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A box, a rut, and a niche
Old 01-03-2006, 04:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I curious as to what the difference is between those stuck in a rut and those who have found their "niche". We are forever hearing, step outside the box and expand your horizons. Some are chastized for being stuck in a rut, while others get harsh responses for stepping outside their niche and trying something new. We have some photographers here known for their swimsuit work, some for their body part work, some for their artistic nudes, etc..., who are never asked or expected to shoot anything different. Then we have some photographers who shoot a little bit of everything, and often get chastized for not stepping outside the box or sometimes for stepping too far outside the box. Even as a model it has been pointed out that I don't have "a" style and should focus my style a bit and find my niche.

Soooo....

Without starting a flame war, is it possible to clear this up for me, or is the question as ambiguous as the lines drawn?

Is it better to have a style or to constantly try new things?

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Re: A box, a rut, and a niche
Old 01-03-2006, 05:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've been accused of shooting a certain style of work, so I thought I'd jump in on this.

If I was making allot of money shooting in my style, I'd say I found a niche. I consider myself in a rut and bored.
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Here\'s your stereotypical answer...
Old 01-03-2006, 05:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Both.

I mean... it depends.

PRAGMATIC APPROACH:
If you want to make money and enhance your visibility, then find your niche, perfect your formula and don't screw with the system; market, market, market.
Some people call this a rut but it's really just good business sense.

CREATIVE APPROACH:
If you want to make art, you have to experiment, you have to stretch limits and break them... you have to fail to succeed. Screw the market and have a good day job.
Art just doesn't do boxes... it's about expression and expression often transcends limits or definition.

GAMBLE APPROACH:
If you want to make money by making art you have to take the 'creative approach' but do it full-time and hope some influential types become infatuated with your work... this is really hard though because you can't market effectively without a niche.
This isn't going outside the box, it isn't a niche, it's gambling, luck is the determining factor.

That's my take anyway.
Chip
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Re: A box, a rut, and a niche
Old 01-03-2006, 05:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I find it insteresting that you see yourself in a rut and bored. You definitely have a style, and a style that works. You have a style the as instantly recognizable as a "David Moyle" style. I have even seen it referred this way when someone shoots something similar to yours. Not ony that, but there are a couple of your images that I would absolutely hang on my wall.
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Re: Here\'s your stereotypical answer...
Old 01-03-2006, 05:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do you think that the same formula applies to models? Or would this depend on the kind of model?

I suppose a high fashion model should focus on only having high fashion stuff in their portfolio. But in here, is a focus better for models or is a diverse model more desirable? I have shot quite a bit of retro style pictures lately, and may even have found a niche in it, but I am also capable of other looks so I'd hate to be passed over for something that I would have been good at because I only showcased retro style images.
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Re: A box, a rut, and a niche
Old 01-03-2006, 06:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, if you ever want any of my work to hang on your wall, let me know [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

But, ya, I get bored easily and don't feel challenged. I'm quite flattered though when people do post work and refer to me as the basis of the idea...I don't see myself as a person of influence.
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Re: Here\'s your stereotypical answer...
Old 01-03-2006, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One of the reasons I went with a 'stereotypical' answer was that I don't know squat about modeling and models.

I can say this, my take on glamouresque styles of photography/modeling is that it's creative and artistic... as a business it has little viability for most folks. From that perspective, I think versatility and range are better attributes than a niche style.

If I rule out Andy MacFarland, I think the same shots over and over get boring. Andy's different, there's an intangible quality that makes each of his shoots different even though the poses and locations are all similar. He's not the only one, but it's a rare quality.

If I were shooting different models each time (I don't), then I would be seeking something different with each shoot. I'm easily bored and easily distracted so I tend to try lots of different things with photography in general. It's more fun to explore a range of expression than to repeat the same one every time.

It IS expression after all. What are you trying to communicate, what feeling? I suppose you could plan it all out a pick your model based on that... but it's more likely the photographer and model are taking an advantage of an opportunity (TFP). In that situation versatility, particularly on the model's part is a huge creative advantage.

But, I'm an odd duck around here, I shoot one lady and we do it purely for the enjoyment of it. It's one of the ways we play together. She's an Art Director and I'm a product shooter, neither of us have a professional interest in glamour.

I love the retro stuff by the way, I think you're well suited to it.

Chip




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Yes..........
Old 01-03-2006, 07:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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"Is it better to have a style or to constantly try new things? "

All of the above, just tailor your book to the market you want to target. Nothing wrong with multiple books for multiple markets.

<center></center>

IMHO

-mp
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Re: A box, a rut, and a niche
Old 01-03-2006, 08:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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people hire me because they have an expectation of the results. whether you want to call that a style or a level of competency or whatever doesn't matter to them. they know what i'm going to deliver. they know there is consistency to what i'll deliver.

when i'm working as a shooter for hire, i don't think that's the time for me to experiment with new styles, i.e., to suddenly start shooting outside my "box." granted, i might end up delivering something beyond their expectations and they might be quite happy about it. but this stuff is all so subjective. my finest images (n my mind) might not be at all what a client was lookin for. usually, the client wants more of what i've already produced.

when i'm shooting for fun, however, there is certainly a lot of room for experimentation, for going outside my comfort zone. and that's when i'll sometimes try that stuff out.

when i post images here, i don't, as a rule, state if i shot them for fun or for profit. if i get slammed for trying out things i would never try out on a client's dime, it's okay. but i sure don't want to get slammed by a client for going outside my box.

i guess the moral to this story is if you're warm and comfortable, even lying in a pile of ****t, sometimes it's worth just staying where you are. does that make any sense?

this was shot for fun.

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Re: A box, a rut, and a niche
Old 01-03-2006, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Maybe I'm a gambler then.

[ QUOTE ]
guess the moral to this story is if you're warm and comfortable, even lying in a pile of ****t, sometimes it's worth just staying where you are. does that make any sense?


[/ QUOTE ]

JMO to your statement here.
In my life I've had a few boring jobs. Don't get me wrong, if I didn't have fun or enjoy doing them I wouldn't have done them to begin with.
But with many professions, or jobs, when that pile starts drying out and blowing away, it leaves one exposed and out in the cold.
I know what your saying and in some respects I think your right. You don't experiment on a clients dime. But, one does need to experiment sooner or later and expand and grow.
This is JMO, but then maybe thats why I'm old and broke to. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
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