Above: Playing in photoshop and looking for a unique style
Its one of the sad realities of being a professional photographer that you never seem to have enough time to play with your photographs. Real time, I mean – blocks of creative time, uncluttered with the demands of your professional and daily life, where you can build on your creative process to produce, well, distinctive art. The time I’m talking about is the time that allows you to surf the net or scour the shelves of specialty bookstores studying other photographers and their techniques, before applying them to your own work. Its the time to play in photoshop or with other image software. Most importantly, its the time to experiment; to create and build a style that is uniquely your own. Photography, thankfully, is a constantly evolving endeavor if you want it to be and, from what I can see, those that “make it” – those who have become wealthy from their work and are recognised by their peers – are those who produce “different” work, images that stand out in the crowd and are recognised as their own. It can come down to the subject matter, the shooting technique, the editing process, the interpretation of a subject, intuition, luck or even just the personality of the photographer that can turn pictures into legends. But the common thread is clearly that the photography is different.
At this point in my career, my style of photography – largely built around people enjoying themselves on holiday – has found a comfortable niche in the tourism sector and it wins some favourable comments but I am still searching for a style of photography that will become my own and define me as an artist. Years from now, it may well come down to the subject matter I have chosen, given I continue to build a collection of private images of traditional cultures that are disappearing in the Asia Pacific region. But I have a sense that the style which will define me as an artist (more so than a photographer I might add), is yet to come. It may involve mixed medium that marries photography and materials with painting on large canvasses. It is this same sense that directs me to prioritize collecting images but to keep playing with new techniques, confident there will be a time when I make the time needed to create my own art, where people will look at my work and say “that’s obviously David Kirkland’s.”
It is this ambition that drives me most – the desire to rise above mediocrity and produce something exceptional as an artist.
It is a gift, I believe, that every time I draw my camera to my eye, I am given the chance to do that.