The Making of a Personal Style
Learning the art of the steal.
Welcome to In the Flash, a reader-supported publication about intent and creativity in photography.
Today is my birthday. I'm a Sagittarius. The horoscopes tell me I'm passionate, cynical, optimistic, adventurous and self-reflective. Though when it comes to astrology, I identify most with Jim Morrison who languidly mused on stage, "Sagittarius, the most philosophical of all the signs... but I don't believe in it, I think it's a bunch of bullshit." Guess he was also a cynic.
I do like to indulge in self-reflection, especially on my birthday. There is a question that I am often asked: How do you develop a personal style? I always answer it in a staggeringly generic manner: “Stay true to what you love.” That’s not incorrect, but it's also a cop-out, an inspirational calendar trope. I struggled with developing a personal style for the first five years after picking up the camera, often despairing that I would never find one. During that time, I tried my hand at portraits, landscapes, street photography, self-portraiture, nightlife, black and white, collages, nudes and conceptual. I was good at copying things I'd seen published but the concept of originality seemed a harrowing ideal beyond my abilities. The low-grade anxiety of never actually developing a style was an insidious, ever-present goblin.
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