Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I am Matthew McMullen Smith, I am a ______ Photographer

In going through the process of putting together a more robust portfolio site I have been putting my work through a battery of reviews, categorizing and whittling them down to the best photos. It's no easy task.

One of the biggest hurdles for any photographer is defining what they do. I am trying to define what I do and keep the commas and slashes to a minimum. I decided it would be a good exercise to look at the photographers I admire and look at the type of work I'd like to do.

Although there are many photographers that excel in various subjects most photographers define their craft within a few relatable categories. Albert Watson is a great example, he is a portrait photographer but he can also shoot fashion, documentary style and conceptual work with ease. One the other hand Nigel Parry is a portrait photographer, period, he shoots editorial, advertising and personal work but it is all portraiture. Another photographer I admire is Phil Toledano. I have no idea how to categorize him, he's primarily a conceptual photographer that works within themes or projects much like I do but he has shot fashion and editorial work. I like how he splits his work into two piles on his site, projects and commissions, this works for him and regardless of which set you look at you understand that he is not photographing places, things or people but ideas.

So where does this leave me? I have a few projects or series, Smoke, Sweat, Bicycles and a few others that are too incomplete to consider now, I have a strong collection of portraits, some beauty, various nudes, some travel and street photography. Apart from a small handful everyting is personal. Everybody I show my work to says I should do fashion, which is great, I love fashion, it inspires me more than any other work but I haven't shot any real fashion work. In the end the portfolio needs to reflect the type of work I want to do. I need to define what I do by eliminating what I don't do, I'm not a photojournlist, I'm not a documentary photographer, I don't shoot sports, weddings, children's portraits, engagement photos (vomit!), pet portraits or landscapes. I want to shoot conceptual, portraits, fashion, still life and fine art nudes, take out still life and i think I have a description except the still life part, I have some but not enough to show in a serious way.

I am Matthew McMullen Smith, I am a conceptual, portrait, fashion and fine art nude Photographer.

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