Something Different?

Street Lamp and Road Sign

Streetlamp and Road Sign
Madrid, Spain, 2015

My original title for this post was going to be simply “Something Different,” the reason being that at first glance the image here seems to be something different than the work that I typically do.  Having lived with the image a while prior to making this post, however, I wonder if that’s really the case.

There’s an idea I’ve heard that artists who would like to be recognized for their work should make their work recognizable as having been done by them.  For example, Ansel Adams is closely identified with California landscapes, Annie Leibovitz is closely identified with portraits of celebrities,  and so forth.

There’s two ways I think you can take this.  For a first way, you could choose to make all of your work fit a mold.  Maybe it’s all black and white landscapes like for Adams, maybe it’s all celebrity portraits like for Leibovitz, whatever.  But if you choose to make all of your work fit a theme, you run the risk of detrimentally self-editing yourself, to the extent that you forgo making work that doesn’t fit the theme you’ve chosen to be identified with.

The second way simply is to make whatever kind of work moves you, and trust that it will have enough of your own personal stamp on it that your touch will be recognized.  If you have a vision and pursue that vision with honesty, the work that follows should be distinguishable as yours and recognizable for it.

It probably goes without saying that I subscribe to the second approach.  At the very least, I don’t want to self-edit the kinds of images I produce, and more broadly, I hope that my work will carry my personal imprimatur when I put it out into the world.  Regardless, that’s the thinking behind the title of this post – posing the inquiry as a question, rather than a statement that it is, in fact, something different.

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