Sea Blue Lens

Trendy? Not So Much.


Schoolroom Flag, Willowbrook, Maine

Assignment #8 in our Find Your Eye: Journey of Recognition course was to study current trends in photography and see whether they influence our own photography.

This lesson was both easy and hard for me. Hard because I can’t relate to it very well, and easy because the short answer is simple: No. Then hard again, because clearly that answer is not sufficient!

I’ve never been accused of being trendy, except jokingly. I seldom even know what the latest trends are, so if I occasionally happen to appear au currant it’s generally accidental rather than intentional. Whether in fashion, home decor, or music, my taste tends to run to the conservative, classic, and comfortably familiar.

Prior to taking this e-course, I only followed a couple of photography blogs. I’ve been introduced to many more through this class and the Liberate Your Art postcard swap. One trend I have noticed is post-processing for special effects, whether it be layering on textures, altering the color, or applying edges or frames to an image. While I admire others’ creative results, I’ve never tried any of these things myself, nor have I (yet) felt any desire to. (This will be no surprise to those who have read my previous posts.)

For this assignment I also looked at some nature, wildlife, and travel photography blogs. I saw a lot of wide angle photography with closeup foreground areas enlarged by lens distortion, macro shots with very shallow depth of field, and lots of “milky” flowing water. I don’t see these as new trends, since I recall similar techniques from photography books and magazines that I was reading back in the 1970’s and ’80’s. I noticed that particular photographers tend to use certain angles or techniques more than others do, but I think that is related more to personal style than trends.

When I look through my own photo archives, the only trends I notice are related to the materials available to me at the time. My skills have (I hope) improved, but the subject matter hasn’t really changed much over the years. I photograph what I have access to and interest in. Nature and travel have always been themes. What seems a lifetime ago, I documented my kids and family activities. My earliest photos are in black and white because that was what I had. Later I switched to color film, then slides, and another brief B&W phase when my husband had a darkroom in our home.

In the fullness of time, I moved over to digital photography. I love its spontaneity and the freedom it allows me to shoot anything I want, as much as I want, without worry about the cost of processing. But I’m still striving to capture what I see and feel. So far, I’ve had no desire to try to alter my images in an “artistic” sort of way. Those of my photos that look like streaky old Polaroids really are streaky old Polaroids, and the ones with the “seventies processing” actually were processed in the ’70’s. Back then, those were considered flaws. Why would I want today’s photos to look like that?

Part of me longs for the simplicity of older times, as reflected in the image above. Could this image be made to appear more “period” by applying some cool, current editing tools to it? I suppose so. But I really like it just as it is.

For now, I’ll continue to follow my heart, and let others follow theirs.  Who knows, maybe in 30 or 40 years I’ll be trendy.  If it can happen to seventies processing… !

Note – I chose this image particularly in honor of today’s anniversary. Not that we could ever forget . . . .


10 thoughts on “Trendy? Not So Much.

  1. Lovely post, Lee. It seems that in looking for trends, you found more of your personal style and further defined what is important to you in your photography. I’m glad you are following your heart! I also think it’s great that you identified some elements of the different genres, like wide angle, etc. It’s good practice for refining your “eye” to notice and identify those elements in others photographs.

  2. I enjoyed reading this. This one assignment from the class has me stumped, but I’m working on it. Your words here have helped me not only to see your style but to look more closely at my own.

  3. Lee,
    I admire that you kept digging deeper after your initial “no” response – it’s so easy to just stop there and not take the time to really analyze the reasons behind our reaction. But you have so clearly thought through your feelings on this issue and explained it so well.

    So many times it is easier to go along with the latest “thing” rather than ignoring it and standing firm on what is meaningful to you. Which is the only thing that matters – that your images speak for you, from your heart.

  4. Lee, first off, I love your photo! Photos with a nostalgic feel touch me! I’m still working on mine. I’m like you, it’s tough, because I’m not trendy either. Guess I’ll be looking around to see what the trends are. Love the way you expressed your feelings. This has helped me think about mine!

  5. Hey Neighbor-
    This is a pretty image, and so timely for the day of post. No one will forget.
    I liked how you tackled this topic. I think I am like you and not very trendy. For all we know, people are copying US! Wouldn’t that be a hoot!
    I think if you stay true to your heart it is the best thing to do. If it pleases you and you’re happy with it, then others will like it to, or not, and it doesn’t really matter. Glad we “met” through this course. Hope you’ll be taking the next installment in October. I am.

  6. Really like this image too. And some interesting thoughts on trends and your reaction to them.

  7. I learned from your post too. It is great that the question helped you define your own style. Your photo is a classic — beautiful!

  8. Hey Neighbor…I too found this exercise tricky to complete. I think you were insightful to notice that the subjects or your images may in fact be a type of trend. I didn’t think of that.
    This is a lovely image that has a great mood and sets a scene. You seem to be very good at doing that.
    I hope you will be taking the Oct course, but if not, please stay in touch through blogs. How great to have a neighbor who is also a blogger.

  9. Fantastic image! It’s always good to ask these kinds of questions (that’s why I love this course so much!) – we can get a good sense of ourselves through these types of questions. A never ending learning process. 🙂
    Can’t wait to see more of your work in the next installment of FYE! 🙂

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