363 – Have I Got Style?

Mike Johnston over at The Online Photographer has written two interesting articles (here and here) about photographic style, especially in a digital age. I have commented on the second, basically saying that a distinct style may be helpful for being commercially successful, but that this is mostly due to the fact that art buyers buy art just like they buy soft drinks: they buy brands. In the art market style and brand could be used almost interchangeably.

On the other hand, for the artist, adhering to a strict style for the rest of one’s career basically means petrification. It is certainly prudent from an accountant’s point of view (why taking risks once you have found something that sells?), but this kind of art is not art any more. It is reproduction, without joy and passion, it becomes a job. In other words: Style is for the dead.

This image is made in the style of another Image of the Day, “153 – Passage“. Sigma 30/1.4 at f8, shot yesterday morning, post-processed in Photoshop using two versions from RAW with different color temperatures.

The Song of the Day is “Style” from De-Phazz’s 2002 album “Daily Lama“. Hear a sound sample here.

3 thoughts on “363 – Have I Got Style?”

  1. It may be that style in this modern age (plastic is so flexible, you know) has become more elusive than it was in the past. Harder to pin down with all the choices available, etc….

    Still, I believe its out there. I like to think that I can see it in the works of many photographers that I admire. Your’s and Teds, for instance, and pnf’s. Identifying ones own style may not be as simple a matter as it once was, but like it or not we are all individuals with preferences that are often difficult mask.

  2. Sorry, but I completely disagree. Style is for the dead? Nah…

    Maybe it depends on how one defines “style”. Just take your photographs – I would be able to pick them out from Flickr with my eyes closed (well, kind of… 😉 Simply, because you have style.

    In fact, I would actually argue the other way around: there are far too many people who don’t have a style – which translates to me more to “personality” or “character” than anything else (talking photographically). As such, “style” of course changes over time, with the seasons, mood, etc. But there is something that stays… And I like that.

  3. Probably you guys are right and I am wrong, at least taken literally. Preferences is a good word, you know?

    Probably it simply does not matter. Style is for the others to detect. Style is a matter of choice, but it is not my choice as artist, it is your choice as viewer.

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