Friday, February 22, 2008

Reconciliation Part 1



So how do you reconcile two apparently different styles of shooting?

When you are known as the post-production-people-in-the-landscape guy how do you get people to think of you as something else?

How do you build a bridge between the two kinds work?

13 comments:

Joerg Colberg said...

Why build the bridge? What for?

ThomasBroening said...

In the current market where there are so many photographers it is crucial to be known for a particular style. Niches are divided into further sub -niches. You can't just be a still life photographer. You can do still life that is shot available light but in the studio of soft goods shot against custom made backgrounds using selective focus shot on digital.

I have spent alot of time developing and marketing a particular style and to change that is not easy. I can not just pretend like I just started shooting.

The idea is create a body of work that creates some contituity between the two styles.

Anonymous said...

thomas - your commercial work is strong, identifiable, you certainly must be doing OK... the new work is strong, too... but more in the art sense... i think of stephen shore when i see it... perhaps you oughta consider the non-commercial world for these photographs??? or just show them as personal work on your site and in your portfolio and hope that someone responds? all you need is that first new project to get this approach noticed. or at least that's my take on it.

Anonymous said...

ok, so maybe those landscape pix aren't so stephen shore. but you get the idea -- "arty."

Anonymous said...

My reaction was similar to anonymous above... To me it seems that you're new work isn't meant for the same market.

So the commercial art buyers have a bridge to cross... but do they do anything when they get to the other side?

queenofoakland said...

II like what collberg has said. Although, your elaboration clarified your goal for me. Is continuity the only possibility? I was once at the Picasso museum in Barcelona, each "period" was strikingly different. There was never a question though, that any of the pieces were his. The more you seem to shoot lately, the more you are creating something new that a lay person like me would see and say, "oh, that's a broening." But of course, I would still see the bulter pic and know. Do commercial photographers always present books with one niche, one clear style? Or can you develop the presentation materials to show two fully developed and deliverable styles?

Timothy Archibald said...

So this new work is cool in and of itself. Why does everything need to lead to commercial success? It isn't like we have Garry Winogrand looking at his success in the art world and then wondering how he can transfer and water down this style to blow up in the commercial world...it just doesn't typically work that way.

Can't these art images just remain pure and live in the art world, rather than being used as a springboard to a fat ad job?

Don Giannatti said...

Put me on the side of a new channel... one that is more art than commerce. Let it flow along and see where it leads. Maybe the overt mixing is where the frustration lies. The extension of two types of work, one commercial and one artistic can be less confusing and actually lead to more opportunities for expression.

Serge Nikolich said...

Thomas,

I think your new direction is very interesting, and I hope art buyers are not going to see/label it as "landscape", because it is so much more than that.

Why do we as picture/image makers have to lock ourselves into one style and single visual language? Shouldn't the question be about the power of the image we created? Just because I shot fashion in the past does that mean I can't produce a moving image of a struggling single mother or a glorious view of a decaying urban landscape? By shooting one kind of image we don't lose the ability to think emotionally of other subjects. If a writer has a pattern of writing great history novels, does that mean he/she is incapable of penning a heart-breaking love story?

We interpret concepts and ideas. We just use pictures to do so.

I am tired of chasing the market trends.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Archibald. Let the images be what they are going to be, and don't try and connect them. People won't need an explanation- just do your thing.

I must say though, the rock series sort of jumps out at me as not being as much your style as the others... like you were trying too hard. I like the other personal work you've been producing that touches on the urban world, and it's interaction with that of the non urban... The over passes are very reminiscent of Rolfe Horn and what he did in his night time series a while back. You have a unique approach to them though.

Don't forget who you are shooting for though, Thomas. Be true to yourself, shoot for yourself, and undoubtedly you will arrive at the destination you are looking for but don't know exists. It's out there. But don't do this for anyone else. That's when your work becomes tainted.

queenofoakalnd said...

The post above this one is my favorite so far...

caroline favrot lee said...

word to "anon" above - you can't control the future, so stop fretting. stop trying to put your images into nice neat boxes, you suck the life out them when you do this. when you work results will come and they will be better than your little ideas of what they are supposed to be -

Former Saatchi Art Buyer said...

Thomas,

This is a dilemma for many commercial shooters I've spoken with and it's not an easy one to decide on. The simplest suggestion I can make from my experience is to slowly let the personal vision seep into your commercial work, one job at a time. I'm really not sure if your issue is the post-production aesthetic of your commercial work vs. natural look of the personal stuff you've been posting here, but I see a lot of similarities in the overall landscape theme. Have you thought of working with a consultant who is less attached to your work and can give you unbiased advice/fresh eyes?