Friday, June 5, 2015

It's Yours. Own It.

by Dotti


Have you read the latest David DuChemin book, The Visual Toolbox? I highly recommend it. As usual, everything he says is right on the money. In this particular book, he lays out 60 exercises to help you take stronger photos. I’m really just working through it, lots more to cover but already he has me thinking. Here’s what he says that has been playing through my mind for days now:

What is important now is that you begin to recognize your vision, and own it as yours. You are obligated to no one but yourself to make the photographs you do, so make them your way.

Isn’t that great? Own it as ours, make our photos our way.




There were some excellent comments on my last post and in a couple of Facebook conversations on The Studio|Online page. All of these great comments not only resonated with me, they have been playing through my mind since that post, two weeks ago, telling me that I am not alone in my journey with still life photography (and indeed, photography in general}.

It seems there are others whose vision of still life photography leans more to the ‘simple’ rather than ‘styled’ approach. Many in the group were feeling as I did and just weren’t sure how or where they fit in. Once we realized there were others, we began to talk more freely among ourselves and that’s what motivated me to write today’s post. I think it’s the perfect follow up to my post two weeks ago.



Too often, we let ourselves be influenced by the beautiful work we see others do and too often either try to copy it or compare it to our own work, convinced we don’t measure up. You know what? Either approach is self-defeating and will cause our creative muscles to go limp before we can push the shutter buttons on our cameras.

Seeking inspiration in the work of other photographers is a good way to learn and to improve. But at the end of the day, we have to see and shoot what makes us happy.

Kim Klassen expressed it beautifully in her comment on my recent post:

I think it's so important that we follow our own heart ... do what we love ...
I would never want people to think there's only one way to shoot stills …

And this is true of all kinds of photography. There is no right or wrong. We have to shoot what makes our hearts sing, what brings smiles to our lips, what nourishes our souls.

It comes back to that age old lesson that we’ve all heard since we were children: be true to yourself. Well, the same is true of our art. Let’s start being true to our vision, putting our vision out there and let’s do it with love and joy and pride.




What about you? Have you recognized your vision yet or are you, like me, still looking?

15 comments:

Carol said...

Dotti! These images are just gorgeous! I love the first two especially -really wonderful! As to your post -I agree, of course. I often have to write artist statements when I submit pictures to my local forum. I hate it, and honestly, I don't even enjoy reading them much. However, they make you focus in on just what you're doing and who you are. The statements have to be specific to the series or image you are submitting, but like a resume, they also have to say who you are generally -in just a few short paragraphs. Its interesting to see how they have evolved over time. I'm honing in!

Cathy H. said...

Such very true words that have been running around in my head lately. When you think about it, we wear our hair the way we like, we dress in clothes we like, and we decorate our homes with things we like. Why should it be different in photography? We need to just take photographs the way we like! Dotti, these images are gorgeous! I especially love the hat and the bench shot! Thanks for the lovely reminder to be ourselves..

Susan Licht said...

I so agree with every word here, Dotti and this post could not have been more timely as I just started a course with Kim. I also just recently discovered DuChemin and his entire philosophy on photography in general is a breath of fresh air! Not sure if I have found my style yet as it seems to be constantly evolving. Your still life images are always beautiful and you have a distinct style...when I skim through my Facebook feed, I can always recognize which images are yours. It's obvious to me that you are true to yourself and that your work brings you (and me) much joy!

Susan said...

Dotti, you just don't know how much I needed to hear this! I look at others photos and think to myself "If they saw mine they would crack up laughing"! However, the more photos I take that speak to me, the more happy I am with my results! When I look at them later, it brings back the way it stirred me to begin with! We are all different in the way we see things...thats what makes us and our photos special in our own way! It's Yours. Own it.
I love the topic and your photos are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing a post that I really needed to hear!

Barbara said...

Agree with this whole heartily, I have his book and gone through it with a fine tooth comb. What he has said and done in his book speaks volumes about social media and it's good influence and not so good . While social media is very good it can also be damaging to one's vision getting lost. People are quick to give an opinion on one's work and leave a mark, not always a good one at that without even meaning to. We all have to be true to ourselves. Good post Dotti.

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

I so agree with everything you write here Dotti. we really mustn't put ourselves into a box that doesn't fit... I am still finding my way and am leaning towards the simple and meaningful to me as a person in my life in my part of the world.

Sarah Huizenga said...

So often I take photos that I think I should be taking instead of letting my heart lead the way. I think the more you photograph the more you know the difference. I had it yesterday, wandering, taking shots, cool but nothing special, then I saw it, the old blue warehouse door, and the multi-pane windows near the roof line, that gave me that fluttering feeling inside. I immediately felt and saw the difference. Light will also often cause me to have that feeling. But we have to take those other shots to know and feel the difference.

Jeanne said...

Great book suggestion and your photos are awesome.

kelly said...

every word you said dotti!! i too am a fan of david duchemin's for all the reasons you shared. i love how liberating his approach is in general but especially as it pertains to following one's heart. sometimes that's easier said than done for me. but i love that feeling of when things 'click'...when my head, my heart, and my hands get in sync. what a wonderful, inspired way to go into the weekend dotti! xoxoxoxo

Evelyn Sears said...

I love the photos and DuChemin's philosophy. I've added his book to my Amazon Wish List, where it sits proudly atop 611 items.

gotsetters said...

Dotti, So glad I did not miss this post. It is a great inspirational challenge and your images are gorgeous. My only wish is that I had more time in a day to work on finding my vision for still life. I never thought much about still life until I became involved with Kim's classes a couple of years ago. Only since joining the Studio online did I begin to see all the possibilities of still life photography. So I am slowly beginning to love it. Thanks for sharing your creativity and your reminder to find your vision. Looking forward to more posts.....Sandy

Roxi Hardegree said...

I agree too. Sometimes I find myself saying, "I wish I lived there." When I see others photos, or I wish I had that 'stuff' do I could make my own photo. But I have to rest in me and what's IN me and let THAT come out. 'Styled' photos can require the time I usually don't have. If it doesn't fall into place quickly, it gets abandoned. I'll have to check out that book. I have a few of his.

Diana said...

Always love your posts.

Barbara said...

Dotti, my friend, you are a wise woman. I completely agree with what you said. Years ago, something I was involved with wanted me to discuss my style. Honestly, I couldn't see a style, at least not one that that I could write a paragraph about. I love to try all sorts of things but I have found that when I try to emulate someone else, it is usually uncomfortable and I am not happy with the results. I love the supportive friends I have been blessed to find as we meander around the internet- in classes, websites and instagram. I enjoy all kinds of photography and all kinds of styles. My life is settling down again and I am so happy to start feeling like myself again. When I feel that way, my pictures are more who I am even if they don't seem to fit in a particular style. I am off to order this book. I can't believe I didn't even know it had been released! Thank you!

Marilyn said...

Wonderful post. Thanks so much.

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

 
© Focusing On Life