Do What You Want

When I started working in commercial photography in New York, I was fortunate to assist a lot of very good and successful photographers. The wonderful thing about this was that each photographer had their own way of working, their own favorite camera, lenses and favorite films.

Almost all the photographers shot with Kodachrome because it had the most accurate color and finest grain. When working close to models, they would use medium to telephoto lenses so that the models looked good. However, there was this great fashion photographer I worked for who insisted on using Ektachrome and wide angle lenses, grain, color and distortion be damned.

Most photographers I worked with chose models and locations, put them together and worked with them to create chemistry and interest. On the other hand, there was this very talented woman who left nothing up to chance. She knew exactly what she wanted to see beforehand. She would pose the models exactly the way she wanted them to look. There was very little spontaneity and interaction between the models and the photographer. Not what I would call creative, but her work was probably the most interesting and compelling of all the photographers I worked for.

What I learned from this is that we’re all unique, and we have our own unique ways of being creative. The most we can really learn from other artists is to trust our instincts like they trust theirs.

I’m writing this because I’m seeing so many rules out there today, and like most creative rules they’re probably good up to a point; but they lose value when you begin to believe that they have to be adhered to. These rules were made up by people like us through trial and error. Make your own rules. See what works for you. The whole purpose of working in a creative medium is to be creative.

We’re working in a medium that uses different machinery and computers, so we should become proficient with them. However, they only exist for us to realize our vision. They don’t define our vision. We define our vision.

~ by danbaumbach on June 10, 2012.

6 Responses to “Do What You Want”

  1. Well said Dan!

  2. Agreed, Dan! I love the photograph!

  3. Your story illustrates your point perfectly and gives us insight into your background and experience. That’s a world-class photo too.

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