Sunday, June 28, 2009


A couple of people on flickr were saying (without trying to put words in their mouths, or assume too much from their comments) that this photo is BAC (definitive even?)

islands in the stream

I think that’s interesting because one of the things I’ve been struggling with is knowing and understanding what my artistic identity is. (I hate when I end a sentence with “is”. Not suppose to do that right?) One of the many many things I love about Flickr is that I’m constantly exposed to new ideas from other photographers and artists. But, it can become problematic too.

If I’m so heavily influenced by others’ work, pushed to try new things to emulate what they do, how do I know when something I do is really coming from my artistic authenticity? How do I know when it’s merely a recycling of what those others have done?

Don’t get me wrong. I think using others’ work as a jumping off place toward trying something new is a great way for artists to learn from each other. Ultimately the goal is to then make what another is doing your own by putting your spin on it, your brand, your flavor. I guess I just whish I could pin down what my flavor is right now.

What do your think? Do you feel you have a strong sense of your own artistic identity? If yes, how do you think you have achieved that identity?  Is that something that comes and goes for you? How do you keep others’ influences as inspirations rather than taking them on as your own?


Ryan said...

I think the way you know it is yours is if the inner voice (your true self) deep down inside of you is driving what you do.... and the more you listen to this voice the more your voice becomes an outward projection of yourself. . .

Just from watching your stream & words I feel like you are constantly in a friendly disagreement with yourself between your words and your artistic identity...your images speak you and your words are trying to tell you that it isn't you.... does that make sense?

anyway... I think your images are beautiful and painterly.... and I am always impressed at how effortlessly it seems you can pair two/three/four images like they were meant to be united.

elk said...

i'm so out of it I thought BAC was some cool new photog term...went to your flickr site to figure it out.

that sums up my identity ;))))

Jennifer Murphy said...

I'm not sure I have an answer for you, but I struggle with the same thing in apparel design. I guess when I feel what I've done is an expression of myself and my aesthetic, then I feel it's mine.

By the way, it's fine to end a sentence with a verb. You're thinking of prepositions--that's a no-no.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

I think you have amazing talents, Rachel. "Painterly." What a perfect word for what you do. This photo just floors me, but yet everything you do just blows me away. many more trite expressions can I come up with? Ah...I ended a sentence with "with" and hate when I do that...!

kendalee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kendalee said...

I have absolutely nothing to offer on the artistic front from an artist's point of view (I'm not one) but I do know that I LOVE your pictures and they don't ever feel derivative to me. I browse a LOT of flickr streams and blogs and your "voice" seems to me very much your own. Your sensitivity and mindfulness is evident and that makes the aesthetic uniquely yours. This image in particular is incredible. BAC through and through.

As for the language thing... I believe (here, in this most personal of spaces) that almost all the rules can be justifiably broken to facilitate what one wants to express. Indeed, sometimes it feels like they NEED to be broken to achieve this. Like Picasso... he could break the rules and create cubism because he knew what the rules were and had mastered them in the first place. If "is" at the end of the sentence works, then it's where it should be, surely?

Or perhaps it's just how I justify my grammatical laziness these days? ;)

Victoria Bennett Beyer said...

I think a lot of people struggle with finding their own identity. I find I'm jealous when I see other photogs that have such a style of their own that I know a work is thiers without being told.

I think there is a lot of growing to get there. I see nothing wrong with trying new things and being inspired by others - it's like stretching for your artistic ability. You have successes and failures doing this, and through that you learn about your craft and yourself. That's where I am, at least, and I find the more I photograph, the better I become at self-editing, and the more things feel like 'my' style.

That said, when it comes down to it, a beautiful image is a beautiful image and you can be proud to claim it. And you've got lots of beautiful images of your own.

daniela said...

i thought when i began my 365 project that i would fall into a niche, discover an area that was "me", by the end of it. but i was all over the board, and that never happened. i'm still trying to find my voice, and wonder if i ever will? or will i just transition, from one style to another? i feel quite insecure not pigeon-holing myself, which is an interesting study in itself, eh? oh, so many questions and analytics. perhaps just letting each day unfold is best, and the right thing for me now. let it happen organically. unfold.

i love your work rachel - you most definitely exude and capture a unique mood, and it's always so lovely to "visit" you.

Diana said...

This photo is beautiful. I think one of the joys of photography is that it is nearly impossible to outright copy someone. It means a bit of breathing room, to me. I'm inspired by others' color palettes or styles, but I don't feel I copy them because of that. Photography is such a personal art - if your heart is in it (as yours so clearly is) then what you create is entirely your own.