Define Your Photographic Testament to Refine and Strengthen Your Photographic Approach
Your ambition is certainly to create interesting photos. You want to give them meaning. You want your photographs to be looked at and commented on.
You have also realized that it is not that easy. Your camera is not enough. You have realized that you need other tools.
In this article, I propose a very innovative tool that will help you in your photographic process. You will be surprised by its simplicity and efficiency.
This article will help you understand how to implement a new tool in your photography toolbox. By implementing it, you will make your photos even more interesting and instill in them true meaning.
Every day, when I get up, I think about the action I will be able to do during the day to help the earth or humanity. This action will be the small stone I will add to the building of life. It is my personal contribution. I usually ask myself what I can do for others and not what others can do for me.
Maybe I will call someone to check in. Maybe I will plant a seed or put in a plant to attract butterflies or insects. There are plenty of opportunities to do something constructive.
Since I have been living in the United States, I have learned a method of living called the "Compound Effect". Every day you just have to do one small thing. The fact of repetition means that over a long period of time, the effect becomes visible and measurable. I also apply this method in my work as a professional photographer.
The purpose of all my small actions is to give a meaning to my life in general but also to my photographic activity. I want to leave a trace of myself. I want to be remembered. It is for this reason that I created and developed the concept of "the photographic approach".
All the topics of my blog's columns are meant to share with my learnings and my knowledge. This column is special because the tool I discovered a short time ago is innovative. It should help you create even more interesting and meaningful photos.
The Story Behind This Article
Recently, an American art magazine interviewed me.
The editor had discovered my work as an artist photographer. He was surprised by my conceptual art photos and by the articles published on my blog about the photographic approach. He wanted to know more about me. He asked a journalist from the editorial office to contact me.
The interview had to fit on one page of the magazine. The journalist asked me 6 questions. Here are the first 5 questions he asked me:
- Can you tell me about your brand?
- When did you know this was the right path for you?
- What do you like most about your job?
- What has been the most challenging part of your career?
- If the phone were to ring now with the call to fulfill a dream, what would it be?
The most surprising question is undoubtedly the 6th and last one:
- CHow do you want people to remember your career?
I was speechless for at least thirty seconds. No one had ever asked me that question. The reporter remained patient. Surely every artist interviewed must have that reaction when they hear that question.
After this moment that seemed like an eternity, I finally answered:
"I would like people to remember me as a person who created photos to help others get better. I would like people to remember me as a photographer who did everything to make his photos not only beautiful but also useful."
I wondered if this answer was interesting. I had answered frankly, without any calculation. After two days thinking about my answer, I realized that answer was my photographic testament.
As always, I grabbed my notepad and started writing this answer. I realized that it was an essential part of my life as a photographer.
Without meaning to, this magazine had highlighted an essential element to refine my photographic approach. But above all, thanks to it, I was able to strengthen it a little more.
I wanted to share my thoughts with you. That is the purpose of the rest of this article. But first, I thought it was important to make some essential reminders.
Your Photographic Why is Fundamental
If you have chosen to create interesting photographs, you have certainly thought about your photographic why. This is the first building block of your photographic approach. It gives you the reason why you practice photography.
The photographic why has exactly the same function as the existential why that gives you the reasons why you live. Your existential why gets you up every day. It defines your role as a human being.
Your photographic why defines why you go out into the field to shoot. It is the guiding light of your photographic approach.
This concept prevents you from getting lost in your projects. I advise you to write it down in two or three sentences maximum. Then learn it by heart so you never forget it.
It can evolve over time. Its nature will not change over time, but you will refine it, make it more precise according to your maturity.
The photographic why is an intellectual and theoretical concept that does not materialize in a visual way in your photographs. However, it is a practical element since it allows you to properly frame your photographic direction.
Once you have defined your photographic why, you have created the markers for your photographic approach.
Let us move on to the second important element of your photographic approach.
The Elements of Your Photographic Artistry
The second element of your photographic approach is the photographic artistry. For me, it is the best way to identify you as a photographer and to recognize you. It is a very practical and visual concept.
I advise you to define your photographic artistry. It consists of two elements:
- Your photographic vision. It is the way you see the world around you. It is unique. It describes your perception of what you are photographing.
- Your photographic style. It is the way you show the world around you. Personally, I am fan of defining multiple photographic styles. I find photographers with only one style are boring. Even if they are perfectly identifiable, they end up doing the same thing over and over again.
If you have not yet defined your photographic artistry, I recommend that you do so. Do not wait. It will be a precious help as soon as you will be on the field to take pictures.
It will allow you to choose your scenes, your framing, your compositions.
The development of your photos will also be directed by your approach.
I will now give you the new element I added to my toolbox for my photographic approach. It is the logical continuation of the two previous elements.
Define Your Photographic Testament
This new element of the tools of the photographic approach is called the photographic testament.
Before explaining its function and how to define it, it seems interesting to me to define the word testament.
"A testament is an ultimate message that a writer, a politician, a scholar, an artist, in a work, wishes to transmit to posterity. »
During the interview I mentioned in the first paragraph, the last question I was asked imposed itself on me as the definition of my own photographic testament. Finally, the question I had to answer could be translated as "What do I want to leave behind through my photographs? ».
I realized that by answering this question, I could strengthen my photographic why and my photographic artistry. If I can imagine the photographs I want to leave to those who appreciate and are interested in my work, I just have to create them. I had never thought of this photographic tool. It is so simple and so powerful. But as always, doing simple things is difficult and complex.
Why do not you do the same? Simply take a sheet of paper or create a document on your computer and write your photographic will in a few lines. With words you will define the photos you would like to leave as a testimony of your photographic activity.
I guarantee that all of a sudden, everything will fall into place. Just imagine that you want to leave 50 photos that you created for posterity. Just 50 pictures to be remembered. Just 50 pictures that you would leave for posterity.
If you think about it, it is not much. When you consider that you can make them in less than an hour with your camera or cell phone. Yet, it will take you weeks, months or maybe years to create those photos that you will bequeath to posterity.
You must imagine your photographic will as a photo album. You are telling a story: the story of your photographic life. You must put yourself in the shoes of those who will look at the photos in your album. They will turn the paper pages one by one thinking about you, your passion, the way you photograph.
You must think of the spectators moved by your photos, escaping to other universes or to distant horizons only by looking at your photos.
Your photographic testament is not your portfolio. The purpose of a portfolio is to present photographic work within a specific framework. You have to demonstrate your knowledge in a given photographic activity. What I propose is much more than that. Your photographic will is much broader than your portfolio. It is the story of your passion for photography.
Creating a testament is a great exercise in style to help you create photos that are meaningful and personal to you.
Personally, I find it an extraordinarily strong and ambitious personal act. Moreover, you have no time limit. You can delete, add photos over the years. The idea that you must keep in mind is that this will must always resemble you. You will leave a trace of who you were photographically speaking.
You Are Ready to Create Interesting Photos
I hope this article will allow you to approach photography from a new angle. I wanted to show you that defining your photographic testament will strengthen and refine your photographic why and your photographic approach.
As far as I am concerned, it is a new tool that appeared to me by the greatest of chances. Nobody had told me about it. Thanks to it, I feel more serene. I feel comforted by my photographic and artistic choices. I hope it will be the same for you.
I propose you some personal photos that I will add to my photographic will.
Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.