In advance of my forthcoming review of Peter's new book, I'd like to put forward an idea that I've taken potshots at before. It's that, for most people who really care about photography and have been in it for a while, they have a "home base"—a type, style, or technique of photography that means the most to them.
I encounter this again and again (even among people who keep searching, and can't quite find where home is for them). A few real-life but unnamed examples:
- One friend loves B&W contact prints from large-format negatives, although he also shoots in both 35mm and digital. He has and loves many view cameras.
- One friend, unfortunately recently deceased, loved pictures of teenagers and concentrated on that subject throughout most of his photographic life.
- One famous photographer likes small-sensor digicams with plenty of noise and makes very contrasty, very "grainy" black-and-white prints.
- One friend loves clean color landscapes, often almost abstract. The unpeopled natural world in color is home base for him.
- Another famous photographer has been using the same equipment for decades and takes "found" pictures he encounters on walkabouts.
- One friend-I've-never-met loves a certain camera brand and uses all their cameras, from point-and-shoots to a super-expensive medium-format SLR.
- One photographer is almost completely preoccupied with fashion photography.
- One friend loves multiple images in many forms, from combined images to images presented together in groups as large as 12.
- One friend loves New York city and loves pictures of New York city, and collects books of New York city photographs and photographers.
- Yet another famous photographer used only 35mm B&W and shot 95% of his pictures with a 50mm lens.
And on and on the list could go.
I'll make a few points about this tomorrow but I just wanted to throw this out there so you could think about it. Do you have a "home base"—a kind of photography, or style, or technique, or subject matter that you gravitate toward, or keep coming back to, or love best?
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Steve Jacob: "I'm preoccupied with shooting London. Lucky I guess to live in a place that millions fly half way around the world just to visit."
David Dyer-Bennet: "It might be candid portraits for me; I find that's something I slip into even when it's not appropriate (sports photography, say). I certainly can show you a long history of them. And while I shoot landscapes and some flower macros, that's playing around for me, it's not what ever drove me to photograph."
James Sinks: "The night is home. I really can't add anything to that."
Sal Santamaura: "A shout-out to Oren—undoubtedly the friend referred to in your first bullet. :-) "
Robert: "Surfing. It begins and ends at the beach for me."
Gordon Lewis: "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Mike replies: Well, maybe another example will help. A photographer who likes clear, crisp urban shots, caught on the fly but often looking carefully composed, sometimes accented with a person, often having well-coordinated color, and with strong graphic elements and an awareness of geometry.
Ring any bells at all? Maybe? No?
Julian: "Small-scale landscapes shot on 5x4 is what I keep coming back to. I use digital too but somehow it just isn't the same."
Sean: "It's the city for me. I'm an inner city kid; it's my natural habitat. It doesn't really matter what city I'm in, because the city of my birth (Manchester, England) gives you an attitude that you can't adopt. We're born with it, and I take it to any street I happen to be on, so I never feel like a tourist in a city. A city's noise is my bird song, the smell of its wet pavement and polluted air is sweet to me, and its people are the only wildlife I ever need. Home is where the art is."
Dan Khong: "I am developing a signature style shooting in black and white and square format."