The photographer’s voice

A new portfolio. A new blog. Just tweeted my first tweet. It is official: we have liftoff!

In the process of creating the new website, I had to very thoroughly go through my old portfolio. That was a surprising experience: however convinced I used to be that I had a tightly edited portfolio, tight is the last thing it was! Quickly reaching the conclusion that this should really be done regularly, I went about the business of cutting the weeds.

This led to yet another realization: to find your voice as a photographer, a good hard look at past work (especially the portfolio-worthy part) is crucial. Why only the part that we deem portfolio-worthy? That is the body of work that we are excited about – because it contains our creative vision. I learned a great deal about my photographic voice doing this. In bold colors or high-contrast black and white, I am seeking distinction in the ordinary, and quietude in the extraordinary. More concretely, this could mean finding striking abstract patterns in an ordinary street scene, or a clean and unusual view in a spectacular landscape for example.

Seeking distinction in the ordinary, and quietude in the extraordinary.

A few years ago I visited Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona. This has to be one of the most photographed scenes in the world; not the easiest spot to create an original image! One of the things people look for are beams of sunlight coming into the slot canyon:

Beam of sunlight in Upper Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona

Beam

A nice image, but not exactly original. With thirty-odd photographers lined up to take exactly this shot, I decided to turn the other way, where not a single soul was looking. And there it was: this stunning and tranquil scene of a large tree branch turned into driftwood, lit as if on a Broadway stage, going unnoticed by the crowds. I found my original image, my quietude in the extraordinary.

Driftwood in Upper Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona

Sunlit III

Copyright © 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

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