A photo contest, abstracts and pushing my creative boundaries

Zen

Zen

Flames

Flames

Over the years, as I’ve narrowed my photography, I’ve probably developed a certain look — a photographic style. At least that’s what some of my friends have told me. Often, serious photographers go on a quest, to develop their style. Sort of like a milestone, on their path to photographic enlightenment. But is this a good thing?

If you always do the same thing, are you developing creatively? I think about this from time to time, as I continue to make easy images. Images that increasingly follow set patterns. I don’t think I’m a creative photographer. I tend to use rules that I’ve learned or developed and apply them at prescribed situations. Look carefully and I’m sure you will notice my patterns.

I was forced to throw out my bag of photographic tricks recently, when I joined a photo contest/fund-raiser. I’m not interested in photo contests but I made an exception for a worthy cause. The topic and format were unknown until announced. Black and white, square abstracts. We had 3 days to create our masterpieces.

I rarely shoot abstracts. Repeating patterns and geometric lines of architecture was an obvious choice. Perhaps macros of textures? The structured, crisp spines of an Agave? But these are things that I’ve done before. I wanted to push my creative boundaries, not falling back on my typical patterns.

The contest challenged me. It wasn’t my usual urban landscapes or street photography. No, it would have to be different and it forced my out of my comfort zone. Nothing earth shattering but I’m happy that these look different from my typical work.


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