I have this hopelessly romantic notion that ‘spirit of place’ is a metaphysical reality; that as humans we can be in a place and somehow communicate with our surroundings, allow ourselves to feel the emotion that’s wrapped up in the ‘spiritual energy’ of any given location.
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Going Indoors


‘Metro’, Paris, France
Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS @ 35mm, 1/8 sec @ f/3.6, ISO 200
Unfiltered.
Handheld.
Adobe Lightroom (Fuji Provia Profile) > Adobe Photoshop multiple layer texture blend.

“Our ‘style’ is something that should find us, rather than the other way around; and when we are ready, it will.”

Going Indoors

For a landscape photographer, the occasional dalliance with other genres of photography is good for the soul. It opens our eyes to alternative ways of seeing and stokes our creative fire. When we continually see our landscape heroes producing breathtaking imagery in their own distinctive style, the natural response is to assume that if we follow a similar path and introduce stylistic constraints to our own photography, then we will improve. With the exception of shooting for a specific themed project, this approach is usually counter-productive. Craving our own ‘style’ introduces a overly prescriptive perspective: our subject matter, compositional approach and favoured colour palette all start to tighten. Of course, themed portfolios of images are very appealing, and shooting projects can be enormously rewarding. It’s easy to see how such a strategy can be self-perpetuating; but if we concentrate our efforts too much on honing our style, without ever allowing any deviation then a hidden morbidity can develop. An increasingly limited approach can stifle our vision; and creativity always welcomes deviations from the aesthetic path of our artistic journey.

If we crave personal style, we cease to approach our photography with the calm and care-free attitude essential for productivity: a craving mind is not a very relaxed or peaceful one. It is therefore my belief that our ‘style’ is something that should find us, rather than the other way around; and when we are ready, it will. Meanwhile, the more we can experience other styles of shooting, the more expansive our creative toolkit will become, the more balance we will bring to our photography and the more relaxed we will feel.

When bad weather hinders our intentions, shooting in alternative environments can also be a purely pragmatic response to ensure we remain productive during the time available for the shoot. Alternatively, as with my image this month, shooting indoors can simply be something we do while traveling. Going ‘indoors’ for an outdoor photographer, could involve shooting portraits, environmental portraits, still-life, architecture, ‘street’, reportage and countless other sub-genres of photography’s rich and expansive tapestry.

Some styles of photography can intensify our creative spirit more than others, and Intentional Camera Movement is one of those styles that I keep coming back to. Rendering intentional blur with an appropriate subject is a magic formula for the creation of an engaging image. I was traveling through Paris and decided to experiment for a while on one of the underground platforms. I processed the image in Adobe Photoshop by blending with several textured layers and applying different blending modes to achieve this painterly effect.

This article first appeared in Outdoor Photography Magazine. Reproduced with kind permission.