A few months ago, my friend Julie and I were talking about photo styles and she told me that I have a very distinct style, that she can tell my work apart from other people's. I was very flattered, but I had been thinking about this subject for a while and I disagreed. Some people have a very recognizable style, a combination of subject, light and shadows, and composition, but I had come to the conclusion that I have several styles, and I was just starting to be okay with that.
There are several styles that I admire greatly. When it comes to portraits, I admire Richard Avedon's understated style. I want to make portraits that are simple, on a clean canvas (often, a wall) but at the same time, I want to make more environmental portraits that do have a cluttered background. Or if not cluttered, at least something that's not simply a wall. In life as in photography, I need a lot of quiet, but I thrive in noisy environments. I'm messy but I love uncluttered spaces. This dichotomy is such an integral part of me that it makes sense that it would reflect in my choice of subjects and my style.
I could stare at a Jim Marshall photograph of the Rolling Stones recording an album and feel like crying because of the beauty of the image and the moment, and feel the same way about a photograph of a cup of tea on a mat in a Japanese café. Both mean as much to me, and both are reflections of the things I want to see and never take for granted in life. I want to make great portraits of artists at work and I want to capture quiet moments, the way Japanese photographers manage to do amidst the hustle and bustle of big sprawling cities.
But when I think about it, more than a particular style, I think my photography is about a certain color palette. If those colors are not around me, I simply don't take out my camera, or if I do, I'm usually disappointed by the results and no-one but me gets to see them. There are many of them, trust me.