Thursday, 19 April 2012

Photographer's Eye: Uniformity

uniformity (Leica D-Lux 5; Hong Kong has been raining for four consecutive days now)

I can venture to say that a seasoned photographer moves towards uniformity in his or her works. This is the one thing that I have yet to go a long way to achieve.

Uniformity is not a euphemism for boredom or repetitiveness. It refers to the consistency in photographic themes, subjects and outcomes. In terms of artistic technique, the combination of such is known as photographic style. As tyros just into photography, we seem to be forever fascinated by different cameras. We fancy new gear and contemplate the chance to get additional acquisitions every now and then. We experiment with different photographic themes and carry a camera with us all the time. On one day, we do street snaps and on another portraits or landscapes, so on and so forth.

There are some well-known photographers in Japan of whom the works can make clear the point. Hideaki Hamada keeps using his Pentax 67 II with the Kodak Portra 160 NC or 400 NC to make image records of his kids. His images are always in square, emitting the feel of freshness and parental love. Rinko Kawauchi sticks to Rolleiflex 3.5F with Fujifilm Pro 400 and Kodak Protra 160 NC to give an atmosphere of harmony, tranquillity and stability in her square photos. Daido Moriyama is a persistent user of GR21 with Kodak Tri-X in creating his world of coarseness in black and white.

One common thing about these leading photographers is that they adhere to one camera and even one kind of film, so much so that their images ooze out a taste of uniformity. Isn't this showing that photography is a road going to be narrower path and much more so as we develop our skills? We start out as a "polygamist" camera user and up to some point, we will be converted to be a "monogamist" photographer. Don't we take a lot of photos in a day but when we return home, we delete a lot too? For the remaining images, we will begin to find what we are best at and which narrow path we can thread better. This is not going to happen in the twinkling of an eye of course. But this day will come if we continue self-searching on the road of learning photography

P.S. Just this afternoon when the raining intensified, I went out with my camera coz raining days offer great chances to be surprised by unusual photography opportunities in the street. But this time the surprise came from not such chances but a man working on his oversized square format camera, attached on a tall wooden tripod, on a busy street, shooting passers-by with his camera using one hand while carrying an umbrella on the other.

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