You might have seen this series on my twitter the last 10 days, or when I posted it on my instagram, but I wanted to share my entry for the Lensculture Emerging Talents Award 2016 on this blog as well.
The photos were taken in the area where I live (Lower Rhine Area in Germany) and the series is called German Surfaces. Although I didn’t win any price (this time), I got a solid review and some hints and suggestions how I could expand on how I take pictures and what I chose as subject or how I do arrangements, other contests and also literature pointers.
The whole process of taking the photos and sorting them over and over until I ended up with ten photos I felt comfortable with as entry for the award was extremely enlightening. I learned a lot about how I view and assess my own photos and what is important to me and what might be my weaknesses.
some general thoughts
If you are mainly taking pictures for yourself, and by that I mean not for a customer or a project whose topic is set in stone, I urge you to take a step back during every production cycle and look at the work you have done so far. Ideally show the photos to people you hardly know and look at the photos at the same time they look at them. Even more so if you never do this!
This is why:
You will notice a shift in perspective (the step back I mentioned before) and this gives you a lot of room to re-evaluate if the work you’ve done so far is going in a direction you like or desire. Best case is that you will find a new direction you have taken naturally but you weren’t aware yet. Explore this direction!
For me the process of self-reflection was very important during the post editing of the photos I took for the Lensculture Emerging Talents Award 2016. While I was travelling I took many pictures and those were not all intended as entries for the award. Some I made with other intentions and some just happened, but I managed to find a nice overlap between all of those, I think.
ever found yourself in doubt?
Of course you may also find your work isn’t anything you wanted it to be. Think about this and take the time to ask yourself if the task you set out to accomplish (and maybe weren’t even aware of) was the correct starting point in the first place. As a result this might lead you to what you really want or, in fact, what you don’t want, but don’t let that fool you. Question yourself whether something you don’t want consciously may actually be something you need to do.
Once you become accustomed to this shift in perspective chances are you wouldn’t need people actually looking at your work in progress any longer; you will be able to invoke this shift voluntarily. Just remind yourself of it during each creative cycle to keep it as a handy reality-check.
During future photography posts I will try to delve deeper into this topic.