I often admire the work of other photographers. I'm always having a browse or spotting something interesting on Facebook or Pinterest. Many of them have a very consistent style and subject, as is the case with many newborn photographers especially. This has made me wonder if perhaps I'm not developing as a portrait artist as well as I could be. We are taught early on within the realms of the photography world that we are to develop a distinct style and this of course must be clearly evident in any upper level qualifications panels we choose to submit.
However, when I look at my own work over each passing year I fail to see the same consistency. I don't have a particular subject in which I specialise. I can photograph anything from newborns to teenagers, toddlers to families and even the occasional male nude. How can you put these together in an album and form a beautiful collection that I see many other photographers displaying so well.
But then it occurred to me. I am a portrait artist. I specialise in portraits. It is down to me to see a subject, whether that be babies, families or adults, and create a portrait that brings them to life in a 2 dimensional medium using the tools of a photographer and graphic artist. I also want to give my clients choices when it comes to their portraits so they have even more reason to choose me as their portrait photographer and more chance that they will also return for something different in future.
I don't want the sameness of a single subject matter using a style that varies only slightly from shoot to shoot. That's just not me, although no offense is meant to those who wish to work that way. As I just said, I often admire their work and I do love to see a collection of images that clearly belong together. For me however, I want to offer and create unique pieces as often as possible, but with hopefully an overlying element that says 'that's a Christina Lauder portrait'.
One of the many things I love most about owning my own business is the variety it offers on so many levels. I thrive on that. Otherwise I get bored. Every day of the week can be different. Even every hour within every day offers me variety, from web design, to Facebook correspondence, editing to photography and planning to blogging. I'm rarely ever bored.
I am now resolved to the fact that this is me. I am a portrait artist and variety is part of that. So don't expect to see an album on my Facebook page that looks as though it belongs as a collection. Each individual session may have that consistency and certainly could form a personal album for that client. But my entire year certainly will not.
I am a portrait artist and these are some of my favourite images from 2013, full of the variety that is the spice of my life.
Happy New Year Everyone!
I look forward to sharing with you whatever 2014 may bring!