Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Random Thoughts About Photographic Style

Photographic style. Books have been written about it. Workshops have centered around it. And there is certainly no doubt that the development of a personal photographic style is one thing that most photographers (myself included) aspire to. But do you know what your personal style is? I can't really speak for anyone other than myself, but somehow I think it seems relatively easy to determine or define what someone else's style is, but a good deal harder to define what one's own style is.

When I start to think about my own personal style, I wonder if what I am considering as 'style' is really style, or is it just something that I like doing? Or is there even a difference between the two? And that is where I start to think that perhaps there is a danger in (over)analysis. After all, we are often told to break out of our molds and try something different, but would that be 'throwing away' our personal style? Is the 'mold' we are breaking out of the same as style and is it something that should be changed? Somehow that doesn't necessarily seem like a good thing because with frequent change you don't really have a style......ah, but if one were to call it a style that is evolving, then it becomes progress.

What recently got me thinking about style is that I was looking through some of the photographs I had made at several of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prixs over the years and noticed a similarity. I found that I take photos of things as far removed from nature as cars are in much the same way that I might take nature photos. That is to say, I tend to find an abstract portion of an object and make that the image. Here are two such examples:

Yellow Auburn Speedster

"Auburn Speedster"

Copyright Howard Grill

Blue classic Jaguar auto.


Copyright Howard Grill

I guess I have never really figured out what my 'style' of photography is, but perhaps the realization that this type of imagery flows through many of the subjects I photograph is but one step in trying to define and understand it. On the other hand, maybe I should just be photographing, and not analyzing my style in the first place. Perhaps that analysis is best left to the viewers of one's work to think about, if they care to.

Just some random thoughts........