My upcoming class workbook titled “Creative Landscape Photography” is taking shape nicely and due for release later this month. This will be the first volume in a series of instructional texts for advanced landscape photographers. More than just a collection of images, this 80+ page workbook will walk you through the creative process, from initial concept to the final image, with emphasis on composition, visualization, and capture. Watch these pages for the formal announcement in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, here’s a short teaser from the current draft:
To many advanced photographers, finding and developing a distinct and recognizable personal style is the pinnacle of creative expression. Many, however, fall into the trap of placing more emphasis on a recognizable style rather than a personal one.
A personal style is one that represents the unique and subjective sensibilities of the artist. It seems many spend their time in vain in pursuit of a style rather than realizing the one already within them. By virtue of us all being unique and complex beings, a simple reflection of the self in one’s work is really all it takes to have a personal style. Likewise, the more interesting, adventurous, knowledgeable, and open an individual is, the more distinct their style will be.
Therefore, rather than trying to force a contrived style onto your work, the better approach is to simply pare away the instinctive desire to conform and, instead, to allow your inner voice to guide your work. Embrace who you are as an individual, and your work will be as unique, as interesting, and as recognizable as you are.
The most important thing your work will communicate to the world is not that you happened to be in a certain place at a certain time to see certain things. Rather, it is the way these things impacted you, how they made you feel and how they shaped your perception of them, of the moment, and of yourself. Be grateful for the gifts you are given and repay your gratitude in what you share.
For your work to be meaningful, make a conscious effort to rise above cynicism, pettiness, and temporary discomfort. These will all be long forgotten as the beauty and power of your creative efforts continue to persist for as long as there are eyes to see them. Be yourself, and your personal style will follow.