What Are You Looking For When You Look Through the Viewfinder? / by Mike Stacey


This article is a snippet from a larger article that explores how to achieve your personal voice as an artistic photographer. The full article is in Vanilla Life Issue #2, which will be out soon - 15% discount for all newsletter subscribers. More specifically it discusses how to find what it is you're looking for when you look through the viewfinder, and then how to go about creating the images that represent whatever it is you are looking for. It's for mature photographers looking to take their work beyond a visual snapshot of reality into a more artistic space and it's based within the context of shooting a muse or model. 

I always think back to something a gallery owner said to me years ago. “Your work is fantastic Mike, technically perfect in every way, but any technically proficient photographer could have taken it - what are you saying with your photographs?” This is a fairly typical comment from a gallery owner/curator, or from any art critic for that matter, and it made me think long and hard (after getting over the initial shock!). Art galleries need to see meaning and depth in work, they care little about aesthetics and beauty if that’s all there is to it.

Whether it’s painting, sculpture or photography, an artist’s personal style revolves around what they feel, how they see, and what they look for - inside themselves and in life. Many think it’s the particular editing style (photography), or colour palette choice (painting) that gives the work it’s final look. That helps, but it’s only a very small component of an artist’s personal style. 

Article continued in Vanilla Life Issue #2, where I provide a 4 step approach to achieving your personal artistic style. Issue #1 is available here - print or digital download versions available.

Personal Mentoring

I am available as a personal mentor to help photographers develop to the next level. You work on your own projects and I provide goals and exercises for you to complete each month. We review the work together and I provide feedback and guidance to the next phase of development. I'm also available for limited time during the mentoring period on an informal basis via email or Facebook messenger. 

References are available from photographers who have been a part of a mentoring program. I do love this style of teaching/tutoring - don't hesitate to drop me a line if you'd like to know more about it.

Just get in touch via the contact page on my website.

A group of happy photographers! The lovely folks who attended the one day Photographic Art Nude course at WEA College in Sydney last month. This course was written and tutored by Lauren Michelle and myself and was the first course of its kind in the country as far as we know.