Breaking Down the Walls of Predictability…

On one of the photography forums dpchallenge, a photographer who read my article “A Funny Thing Happened to Me in the Camera Store” responded by saying “…thanks for sharing. Still waiting for my (lucky) accident”. I thought about her remark and my response was the following;

Whenever you are about to do what you think SHOULD be done, stop yourself, take a deep breath and do the opposite. If you think you are coming in too close to the subject, come in closer. If you set up your lights for a subject with your intended orientation to be at point “x”, move to point “y”.  If you  are standing up to take the shot, don’t. Get up on a ladder or lay down on the floor to do your capture. If your images look too bright make them brighter. If someone tells you that your images are too dark, make them darker. If your images are looking too normal, fuck them up. If you are worried about camera shake, don’t.   If the dress the model is wearing is begging for the classic accessory, don’t do it.  Take that Lagerfeld dress and stick a 3,95€  tacky  “Eiffel Tower” huge chain around her neck.

Breaking down the walls of Predictability is a tough call. If all of the competing photographers are cropping one way that is in “Fashion” do it the other way. When I was using film, I would go to the store and ask, “what is the shittiest or most obscure brands that you have?” Ever tried Konicachrome or 3M or “CrappyChrome”. Everyone was shooting Ektachrome… BORING. I would use Agfachrome 1000 ASA film. Polachrome or anything that would make my stuff stand out from the norm. I would set up shots using totally insane Fashion Stylists, Make-Up and Hairstylists, telling them to fly and that fear is the greatest hindrance to creativity. Let accidents happen. That is how they happen. Better yet, don’t even worry about them happening, just be open to the possibilities. Don’t be AFRAID to be different.  Just BE.

Thanks for your inspiration “Becky T”

About Benjamin Kanarek
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Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…

  • Benjamin Kanarek

    @:

    My style depends on the photo shoot I am doing.

  • ken

    So here’s a question…if you keep breaking the rules, what then becomes your “style” that people hire you for?
    Your style seems to be a mix of video lighting, gels, and motion…

  • Great idea. Think different.

    Reminds me of an article I once read by the great Mike Johnston of “The Online Photographer” fame. It was called “Eschew Cliché”. Check it out here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-03-06-01.shtml

  • Bruce lee called this formless form
    simply adapting to what ever situation that comes your way and treating it all new and unique as if you have never done it before. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child who doen’st know the rules.

  • Roberts

    Excellent writing! I think main sentence in this article is “…fear is the greatest hindrance to creativity.”

  • Eric

    Excellent post, Ben.

    Systematically unlearning all of our habits and creating the possibility of moment-by-moment novelty–that is the mental work of good photography it seems to me too.