Consistency vs. Creativity

a note.

Ok. So I had a very brief encounter on another social media / photography site with someone who was perhaps a little worried about being consistent with her photography. And this got me thinking (again) about my own photography. If you look through my stream of life on 75 it's a random hodge podge of pictures from various things that tickle my fancy. Is it because I haven't had official training ? Is it because I don't have a fine arts degree ? Does it even matter ?

Personally, I'd like to have some sort of theme running through my images. Some sort of overlying "this is me" theme. But I don't think I have that (yet). I know now what I like...street photography is my bag. That said, I'm not happy with my street photos. They lack edge...they lack own personal touch.

So the problem of consistency comes up again. Until I'm happy with my images, I'm going to be inconsitent as I try and find that place. It's a vicious circle.

I think I may be rambling at this point. My apologies :)

  1. lebogang nkoane


    I can say, I see a particular style in your photography, but I could never say the same 'bout my own photography.

    I too have no formal training, nor do I have a arts degree — I wouldn't say they matter, but I would say there is a quantitative difference between a self-taught and a formally taught photographer.

    What I am talking 'bout? lol. Oh, yeah, well I have decided I don't like what/how I am capturing, so I am plotting to change it and I know exactly what/how it is I want to do. In fact I keep a pintrest-board just for that.

    I am hoping, when I do eventually do it, that it will then become my 'style' and I wouldn't mind only shooting just that style, forever.

  2. Thato Sehlabela

    I understand where both of you are coming from (being self-taught as well), but does anyone, self-taught or not, really ever stop learning?

    Finding what your own style is might seem difficult until someone else looks at your photography, they might notice a style that you yourself dont.

  3. novocaine

    I went to a talk by Omar Badsha, and someone in the audience asked him how to find that style that would be authentic, and authentic means your own personal touch, and well he replied that only the artist can find it. It could take days, years decades, but its part of being an artist. Nah mean?

    Just keep shooting.

    Our craft is, after all, trying to inject ourselves into the pictures we make. In the end all those pictures we have that do not feel authentic aid us in finding what does.


  4. Neil Acid

    i think of it as a 'gaze' instead of a 'style'. the way i perceive things has a great influence in my photography. the ideas i'm obsessing about in my mind often spill over onto the images i create. like now, i've been obsessing over the idea of fractals, chaos and order, and taking a closer look at the minute details of things and of thought, and this has shown itself in my photography. and ofcourse my own aesthetic preferences over colour, composition and ideology come into play and these preferences are influenced by the many images i've stocked up in my memory. seeing images i enjoy, inspires me to acquire a particular gaze which as much as it is the result of external imagery, it is also my own vision of it. every now and then i fret about whether or not my gaze is strong and consistent enough in my imagery, but then again, we live in age of overabundance. we are constantly being influenced by many different things, it is no surprise our gaze will often change from one image/series to another.

  5. shizeeda

    IMO your style is who you are and not really something that can be worked on or 'found'. it just comes to you. it happens to you. its not like you can wake up one morning and say 'hmm i think im going to go on a quest to find a photographic style today'. you are influenced by what you see, what you like and what you learn - whether that learning is formal or not. in some cases, there is more freedom in being through none formal education than formal education which can impede so much of who you are, who you can be, and who you might want to be.

    A lot of the time people who learn photography from one person and spend a long time working with one photographer end up emulating their work and sometimes it is hard to tell their works apart...

    I sometimes wish i had never studied photography because i feel i can be constrained by the lessons i have learnt in a classroom.

  6. sweetoof

    Photography is one of those disciplines that can be polarised between technical and artistic skill.
    Just because you can shoot long night exposures and use a tilt and shift lens, or whatever technical advancements seem to be forcing us to adopt them, it does not necessarily mean that your pictures will reveal any flair.. So being an autodidact i don't think should make too great a difference in your work. Consistency is good. if you keep going you will eventually find a rhythm and a style, though creativity will encourage the pursuit of that style through experimentation. Perhaps if you find you are not as artistically inclined as you'd like, find an existing pattern in the pics you upload and see how well it narrates on your behalf.

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