Ok tell me. Are we still wearing bubble skirts with leg warmers and jackets with giant shoulder pads? Or Bellbottom pants? No? Why not?
Fashion trends change all the time and so do photography trends. So should we be following these trends at all? Surely we should be on a rigorous search for our own timeless style! Ignoring all trends and pursuing whatever’s deep inside us?
For a long time I thought I needed to do just that – ignore all other photography and practically reinvent it for myself. I put on blinkers and ended up on quite an isolated journey. And you know what? I got nowhere! I was sitting in a vacuum. It was only once I realised that I had to try out what other photographers were doing – try it on, see what fits and trash what I absolutely hate – only then I could grow and develop my own style. I think we need to allow ourselves to be influenced by everything we see, pick out what works for us and leave behind what doesn’t. Everyone picks different combinations and that creates a variety of eclectic styles in the end.
Trends can widen our perspective if we do not turn them into hard and fast rules. They have their place and can help to give a current feel to a small body of work. Think of the yellowy tones in the 70’s photos. It’s a wonderful and important to be part of a specific era. But it’s important to choose carefully when to use the current trends and not to lose your core style. If I want to make a grapefruit look juicy, I’m not going to use the current soft-grey nostalgic look, but capturing the atmosphere of drinking coffee around a camp fire would be a total different story.
So my vote is YES!! Have fun! Play! But don’t get stuck there and use it wisely!
What’s your vote?
Leave me a comment at the bottom of the post.
5 Decades of PHOTO-TRENDS
Here are some of the processing trends that I’ve picked up over the last 5 decades, with short explanations below:
- 60’s : Beautiful black and white images processed in such a way that the darks are deep inky blacks with crisp white highlights. Factual, with strong compositions.
- 70’s : The Kodak yellowy hue. Soft images, with low contrast. Quite dreamy and idealistic.
- 80’s : Film with much brighter colours and a variety of speeds, become freely available. Agfa’s deep dark greens become popular. Everything is sharp and crisp and bright. Perfection is what counts.
- 90’s : Many photographers play with cross-processing, using slide film as normal film. This brightens colours, creates a film grain and a cyan (turquoisy) colour cast. Digital becomes more freely available and there’s the debate whether to change over or not.
- 2000’s : Back to more natural colour, but lots of digital enhancing and retouching. Purposeful blurring of the background.
- 2010’s: With the increased use of cellphone photography, there is a tendency to be more honest and show reality as it is. There is a call for an “authentic image” – often made to look as if it was just taken by chance. The “matt-effect” is used to soften this reality. It harks back to the style of the 70’s, but greyer rather than yellowy. Seems to be a reaction against the style of the perfect product.