Rip it up & Start Again

On Sunday I hit delete on my entire portfolio on the website and it felt strangely good! The site itself has been through many layouts and the latest one wasn't working great on smaller devices such as my 13 inch MacBook Pro, it was frustrating when I was trying to show anyone a shot from my book on it mid shoot and that's what got the ball rolling! But what started as me looking at different options actually brought to a head something that's been bugging me for a long time and that's my portfolio in general!

I've taken the design and layout to something cleaner and simpler again and just with a homepage slideshow of relevant work for now until I get the new portfolio together, leaving Timeless up as well as the blog. You can still access an archive of older work on my tumblr which has also been redesigned to fit the look of my main website and will be getting used more than it has been in the past.

It's not that it's bad, I don't suddenly hate it, I just feel it doesn't represent me anymore as an artist, I've changed, my style has moved on, some things I was once pursuing I no longer am or I'm shooting it in a different way to what I was two or three years ago. Things change, we grow creatively and though I'm still proud and happy with a particular image or story it doesn't necessarily mean it should stay in my book but I think because it's good work and because I know the work & time that went into that particular job or editorial I felt obliged to keep it in there, I've been too attached to it to let it go. It's not everything but it's a large majority of work that is over a year or 18 months old. It's weird to look back over the past few years, jobs, tests and editorials as a whole and see glimpses of the kind of style I'm producing now, it was there all along, bubbling under the surface in between shoots I thought I needed for my book or others wanted for their's and I just went along with.

I retouch less now as well, obviously there are commercial jobs that are clean and a client wants the perfection, for me if it's personal work I like the natural, I like the imperfections, everyone gets the odd spot and I'll get shot of that but I no longer dodge & burn so the skin is flawless, I don't want to see that an image has been retouched so if I no longer do that as a rule  (unless that's for a client and then I'll generally pass that onto a retoucher where possible) so then, does a photograph that has had that done because back then I though it had to be retouched to that level belong in my book anymore? Here's an example that illustrates the then and now and why I've been so brutal on my work...

Beauty image 2013

Beauty image 2013

Beauty image 2016

Beauty image 2016

Ok so image number one, which I still love, Stacey has great skin BUT I'd bet I spent an hour or probably more on retouching this shot. Image number two is a jewellery client job and I know this took me maybe 15 to 20 minutes, again Imogen has great skin but 3 years ago I'd have lightened all those dark areas in the skin for a perfectly even, flawless look & that would have ruined the shot! So as much as I love the first image I know it no longer has a place in my book but the attachment is still there so a comparison like this helps me to be brutally honest about it all. I also look at it and know I'd have probably lit that first one differently now. It's kind of a shame to ditch work you still like but I know I have to do it or I will never be happy with my portfolio.

Here's another example and again it's beauty, I can't imagine even thinking about shots in this style a few years ago, I ditched the flash for window light, very narrow depth of field to the point of barely in focus, not necessarily ideal for all clients for commercial purposes but that depends on the client, not everyone wants that traditional perfect beauty, the point is the change in style.

Anyway I think I've made my point, I don't blog as often as I'd like but then I don't see the point in writing random shit for the sake of it either, I write when the mood takes me, this was as much for me to spill out for myself as anything, to document it I guess but I know from reading other blogs that some things we're all going through or coming across so if this helps someone in a similar position then it was worth sitting up until nearly 3am rambling on about the thought process and rationalisation of what I did today.