Artistic Portrait – Is a copy bad?

Edmonton photographer, Daryl Benson has been one of the photographers I truly admire…I am always fascinated by his artistic images.  His images are super original. It is like Thelonious Monk who is considered to be one of the pioneers of Be-bop (one of Jazz styles post swing era). His unique approach of piano play and his music was also called “Monk music”. However, I have never tried Daryl’s methods even though I felt to creating images like his works. To be honest, I am afraid of bing a copycat. So I had just concluded and told myself “Just be an artist like him”. But how can I learn his technique and such matchless creativity without coping?

About 3 weeks ago, I attended Professional Photographers of Canada meeting and the guest speaker was Darton Drake, amazing portrait photographer from U.S. I was so moved by his philosophy and attitude toward photography and arts. Great artists always have many astonishing episodes, and we can learn from their stories. His portraits were so outstanding and only one of its kind. I am sure that words can describe only a little about his art, so please visit his web-site, http://www.dartondrake.com/.

Then I signed up the workshop by Darton and Shelly Vandervelde. He showed us his way of the photo processing, every steps from the file came from camera to the complete work of his artistic portraits. He mentioned that copy was not bad and it was necessary (but not submit images to competitions or put on sales….make sense to me).  I felt relieved. Well…think about other art-forms, everybody has to copy one point. Artists have to break the shell of the comfortable zone. I knew “copy” is the only way to expand horizon, especially when we find such inimitable artistic styles.

So I tried! This image was taken as an ice-break shot for students at the workshop Janice Meyers Foreman and I had in June. I had only 5 minutes window before students started shooting, and it was studio portraits. I had to give up the shooting before my creativity kicked in. But I think I could turn the image to something I can share, I obviously applied the processing techniques I learned at Darton and Shelly’s workshop . My confession would be…this attempt is against my policy. I should visualize the final result, even partially, before clicking a shutter button instead of using Darton’s methods as a rescue technique.
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Model: Choco Sparks

I know I have to try this methods again and again, and hopefully, I can develop my own methods and styles. I think  I will have more sleepless nights.

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