Monday, September 12, 2011

Am I Trendy or What?

The last part of my "journey of recognition" with Kat.  I've really enjoyed the ride and now have more insight into who I am as a photographer and artist.  While I don't have complete answers, I think I've put down solid groundwork for growing, stretching, looking back, looking forward, analyzing, and riding that wave of ever-changing artistry and voice.  I still have another portion of this journey to look forward to in October.  If you think you'd like to dig in and open the window to what is inside your photography, click on through to Kat's website.  I think you'll be glad you did.

In this lesson we were to consider trends in photography and how our own photos might be influenced by what we see in magazines, on websites, while blogging, etc.  This challenge was difficult for me.  Once I received a nice comment that said something like "I like that you don't follow the latest trends and instead shoot images that please you".  Hmmmmm.  I thought "Really?  There are trends?  Who knew?"

In general I've realized I don't know what I like.  Most of my furnishings, while fine in their function, are hand me downs and yard sale finds.  I'd be lost choosing something new for my home.  I wear blue jeans nearly every day....and have shirts in the same style of various colors-I don't think about clothes.  I should have Garanimals.  I have noticed I'm starting to figure out what I don't like.  I guess that's a start.

The only trend that came to mind was the trend of textures.  I do know that I'm not a huge fan of textures, though that dreamy desaturated vintage look seems to hold a lot of appeal to many.  I do use textures from time to time.  They rarely seem to come from the heart, but more to cover up a somewhat flawed image. 

I'm trying to link regularly with Kim Klassen for Texture Tuesdays to see if I can come 'round to liking them more.  I feel like I'm not really sure how to use them-which one to choose.  It's kind of like women with football.  I love football, but I understand the game.  Most women don't and don't enjoy it.  I wonder if they knew the game if they'd like it better.  Is this at all an analogy that anyone is following or did your eyes glaze over when I mentioned the "f" sport?

Here is a textured image I did this summer that I do like....

One Word {287/365} {sh 32}
One Word
......but I don't know why I like it.

I like this one too.
Silenced {356/365} {sh 78}

The reason I put the texture on the piano image?...fessing up.  The keys were really dusty and to "rescue" the photo from my embarrassment, I put a texture over it.  Cleaning through textures-give it a try.  The only thing I see in common between the two images; the textures have words in them. 

And I do love me some words in images.


So, maybe a trend I should explore is typography, or combining words and images or maybe that's not a trend but rather an interest running 'round in my ever busy mind.
As for visiting other sites for inspiration.  I guess I don't do that.  I visit lots of blogs and see photography I respect, but I don't go looking at sites.  Perhaps that can go on the ever increasing in length "to do" list.

Now there was one trend that seemed to come up during this Journey series....
Scooters!  Yah Baby!

Mother and Child
Mother and Child

Making me a little cartoon-ish version of the infamous red scooter.

Red Selfie
Red Selfie

Reflections are something I like to play with too....why not me on the side of a scooter?  Will have to suffice to be a reflection.  I'm not sure Maine is the best place for scooter ownership-until they come with snow tires and heaters. :)

Thanks for reading my Swiss cheese version of trends...lots of holes.



Jamie said...

I struggle with textures too - I love them when used by others, but they rarely seem "right" to me. Still I try, just because I think it pushes me a bit.

I actually feel the same way about most trends - if it pushes me to try something new I consider it a good thing.

Carol Blackburn said...

Great shots Susan, hope things are good.

Ms. Becky said...

your posts are so endearing. I feel the same about textures. I see them as a trend, the current "fashion" in photography, and a measure of conformity, and that's not anything I want to embrace, so I don't. but you and Jamie have raised a valid point - that if a trend pushes me to expand and explore, then why not? but...but...I feel the same way about trends with clothing, and prefer vintage finds (albeit vintage was once a trend, right?) to current "fashion". I mean, I have difficulty imagining Stieglitz or Cartier Bresson, or Dorothea Lange using textures, for the cry. however, you've opened my mind with this discussion and that's always a real good thing. I really like your One Word, and Silenced - both have been textured too. I love your selfies - they're usually understated and very cool - the position of your feet, for instance, is what catches my eye. good post Susan. happy day to you.

Leanne said...

Thoughtful comments on trends, funny that you used texture to hide the dust on the piano keys!
I think sometimes we can use trends and what we see in others' photos in a way that fits in with our own style.

seabluelee said...

