I have been a photographer for twenty years. In that time I have shot my fair share of shit. I know that, and it is what helps me to keep trying to improve. What I will say, is that I have never knowingly and deliberately produced shit. Whatever I do, I aim for the highest possible standards, whether it is a fancy wedding, or a cheque presentation. I have, I believe, a fairly recognisable style. I constantly try to evolve, whilst pushing the bar higher. I was winning awards 10-15 years ago, for work I quite frankly, wouldn’t even show people now. Utter shit. I put pressure on myself all the time, to the extent that I can cause myself unneccessary stress. However, that pressure is what keeps my work at the level it is. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s a decent standard and I am proud of much of my recent stuff.
One thing I am particularly proud of, and not afraid to talk up, is consistency. I’ve seen the wedding photographers who can take 5000 images on the day to get one really good one to put on Instagram. Hand an SLR to a chimp and he’ll come back with something for Instagram after 12 hours of playing with toys. I can put a gallery up from a wedding with around 500 images on there, and they are all of the same standard. They may not all be 10/10 shots, but they will all be very safe 7/10 with a few 8’s and 9’s in there. No matter what I shoot I am consistent. That is experience and hard work. Not talent. Talent is a word I am uncomfortable with. I am very experienced and have worked my arse off to get to where I am photographically.
So what happens when a job comes along that you know is going to compromise that? Do you take the money and risk looking like a total twat? or do you take a stance, and say, “sorry, this just isn’t right for me”. Well in the past I have taken jobs which didn’t feel right, and really struggled to produce images worthy of showing. However, in my new ‘zone’ I am not prepared to compromise. If I feel there’s little regard for quality, and my reputation or skills are not given much thought, then I will most likely not do that job. Will it cost me work? Short term, maybe. But long term, my reputation will stay at a level I am happy with, and I will get more of the right clients, who value what I do. No cutting corners, no half arsed efforts, just quality all the way. I owe it to myself and my clients to be the best I can.
Comments welcome as always