I recently posted a Featured Work article about how a design director I met opened my eyes to my “signature” image style. Reflecting upon that comment, I decided to revisit my archives and realized that my signature style has been with me for many years. The surprise of this revelation inspired me to write a blog entry about how this has evolved over time. You can read that article here.
While journeying through my photographic history, I came across the very first image I ever enlarged. I took this photograph way back in 1987 while I was traveling around shooting baby portraits for Kmart, which was my first job as a photographer.
I was pleased to see that at least one element of my signature style, the strong line leading from outside the frame deep into the image, drawing attention to the critical element of the headlights on the approaching car, was expressed in an image from such an early time in my career. When I created this, I had barely begun reading The Joy of Photography and had no intellectual knowledge about composition, line, or visual motion, but I did have an intuitive sense of what was needed to create a dynamic image. The execution here is crude, but the foundations of my style are there, and my creative vision is being expressed well.
I’ve come a long way since then. My technique and execution have improved dramatically and give me the ability to realize my vision much more effectively. This image titled, “Along the road to Avalon,” taken in 2009, shows a very sophisticated use of line, drawing the viewer’s attention inward. The use of diagonals creates tremendous energy, and the choice of subject matter, along with romantic light, create an appealing narrative that elicits an emotional response to the image, especially when the title’s reference to the Arthurian legend is considered.
It’s fun looking back. I’m learning a lot about my growth as an artist and photographer and am feeling much more confident about my creative vision. I’ve gained a deeper insight into my work and have a better understanding of what I am doing and why I am doing it whenever I practice my true love – photographing architecture and design. As this retrospective comes to an end, I look forward to continuing down this less traveled road by focusing on the artistry and emotive aspects of the images I create.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.