I totally get the football analogy. I'd been totally bored by it all my life. Then, a few years ago, a guy I was dating explained what was going on while we watched a game together, and patiently answered all my questions. I'll never be an avid fan, but at least now I know enough about it that I can follow the action and enjoy watching the occasional game.

I love your scooter series! And I'm glad to hear you're continuing in October!

lisa said...

These are wonderful images Susan. I LOVE the piano, and I would have loved it with the dusty keys too!

I sorry that Kat's course is ending, as I will so miss your posts on it. I think your insightful writing and candor is really wonderful.

Brenda said...

As always, I love your viewpoint. And all the images that you included to illustrate your points.

I try to resist trends but find myself getting caught up in them, usually because I so admire the work of others. I think the critical point is what you mentioned - following trends has value if it is a way for us to stretch and grow. To try on a new hat, just to see if maybe it fits. If we don't try, we'll never know if it could enhance our work in a positive way.

Glad to hear that you will be continuing on for the October class!

Deborah L. Tisch said...


I have to agree that this part of the course is a tough one...I'm still working on it and thinking about it.

I enjoyed reading this. You made me laugh, made me think. The scooter photos are my favorites.

Anonymous said...

You a trendy Wendy? I think not! I like to think if the trend is going in a direction, I head elsewhere, quickly.

Brilliant to use textures to hide the dust and of course, I love the graffiti!! Anything with two wheels and a motor is near and dear to my heart. You know they make heated hand grips, don't you??

Mira said...

you are right, zoom burst
is cool but I yet have to get a perfect zoom burst photo. :) I don't think I am very trendy photography wise. For instance, I rarely use textures although bloggers love textures. Great idea! Maybe I should use them more to see can I grow to liking them better. Have a great tuesday!

Kat Sloma said...

Yay! A scooter trend! I think I might be starting that one... Your selfie is in the same type of scooter as mine. Love it.

I think you did a great job in analyzing trends - how they work for you, or not. I like that you are stretching to try them on and see how they work. That's the key! (No pun intended, with the piano shot.) Cleaning through textures, LOL.

Remember, trends are not good or bad. They are just time-based influences. Follow them or not, it's up to you.

James said...

Looks like you are a texture expert. The photos are beautiful! I love the reflections on the scooter too!

I don't follow trends atleast not knowingly. Maybe it's because when I was a teen one of the biggest insults was to be called a "trendy". It's funny because we all followed trends back then punk,rockabilly,ska etc. Scooters where a huge trend back then (1979-1983) but I was to poor and too young initially to have one.

gina said...

A fun post -- I love your sense of humor! I don't feel comfortable with textures yet either, but you seem to have a good handle on them. The words make them more interesting, I think. Your scooter photos are great.

Cathy H. said...

Your post are always so fun to read! I don't consider myself a trend person either. I totally get the shirt business. If you like it, but two more in different colors!! Your texture images are beautiful! I'm real partial to the piano one. Love it!! I've not done textures, I'm assuming you have to have photoshop to do those. I do know they can make some very beautiful photos. I'll be seeing you in October!

Francisca said...

I'm so glad I scrolled back to read this post, Susan. You've clearly articulated some thoughts I have had lately about photography and my own experiments with it. Like you, I've never been trendy about anything, although I did spend a decade as a professional trend watcher for home decor design. Still, I didn't apply much of it to my own life, at least not in any conscious way (my home does not look anything like what you see in the magazines). With photos I like the occasional "texture" for fun, but generally, for me, the aim is to tell a story, best when something a little different or exotic for my viewers, yet that still resonates universally. And to do that, I think near SOOC is most real or truthful (like your graffiti and pair on scooter photos). Maybe what I am trying to say is that I feel the texture puts a kind of barrier between the story and the viewer; the texture becomes the story. So my post processing is usually limited cropping and contrasting, some color adjustment, or, as more lately, desaturation to monochrome. Of course the trend I must admit to is playing along with the various memes, and that to some extent circumscribes my posts, as well as influences my focus behind the camera. I hope it hasn't stunted my growth as a photographer, albeit an amateur hobbyist. When I visit others' blogs, besides genuinely enjoying the offerings of the bloggers, I look to see what appeals to me in the photos beyond the subjects and try to learn from that, to become a better storyteller... so it has little to do with trends. Typography, in my opinion, is not a trend... it is an interesting subject that could be creatively explored. :-)