Somewhere To Start
I struggle to start trying to define what my photography is. Over the years I had defined myself as a street photographer. As someone who literally would walk the streets and take photos of every day life. But beyond that, my photography had very little meaning.
I recently read an article on Reddit that talked about the difference between street photography and photojournalism. It went on to talk about how street photography was not something that appealed to the reader because it carried no sense of story or context within the photo. There was no message. A comment by another reader explained that one should not mix the two genres. That street photography is more of an art form where the story isn't always as obvious and that photojournalism is aimed at a specific story where the photo must convey the message much more clearly. I feel like I'm at a crossroads in my photographic journey.
In one sense, I want to continue with my street photography, but I also want to avoid the cliches. An old article I read in PetaPixel talked about all the juxtapositions that street photographers use (or rather overuse) and I really don't want to contribute to the useless noise. Also, there are so many street photography images out there that are the same. Over and over again, these images are merely copies of a copy of another copy. There's just no originality to a lot of it (see Instagram). I get it, it's not easy to be original, but there's not even an effort being made. Quite honestly, I'm just as guilty as the next person.
In the other corner, I still enjoy creating the "pretty pictures". Why? I think it's still necessary for me to create something that is visually appealing for my own personal love of photography. In a recent podcast (Photography Daily), one subscriber debated about how photographs should have some meaning to them. I don't think I necessarily subscribe to this, but I also don't think it's entirely wrong. We create photo's because they instil something in us. The message doesn't have to be obvious in a documentary or photojournalism sense, it can simply be that it was a beautiful scene and I wanted to capture that memory. Sometimes the reason behind a photograph isn't so obvious even to the creator.
So what does this lead me to? I enjoy doing street photography and documenting life as it happens, but it feels very shallow to me now. Because I know there is more for me to do. I feel like this is an evolution on what I want to do. So I want to do a long term project. It could take me a while before I am fully satisfied with my work. I may never finish it, but the journey of creating it is what is more important. Yes I will continue with the stuff that I like to do and I will still work on creating the pretty stuff too, but I think I need something a little more to fulfill my needs.