddings, portraits or news photography, that may not be the most personally rewarding.  Photographers all yearn for the opportunity to create images that are artistically and emotionally satisfying.  And what exactly does that mean?

     I am still uncovering that mystery. This week was also the occasion of the rare annular eclipse.  I did not have the equipment to photograph it, and I knew that wonderful photographs would abound, so I wasn't too disappointed.  But it also occurred to me that there might be other opportunities. And the photograph below was the result - an unusual and intriguing play of light in my very own bathroom, at the height of the eclipse. Something about it captured my attention, and I ran for the camera.

     And so the voyage of discovery continues.Shades of an Eclipse


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