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Discovering your vision – what motivates you?

Ian Watts Photography and Digital Art - Artistic Vision

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching lately about my artistic vision. A question I am asked a lot is what my vision is in terms of photography. What am I motivated by, and what do I want to photograph. Also, who am I shooting for – am I shooting to please others, or to please myself as an artist.

Ian Watts Digital Art - Artistic Vision
Food to make you think

As you know I am a member of the Arcanum (Update – as of September of 2016 I am no longer a member of The Arcanum. I still highly recommend it of course). A fantastic programme set up to allow apprentices to be mentored by a Master. I have completed my first two spheres with the fantastic Janice Sullivan and have complete another sphere with the fantastic Robin Griggs Wood.

I’m still in touch with my old cohort, and one of the members there gave me a strategy.  It helps identify if there is a mismatch between what you are shooting / processing and what you like.

The Strategy

The idea is you go onto a site like 500px and create a gallery of all your favourite photographs that you find, and identify common themes. Then see if this matches what you are shooting / processing.

So, as you can see from my image above, and some of my more artistic images in my galleries a lot of my more recent stuff has been heavily edited to resemble an artistic style – watercolour, coloured pencil etc. While I enjoy this, it is a complete mismatch between what I like looking at. So what have I been doing – trying too hard to impress – too hard to do something different – trying to jump on the latest bandwagon, instead of shooting what pleases me.

Here is a link to the gallery of photographs that I collected that I liked, rather than being influenced by others – a stark difference to the stuff that I am creating at the moment. Most of the images contain water, or mist. Most do not contain people, or just solitary people. Mountains are quite prominent. Colour or absence of colour doesn’t really bother me – there are some very vibrant images, some very undersaturated images, and some black and white images. I also like macro images.

Where Now?

I will still enjoy the creative artistic stuff – I like doing it. But this exercise has given me permission almost to go back and shoot exactly what I want. Trees, water, mist and a sense of solitude. Is my artistic vision fixed? No. But it’s important to know where it is right now.

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