I was reading a long-winded article on “artistic license” the other day. The only part that really got me thinking was a couple of comments about establishing your own style. I generally don’t worry about developing a style because I think (as the article states) that that comes naturally from following your own vision and trying to stay true to it. This I have done for many years–making pictures for me, that I like to look at. Sometimes I get sidetracked though, experimenting with my style. Take artificial vignetting. It’s gotten so popular over the past few years that I couldn’t really help experimenting with it myself a few times. What I found was that it generally does not “fit” my style. I look back on those images and they don’t feel quite right. Once in a while I will add some very slight vignetting now–usually only in rare cases where I feel that the background tones blend too much into the paper in a print. A way to keep the eye in the frame. But I seldom do it for any other reason now, especially for “that look”. Another one is B&W toning. I have tended to use this more frequently than vignetting, but I am beginning to feel that generally that does not have a prominent place in my style either; these days my toning tends toward the subtle, and really is mostly in images that will end up as prints. Somehow B&W prints can often really benefit from some toning.
It was interesting to contemplate on that for a bit; to think about what was or was not a part of my style. Style is hard to pin down, and maybe the best I can understand, or say about my style is what it is not. What do you feel about your style?