Make your Photography Stand out with Unusual Genres in Photography
With the large amount of amateur and semi-professional photographers that are constantly publishing their work on the internet, it has become difficult to really make your photography stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking for ways to make your photos stand out, an option would be to head towards creating interesting photos or videos, that stand out from the plethora of other images, due to their unusual nature.
What are Unusual Photography Genres
Unusual photography genres are a subset of the medium that creates unique photos by using location and nature in conjunction with non-traditional ideas, as a means to create pictures that stand out from everyday images.
Methods used within some unusual genres in photography include a focus on one color to create visual consistency, photographing from new angles to create meaning within a new and refreshing image, and even utilising in-camera special effect techniques to create a photograph that brings more to the table than a simple shot of a subject. These methods are simply tools for creating unusual photography.
However, in order to fully understand how and when to use these tools, a photographer must first understand where they came from and what they can be used to represent. When talking about unusual genres in photography, the main origins can be traced back to classical art movements from history that have been adapted into the photographic medium for the modern day.
“Impressionist artists weren’t interested in painting history, mythology, or the lives of great men, and they didn’t seek perfection in visual appearances”
What is Impressionism and can it Create Unique Photos?
Beginning of Impressionism
The search for new ways to create meaning within painting lead to beginning of the impressionist movement in the 1860s. In a painting context, impressionism is an artist’s drive to paint, very simply, what they see, think and feel.
Impressionist artists weren’t interested in painting history, mythology, or the lives of great men, and they didn’t seek perfection in visual appearances. Instead, as their name suggests, the Impressionists tried to get down on canvas an “impression” of how a landscape, thing, or person appeared to them at a certain moment in time. This often meant using much lighter and looser brushwork than painters had up until that point.
Impressionism in Photography
This artistic movement was adapted for photography by taking inspiration from the visual style of the movement and employing numerous in-camera techniques to replicate it, in an effort to express and impress emotions. One such tool is intentional camera movement, a popular technique used in some unusual genres in photography and favoured by many impressionists. Intentional camera movement is simply the intentional movement of the camera while the shutter is still on, creating a blurred picture through slow shutter speeds.
A photographer can pan the camera on a horizontal or vertical plane and create beautiful impressionist landscape photography of similar frames. This gives the photographer the freedom to experiment with the lines of creativity and create unusual photographs that are guaranteed to stand out.
“Surrealists sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination.”
What is Surrealism and can it Create Unique Photos?
Another very influential art movement that photographers can learn from and adapt into their own work is that of surrealism. Surrealism is an artistic movement that flourished in Europe between World Wars I and II, as a response to the geo-political climate at the time. Surrealists sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination.
Showing contempt for rationalism and literary realism, and powerfully influenced by psychoanalysis, the Surrealists believed the rational mind repressed the power of the imagination, weighing it down with taboos. At its most basic, the imagery depicted within surrealism is outlandish, perplexing, and even uncanny, as it is meant to jolt the viewer out of their comforting assumptions.
Surrealism in Photography
Just like impressionism, this artistic movement was adapted for photography by taking inspiration from the visual style of the movement and employing numerous in-camera techniques to replicate it. Some of the techniques associated with surrealism are photomontage, which means joining two or more photos together to make it look like they are a single picture, and the Sabattier effect, where partially developed film which is exposed to light, resulting in the reversal of shadows and highlights, which leads to a high level of contrast in an image.
The overarching theme of surrealism, regardless of techniques used, is to draw on your own reserves of weirdness, being comfortable with expressing your unconscious and being a bit strange.
Like other genres in photography, it rewards practice, study, and professional experience, so if you wish to improve your surrealist, impressionist, or unusual photography, then you should get out there and get practicing. There is no better way to have your photography noticed than by going out and practicing your craft until your photography is too good for anyone to easily pass over.
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