Narrowing my artistic scope

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by epp_b, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lately, I've been trying to narrow down the scope of what I shoot so that I can focus on excelling in a few areas instead of being just "OK" in many areas.

    What I've come up with are three lists:

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    1. Photography of things that have always interested me anyway
    - Concerts (music is in my blood)
    - Cars (mostly their aesthetics and design)
    - General Artistic / Abstract
    - Dogs

    These are just things that have interested me long before I got into photography. I kind of buy into the theory that you shoot best what you know.

    2. Photography of things in which I don't necessarily have an inherent interest, but which I do like to shoot anyway
    - Landscape / Nature
    - Architecture

    Here's what I'm having the most trouble with: I love landscapes, perhaps more than anything else, and I think I'm pretty good at it. The funny thing is, I'm very much a "homebody"; I don't like traveling, which is something that is becoming more and more obvious to me as a requisite for good landscape photography. Probably 90% (maybe more) of my landscape shooting occurs within a two mile radius of where I live and, after two years, I feel like I am completely out of opportunities in this place. I should also explain that I live in the flat prairies; everything's pretty much the same for mile upon mile (you could watch your dog run away for a 3 days and all that)

    I love using lines, shapes and especially symmetry in architecture photography. But, again, there are few, if any, real opportunities nearby.

    3. Photography I really don't want to do
    - Portraits
    - Weddings and the like

    I think it's pretty obvious what I mean by this. I'm socially underdeveloped and just not a personable guy. Too many years spent sick at home as a child, not enough human interaction and so on.

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    So, what do you think? Is it possible to be exceptional in many areas or does you think one needs to select a narrower scope of subjects?
     
  2. white

    white TPF Noob!

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    Shoot what you like otherwise you'll burn out.
     
  3. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can you elaborate on that and be more specific?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    How about this?
    -Concerts-photograph only sold-out concerts
    -Cars--shoot only Chevrolets
    - General Artistic / Abstract--Lieutenant Colonel Kitsch/Realism
    - Dogs--photograph only LARGE dogs

    Segment,compartmentalize,specialize. YMMV.
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow, that's... pretty specific
     
  6. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    I think what he means is that shoot what you love to shot and what you love to look at because if you don't then you will get tired of shooting what you don't enjoy and will stop shooting all together.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hmm bet you get some interesting weather from time to time out where you are - might be that once you've drained the land of your creativity you could try angling up a little and shoot the sky - that at least is ever changing (unless you only ever get pure blur/grey skies ;)).
    That at least gets you something new and that can be testing whilst not necessarily forcing yourself to travel further. You could even try setting up at night (if you are out in a very rural area) and doing starscapes and astro photography - you don't need a telescope and your landscape skills and gear can again come in and combine with this.

    Taking landscape one stage further (especially as you say you like lines and stuff) get yourself a set of extension tubes or a dedicated macro lens and start taking a look at macro landscapes. Masses of opportunity here for shapes and lines as well as not just wild landscapes that you find in your surroundings, but also the option to create your own constructed scenes
     
  8. bentcountershaft

    bentcountershaft Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, but I would think it takes a lot of time. Your examples in number 1 seem easy enough as goals but number 2, as you mentioned, is where the problem lies. You'll either have to get over being a home body and do some traveling or you'll have to change where your home is and be a home body in a more interesting area.
     
  9. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, trust me, I'm a huge sky photographer. I check the forecast and weather radar several times a day. But, I do it to involve the sky in my landscapes; I don't want pictures of just sky as that get old, quickly.
     
  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  11. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Let’s see – favorites are: Concerts, Cars, Abstract, Dogs, next on list are: Landscape/Nature, architecture and constraints are: Likes to be close to home…

    Here are some story suggestions:
    1) Genesis of a concert (empty venue, prep, soundcheck/rehersal, the concert, aftermath)
    2) Snapshots of a musician giving the concert (the travel, getting ready, getting into the mood, the concert, wind-down, moving on)
    3) Slice of life of a concert goer
    4) Perspectives of a roadie working a concert
    5) Cars and their owners (motivation of the owners as expressed through their cars)
    6) Working a car show (new, vintage, hobby, you-name-it)
    7) Dogs and their masters,
    8) Working dogs
    9) A day in the life of a dog…
    10) Landscapes (changes of seasons, effect of economy, flatlands and the things that live there, flatlands and the people who live there…)
    Etc.

    If you conceive of a series of photos, they can be organized as flowing on a time axis, or as relationships, or as metaphors for life stories. If you sketch out some scenarios, you’ll find new opportunities to create images you may not have thought of before. Not saying you need a script and slavish adherence to same, but by working though prospective scenarios, you can come up with interesting sequences that could be the basis of a photo journal or documentary.

    And to answer your question - I think you need to be able to tell a story that others want to follow. Commercially, most publications want a human-interest story that pulls their reader/viewer in. Even if you're doing it only for yourself, it can be a real thrill to see a sequence that follows a narrative that you can recall.

    As for being "socially underdeveloped", well the camera can be a gateway to make that aspect less and less important. If you want to be the most popular guy around (said my wise mother), just keep asking questions and express genuine interest in the other person - and next thing you know, you'll be the most amazing conversationalist anyone ever met. ;)
     

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