A Note On "Style"

Style. Its something that is valued highly by artists. People spend years, decades even, perfecting their unique creative style. In photography, it may be how you compose your photographs, it could be the subject matter of your images, or it may just be the color scheme you apply to your photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom. 

I photograph what might fall into the genre of "documentary" photographs. But that being said, my subjects, while they are most often photographed for a project of some kind, are wide ranged and extremely varied. Because of this, in the past I have been very preoccupied by trying to discover some sort of distinct style within myself. In this endeavor, my efforts have bordered on obsession, and even my photographs themselves have suffered because of it at times. Why I did this, i honestly can't fully explain. I know It was sparked by a professor that remarked on several occasions that my photographs lacked coherence and direction, but beyond that I don't know. Maybe it was some kind of creative boredom, or perhaps it was insecurity in the validity of my work. What I do know is that it has always been an unseen undertone of my creative process. 

The thing is, the more I look at my own work, the more I realize that the whole idea of "finding your style" is nonsense. Looking back at my own work, I can see a clear style within each phase of my work, as well as a widespread look that my images have had almost since I started taking photographs. While it is true that you can make a conscious decision to imprint a desired look to your photographs, when it comes to finding your own style, only time will tell what that may be. The more I think about it, the more I am of the mindset that if you don't have a style already, you just haven't taken enough photographs to find it.