As I progress towards the completion of assignments for module three of my MA in photography, it’s perhaps a good time to take stock, and to ask myself what path it is that my photography is taking.
My current project, Cravings, has met with positive feedback from all those who have previewed the images. Shared between all the comments, is the opinion that the project is an interesting change in direction.
Is it a change in direction? I see it more as a natural progression.
At the back of my mind for some time now has been the need to identify a project theme for both the module four Work in Progress portfolio and the Final Major Project.
The initial success of Cravings has enabled me to do just that, to identify themes for both projects. Work is underway to research the viability of these themes and carry out initial planning.
But what happens if the projects are set aside?
Taking this concept further, what happens if we set aside food photography?
Posed another way, the question could become ‘what other genres of photography interest me?’
Still life which isn’t food related appeals to me very much, as does fine art photography.
I am also very interested in portraiture, and whilst there is a tentative link between the three genres still life (including food photography), fine art and portraiture, the final genre – reportage – can be described as an outlier.
There are, I think, significant advantages to breaking out of a mould and trying other types of photography, advantages which will enhance my skills as a food photographer. Looking beyond a still life table (or kitchen work surface), looking for different subjects, in different areas will, I believe, improve my skills as a photographer – not least of all by improving my skill in looking, and in seeing the potential within a subject for good photograph. After all, I think I am skilled in recognising items of food which will make images with aesthetic appeal, am I adept at recognising the potential, or the opportunity, for equally interesting and appealing images in other genres?
By turning away from my subject, only briefly and periodically, by including other genres in my repertoire, I am becoming more rounded as a photographer, I am becoming more skilled over a wider subject area and acquiring skills I can bring back to my specialism. In turn this will allow me practice my specialism in an innovative way.
Progressing the discussion: food photographer – is that a label that I wish to be identified by?
Wouldn’t it be better to be considered as a photographer who specialises in food photography? In essence, letting the images I create do the talking.
The former is quite constrictive. In artistic terms, it shows that my area of interest, if not my talent, lies in food photography. But in practical, commercial terms, it closes off lots of avenues for potential work.
The latter, however, leaves lots of doors open: both artistically and commercially.
Food photography is my passion and I gain an enormous amount of satisfaction from creating images of food. But there is a lot to be gained from, at the very least, experimenting with other genres of photography. And by doing so I am keeping things fresh.