Whether we know it or not each image that we create tells a story not only of the subject but also of ourselves. Each image contains some element of our personality and the mood we are in when we take the photograph and create the image, which includes how we view the world around us. Put another way, our images are not just reproductions of trees, buildings, landscapes, people, etc. but they also depict our interpretation of them. I think this “injection” of personality and mood not only adds depth to a photographers images but also helps define style. For example, we often read about how an image is in the style of particular photographer. To help understand how powerful style is, ask yourself how many times you have seen the work of a photographer that has grabbed your attention and in addition to seeking out more of the photographers work you have also tried to find out more about the photographer as a person.
Since including personality in imagery helps define our style it is probably important that we recognize the “symbols” we are coding into the images, whether we are doing so consciously or subconsciously depending on the mood we are in at the time. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is quite difficult to believe our own images are anything other than trees, landscapes, people, street scenes, etc. Actually, it is probably easier to identify the characteristics of another photographers work.
I recently took a short trip back to England to attend the funeral of an uncle. I took my camera with me and I had an afternoon free so went out to photograph. It was a beautiful afternoon and the beaches near my home were filled with people enjoying the warm weather. However, I felt anything but happy. I took lots of photographs of things that I saw while walking along the beach and that same night I started to create images, one of which I include with this post. The images are gritty, tense, edgy and atmospheric and reflect how I was feeling at that time. It made me wonder if I would have created different images had my mood been different. Therefore, as an experiment I am thinking of revisiting the photographs in a few weeks time to compare the two sets of images to see how much a change in my mood can influence my work. If I go ahead with this I hope it will give me a better appreciation for symbols that I code into my work, which I further hope will help me better understand how my personality is reflected in the images I create.