It’s interesting how someone can pinpoint characteristics in your style that you, yourself, might not consciously think about. In a recent featured work article, I wrote about a recent meeting in which the design director referred to a photograph as one of my “signature images.” I’ve noticed that these impromptu comments often have a great impact on my understanding of the designer’s vision because they cause a fundamental shift in my perception of the project we’re discussing.

I welcome these moments because they allow me to interpret the designer’s artistic intent and showcase his or her creative vision more effectively, which really makes the photographs I create more meaningful and valuable. Interestingly, this time, the deeper insight I was granted was in regards to my own creative vision.

As I pondered the reasons behind this newfound insight, I began reevaluating my approach to photographing architecture and design, and I believe these observations will have a positive and lasting impact on my career. I’ve even added a section for signature images to my website. It’s filled with the images I have most enjoyed creating.

During this reevaluation, I reviewed my image archives, going all the way back to the beginning of my career as an architectural photographer. It was fun dusting off the old light table to review all my 4x5 transparencies. I learned a lot about how my artistic vision has evolved and how I have grown as a photographer. I realized that I’ve been creating my “signature images,” in one form or another, throughout my career. I wrote a blog post about how my style has evolved that you can read here.

Characteristics of My Signature Style

In reviewing my earliest photographs, I discovered this image, which I created in May 1993 for a speculative home builder. This is the first image I created that incorporated all the elements that go into one of my signature images: minimalist styling, compelling geometry, one-point perspective, and a strong line drawing the viewer’s attention deep within the image.

I’m still deeply satisfied with this photograph and feel I did an excellent job of creating a memorable image that demands the attention of the viewer.

1993 My first "Signature Image"

1993 My first "Signature Image"

While the lighting was overdone, I was simply using too much supplemental light and not allowing the ambient light to create atmosphere, but I shot this in the early months of my second year in business. I still had a lot to learn. However, my client and I were extremely pleased with the result, and we both proudly used it for our marketing and promotional efforts.

Hindsight

If I were to reshoot this image today, I would be much more subtle with the lighting so as to capture the imagination of the viewer and create more romance, but I doubt I would change the basic composition. It’s a strong image that I am still proud to put my name on.