On a social media group, my friend Dallas Logan posed this question, “At what point does one stop using the defense of "my style" as a shield for poor photography?“
This got me thinking long and hard because I must say that I personally don’t use that phrase to justify my work. Call me whatever, however I just feel like saying that makes you lazy, or comfortable. For me, I ask myself, ‘What else can you do? Did you give it your absolute best? How are you going to improve your work and not just do the same thing’? Why would anyone say this and feel okay with being mediocre? When he posed this question for the group, it put my mind onto one particular photographer I met when I first started that loves to over expose their photos, and slap filters on them. They had loads of people believing that this was great photography and their, “style”. but in reality, it was shot that way because they are really just lazy and don’t want to do any real retouching to the photos, so it’s easier to just blast out the blemishes, and throw that filter on. They even marketed it as, “Unedited”, however the trained professionals knew it and just kinda stood back and shook our heads.
I look on social media outlets and in one, you get more engagement if your work looks the same, or is consistently a certain color tone. The “LIKE” button doesn’t justify my work, or my approval by my clients. Maybe that’s what’s hurting me because I don’t believe in doing the same mundane thing day in and day out. That’s not why I became a photographer. I personally thrive on variety, and pushing myself into my work. It’s what Bruce Lee says about being, “water”, as an artist you’ve got to allow your work to take shape into whatever you’re doing. Water can reshape, or topple mountains, so remember that as you’re sitting comfortably.
When most photographers begin, they suck. I’ve been told multiple times that I sucked when I began, even by people that are close to me, and I’m grateful for that. I never got angry with them for that, I used that to fuel my desire for progression. (HINT: You’re supposed to suck!) Just try not to suck with an ego the size of Texas. I’m constantly am trying to improve my work to the point where it’s seen everywhere by all who love art, and by those who appreciate seeing me grow. Heck, while you’re growing…have some failures too. I had one back in August of 2017 with some clients. It happens to us all, however you’ve gotta learn and grow from it. Believe me, I learned!!!
To conclude, don’t make excuses …make progress.
Mike Conley of MikeCon Photography