Sometime back, I was asked by a photographer, what my genre of photography was? I looked at him confused. He later consoled me that I was yet to find a genre and it was normal. When I look back in time, I feel that he was interested in knowing about my work but was shocked at the revelation that I was limited to any genre. This incident pushed me to write a bit more about my love-affair with photography.
When I had first got my first serious camera (more about my introduction to photography – Starting to blog), my initial attempts were all focused at getting good exposures. Later it moved to experiments with various basic techniques. I tried motion blurs, freezing the motion, shallow depth of fields, macro, landscapes with various filters. Next came the experiments with lighting and shadows, perspective changes, exposure extremes and dark room experiments. I was learning to use my camera. I photographed anything and everything that caught my fancy. On one film roll, it was landscapes and on the other it was portraits and yet another one had fractals. Photography was becoming my best companion. The world looked different to me. I was now seeing photographs all around me waiting to be made.
Once I had mastered the camera and lens, I moved on to a stage where I was expressing myself. Depending on what I wanted to show, my interpretations for the scene in front of me, changed. I could see the misery of a man trying to get some money or I could see his smile on having found a generous donor. I was now able to show what I wanted to and how I felt like at the moment of composing the image.
I had not found my genre but I had found a way to express myself. With time, I realized that I was not very good with street photography. I was shy and very uncomfortable in intruding on other people’s comfort zone. I missed the decisive moments. Landscapes caught my fancy. I have been impressed by Ansel Adams (Ansel Adams – His Influence) and tried to get the impact his photographs had. Instead of getting everything in, I started focusing on my subject. Next came the stage when I found the interplay of light and shadows interesting. Architecture also started interesting me. A small shift of light led to a huge change in perception. This brought me closer to various textures. I liked the glossy finish of the marble and the grainy wood of the doors. From buildings, I started seeing fractals, abstracts, contrasting shapes, lines, circles…. I now had abstracts as part of my favorite subjects. While focusing on subjects, I started going close and slowly started interacting with people. I had now become a social animal. I could easily take my camera out in front of strangers and make friends with them. I was now also a street photographer. As time passed, my areas of interest kept changing and increasing.
(An example of where I do not know the genre and neither am I interesting in knowing. Nikon D200 with Nikkor 50mm, f/8, 1/125 sec at ISO 100)
I started with photographing everything and then found my favorite subject in landscapes, architecture and abstracts and with time, I became comfortable with everything and now once again I see photographs everywhere and I click everything that looks interesting. I did not have a genre to begin with. I found a genre when I got comfortable with some subjects but now I have again lost my genre… and I am happy that I did.