On Creating Art
Lately I’ve been feeling internal pressure to sort out what ‘type’ of photographer I want to be, and the type of clients I want to work with. I recently did an exercise with my mentor Rachael where I saved a bunch of work from photographers that I admire to see what the commonalities were, and what I could integrate into my own work.
I realized the photos I saved represented a wide variety of client types – there were fashion photos, product photos, wedding photos. The most obvious common thread I could see was that the photographers were representing their subjects (clothes, couples, whatever) in a really thoughtful and art-inspired way.
They were images stripped of anything unnecessary to the story being told, they had emotion and felt very intentional. After this exercise I felt inspired to plan a creative shoot, something just for fun, for myself and my portfolio that felt like art.
I recently picked up a 50-cent book from the thrift store, called ‘Steal Like an Artist’ by Austin Kleon. It’s just a small coffee table book, that took me about an hour to read. I loved it so much, it made me think a lot about what it means to be an artist – and all the ways you can find inspiration for projects.
I’m really obsessed now with finding inspiration IRL, eavesdropping on people’s conversations, going for a walk and paying attention, lyrics in a song or a line in a book… Although technically the inspiration for this shoot did come from the internet when I saw a Facebook Marketplace ad for this amazing red interior Oldsmobile.
I wanted the aesthetic to feel high fashion, with a fun mix of masculine and feminine features. I had so much fun working with Most Wanted Luxury Resale, Alex (Creative Partner), and Anna (model) to pull together the looks for this shoot.
My favourite part about what I do by far is the collaborative nature of it and connecting with so many different creatives to pull a project together. Like there truly is a little piece of everyone involved in these photos.
Thoughts on creation and perfection
In my mind there’s still a pretty big gap between my work now and where I want my work to be. I can/often do convince myself not to share my work because it doesn’t feel perfect to me.
The truth is, there will always be a gap – there will always be where I am now and where I want to be, more to learn, ways to improve, new styles to discover. There will always be self-doubt, and my work is already art.
I’ve been trying to find joy in looking back at past work and seeing how far I’ve come already in such a short period of time. Plus, the perks of photography and art is that its subjective!
One of my favourite lines from ‘Steal Like an Artist’ was, “If I’d waited to know who I was or what I’m about before I started “being creative” well, I’d still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it’s the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.”
So RE: trying to sort out what ‘type’ of photographer I am, I’m just going to make a commitment to myself to try and take thoughtful images that feel like art and see where that takes me.