Monday, January 24, 2011

Inspiration File

color, line and texture
I had an assignment to set up an inspiration file. That was the easy part. Review recent photos I've taken and pick my favorites. The hard part was then really looking at the photos and finding the commonalities... what is the common thread that runs through the photos?
I also looked at the entire collection of 365 photos that I have taken over the past year. My first impression was that the photos are all over the map... subject, location, vantage point, color - all aspects. So this assignment has been good for me. Good for me to really look, to go beyond first impressions and really look deeper and see what I find. I had to mull this over a while because I was disappointed that I couldn't see a style and a voice that just jumped out. At first glance it looked like a jumbled mess of whatever.
I did notice that I like close up photos and nature. Not really quite macro, but in some cases yes. I like to fill the frame. But, why? To cut the crap? - yes. Do I focus too narrowly - not seeing the forest through the trees? - yes, sometimes. I had to think on this too. Do I need to stand back more and take in the whole picture rather than the detail? re-compose a little - yes.
My conclusion is I like three things in my photos - color, texture and either line or shape depending on the subject. When I take a step back and really look, I find these elements are dominent. I like to focus on the texture of the cool things in nature that I find along the way - thus the close up detail shots. I also tend to take photos as I am out walking the dog... which brings my subject matter and location to --> Urban nature.
The missing elements of design? Pattern and Form. These are good things to identify and give me a challenge to try and include more often. I also need to stand back more and see the whole picture. I'm chalking up my first year of photography as a year of exploration. No judging, just accepting the things that documented my year for what they were. This is the year to take what I learned and am learning and see what I can do. It will be interesting to see if I can clear my throat and find my voice this coming year. Will be it be tight and linear? Or bold and loud? Or colorful and exotic?


  1. Rainy City Girl I really appreciate your frank appraisal of your work. Nicely Done! I had the same trouble with this assignment but eventually dug deeper to discover something I hadn't considered before. My conclusion is that I need to learn more technical skills to support my artistic flare for drama :) There is likely more I can learn but this will keep me going for now. Terrill

  2. I am so glad that you stuck with the exercise to begin to recognize your eye. It shows you where your strengths are, and you can begin to capitalize on them. I like what you wrote about not judging your work, looking at your past year as exploratory. I think that we could all use this approach. I like the idea of not saying that somethings is "good" or "bad" - it just "is." Now, what can we learn from it?

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