A flower from my backyard is the test subject of my pivot
Martin Banks February 9th, 2021
Pivot is a big word in the business world. When I ran a company that was being eaten alive by Amazon, I pivoted to a new business model. The pivot was successful but a little late. So I closed up shop a few years ago, and here I am now, trying to be in business again. And am thinking about pivoting - again.
I have become frustrated and apathetic with my photography over the past year. It's easier to be a travel photographer when you can actually, you know, travel. The same goes for landscapes; there are only so many ways to photograph the nature preserve behind my house. So I tried some different things early on in the pandemic. Do you remember the Quartine Compost Jars? The series received a lot of positive responses, but let's be honest, who is going to buy photos of my food scraps layered in a glass cylinder? It was a fun project, and it kept things interesting for a while. I was sucked into sunset photos for a period. I generally don't do sunsets; I just don't. But I was bored, and the beach is a short drive, so I did some sunsets.
I've been thinking about how to pivot my photography work for a while now. Sunsets and jars of compost just aren't doing it for me. I read an article over the weekend by a photographer who advises to "think like an interior designer." Her statement and accompanying photos resonated with me. It was like "bing!" that's it! The basic idea I took away from the article was to simplify, modify, and, most of all, break the rules.
First thing this morning, I went to my most accessible space to photograph, the backyard. I took several photos of flowers and then went back to my computer. Most of Monday was spent in photoshop fiddling with this one flower, the one at the top of this essay. It's not just exactly the way I would like to have it, and that's okay. It is an experiment, so getting it close enough to correct to see the possibilities is what I was after.
This is my pivot. You read it here first! This image won't go into my portfolio, but it is a good first step to creating a different type of photo which could become my new niche. This will be good, and it will be fun. I have a lot of work to do. Learning to change composition and exposure levels in-camera. (That is the "breaking the rules" part of this.) And leveling up in photoshop with masking and compositing. (Which is the "modify" part of the equation.)
I'll keep doing the other types of photography. But when you see a photo of mine that has a lot of blank space and is minimalist in nature, you'll know when I started.
Thanks for reading, I appreciate you!
Did you know that I have another weekly newsletter? It is my personnel account of being a middle-aged white guy learning about my own culturally instilled racism. It's called Blind Spots, and you can find it by clicking here.
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