chantal stone photography: the blog

March 9, 2007

Influence

Filed under: Inspiration,Personal — chantal @ 11:32 am

Winter Light
see larger here

I like the above image, but once I re-sized it I noticed some weird pixelization on the backs of the chairs on the left. I don’t know how to prevent or fix that, so if anyone can offer a suggestion, I’d appreciate it.

Ok, so this is what is on my mind at the moment:

I am on a brief hiatus from visiting other photoblogs. I have a list of about 170 bookmarked, and I try to visit about 20-25 every day. Try. But I’m currently working on some things for an upcoming exhibit, and I feel my head becoming too clouded when I overdose on other people’s work. The exhibit is only going to be a few pieces, among many other artists, but it’s my first real gallery exhibit in nearly 5 years, so it’s uber important to me.

But, being the blog-addict that I am, I still need my daily does of photo-reading, so I still hit up the usual suspects of Photo-Blog goodness: The Online Photographer, The Landscapist, Alec Soth. And my current favorite is Christian Patterson. And as a bonus treat today, Christian put up a link to some great music, I urge you to check out.

Here is my problem: I have somewhat of an obsessive personality. And so far, I’ve been really good about not mimicking the work of photographers whom I become obsessed with. I just can’t, I’m really not that talented. And since I’m working on something that is personally and professionally important, that is why I’m on a no-photo (or low-photo) diet. But I wonder, is it possible to be influenced by someone without ones own work becoming derivative?

Developing my own ‘style’ has been my struggle for an extremely long time now. Others claim they are able to see it, but as of yet, I can’t see a ‘style’ or ‘flavor’ in my own work. I see certain trends, so maybe that’s it. I sent out a sample of some new things to a couple of trusted friends, and one response I received was “this is different from what I’m used to from you”. I took it as a compliment, because different is what I was shooting for (pun intended), but I hope its a good different, not a bad different.

I can’t help but look at the work of other photographers. And I have my Top 10 whom I can’t live without. I consciously try not to imitate what they do. They all have different styles and specialize in different areas of photography, but what attracts me to them is somewhere I see a bit of my own potential in their work. It’s my own lack of confidence that attracts to me to certain photographers.

I guess somewhere I’m thinking that if someone else can make a photograph of an abandoned building, or an unusual formation of grasses work, then perhaps my own urge to shoot a pile of trash on the side of the road will be worth looking at too.

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6 Comments »

  1. “In this age of communication who can be free from influence, preconception? But it all depends upon what one does with this cross-fertilization, since in the end one cannot be influenced except by that which by right of understanding is already one’s own.”

    — Edward Weston, 10-29-1930

    Comment by Cliff — March 9, 2007 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  2. If you resized it int he WORDPRESS or your blogging software of choice interface this will happen. It’s better to resize it with Photoshop or ACDSEE before uploading it.

    Comment by DAVE — March 9, 2007 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

  3. Wow Cliff, thanks, that quote is perfect! And to think Weston said it nearly 80 years ago!! It’s even more applicable now.

    Dave…I resized it in Irfanview, which is the software I normally use to resize…I’ve resized HUNDREDS of images this way and never had the problem. Grrrrrrr!!

    Comment by Chantal — March 9, 2007 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  4. Interesting post, Chantal. Firstly, I’m not so much a believer in ‘talent’, but of work and practice.

    Now, on to the good stuff. 🙂 The word ‘derivative’ seems to be a popular buzz-word in the art industry. It seems to apply when the user of the word doesn’t like something, or really likes something, but wants to see something different, from their point of view.

    I would ask that you find any artist that was not influenced, or inspired by another. I guess that it could be said that all landscape photographers are derivatives of Ansel Adams, in one way or another; however, cross-pollination is good. Ask any bee or horticulturist!

    I, like you, have no idea what my style is. I know my post processing style and perhaps I know a little about my shooting style. I love curvature, so most of my photographs contain it.

    Further, I think that all of your conscious effort to avoid being like someone else is perhaps holding you back from finding who you really are as a photographer. You have to let go. Photograph what interests you, in the way that it interests you. Certainly, you don’t want to purposely copy someone else’s work, but if you see things the same way, then so be it.

    In the end, if you intend to sell some prints, which is what you want to do, you will have to come up with a style that will get you paid. If people want to see piles of trash on the side of the highway as art or social commentary AND they will pay for it, then congratulations, you win! 🙂

    As far as ‘different from what I’m used to from you …’, I would think that would be more choice of subject matter, which is much easier define, but the style, or ‘how’ they portray it, in general, is a bit more difficult to define.

    BTW, this is a lovely picture. It’s like a painting. I get those weird pixels sometimes when I resize to an oddball size like 28.3% of original. Changing the size to a whole number generally works!

    Comment by paul — March 11, 2007 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  5. Ahh Paul…always the voice of reason and common sense!!
    Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment and advice….you’re right. I know I tend to over analyze and generally think too much. ‘Letting go’ is something I have begun to do already, but like everything, it’s a process.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Chantal — March 11, 2007 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  6. Chantal,
    I’ve just finished reading The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer. I’m surprised at how many of the “Masters” of photography have photographed the same subject matter. I’ve come to believe that it isn’t possible to make the “same” photograph without a lot of effort to copy. I think when we photograph with heart and from the heart, we’ll be doing our own work.

    Comment by Billie — March 12, 2007 @ 10:11 am | Reply


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