Should I ever be tempted to adopt this image’s post-processing as a “style”, I’d really have to re-engineer what I’ve done. This was a very experimental 20 layer job, and actually I like it pretty well.
Speaking of “styles”, you know it won’t happen. I always say “style is for the dead”, meaning that the style of an artist is normally ever evolving, and only when we’re dead, posterity can finally shelf us under a certain style.
But maybe we should look deeper and ask what a style is? We often hear processing methods (like what I currently experiment with) called styles. Thus I could speak of my “Orange Tinted B&W Style” or could call what I’ve just done with the image of Villach’s train station a style. Superficially it seems so and many people use “style” in just that way. The viewers do it and many artists do it as well, and interestingly enough, many artists even stick to their “style”. It’s something that I don’t understand and much less desire. For me that is not style but only technique, craft. It’s just like a garment. Some images wear this and some wear that, and it may make sense in its context, but all the time?
And then there is the other form of style that I don’t get: ever recurring content. I remember when in the early days of this blog I had a conversation with Ted Byrne. We talked about blogging and continuity, and I told him of a blog that brought one image of a piece of litter on the street per day. One piece of litter a day, every day, all photographed by the same person. An incredible exercise in perseverance, as at that time, that blog had already over 1000 posts.
Ted was shocked. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like “waste of time” and “what a poor life”. I have no idea if this blog still exists, and I don’t mean to ridicule it, but for me this is just a good example for this second kind of “style”. I simply can’t understand why people do it. For me, it would drain all the fun out of it. What can possibly be interesting in 1000 or 2000 scraps of paper?
So, if my definition of style does not mean ever recurring post-processing methods and does not mean ever recurring content, what the heck does it mean?
Well, I can only talk of myself, but I am quite sure I have a certain style to work with lines, especially lines that go in corners. I also may have a certain characteristic way to feel balance, and these are things that are pretty independent of what combination of filters I currently use, whether I work in B&W or color, or whether I do landscapes or street photography. These things recur, because they are important to me, they are a part of my visual value system. These are things that feel “right” to me.
How do you feel about style? Do my ideas ring true to you? Am I completely wrong? And if so, why?