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Are You an Eccentric Photographer?

By its definition, to be eccentric is to be unique in such a way that it defines you. Maybe to the point others question your sanity, but the beauty of being eccentric is the inability to be concerned with such trivial gossip and judgment. Besides, what creative endeavor is worth the time if it is merely a 'cookie cutter' representation of everyone else? If you are struggling to find your style, maybe you should consider if you are truly being yourself. As a photographer, the ability to stand out in an over saturated market is paramount. Are you eccentric enough to be yourself when everyone says to be something else? 

Eccentric: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eccentric

What classifies an eccentric photographer? The obvious truth is confidence and the ability to continuously define your character by your actions and creations.

Here are ten humorous examples:

1. You march to your own drum often taking photos of ordinary subjects in common locations and capturing something fabulous. While others would be standing to compose, you are on the ground twisted like a pretzel for the best angle. You know that to stand out doesn't always mean to stand up. What you see isn't always what you get. Your motto is to capture what you see, even if it means seeing it from an uncomfortable location. Yet despite this, you know that safety is key and are never in true danger.

2. When someone has an idea that normally means they are turned away, you not only get excited, you immediately start planning. You gather props and imagine ways to make their idea so fabulous that it could never be replicated. For you, truly eccentric ideas are playgrounds of possibilities. Freedom to create what you imagine and bring a new vision to reality.

3. When you purchase a new lens or equipment, you are as giddy as a child with a new toy and it doesn't leave your side. Ever. Even going to work or just across the house or to do yard work. Honestly, it 's like your new puppy or kitten that must be consistently played with in order to be happy. Wait, for you to be happy not the lens...right?

4. Your photographic addiction is so strong that your spouse is secretly considering hiding, selling or destroying all cameras in the house. Too bad they'll forget about your iPhone! The irony in this is that technology has drastically improved to the point that its becoming increasingly easier to capture beauty via a cell phone and harder to determine which reality was captured with a tiny phone vs. an expensive DSLR. Too bad you can't just purchase Google Glass (http://www.google.com/glass/start/). No one would suspect a thing you dastardly and stylish undercover photographer from the future!

5. You never pass up a moment. No matter how embarrassing or how extreme the weather, if you are inspired it is forever documented whether via your point & shoot, DSLR or camera phone. You truly cannot allow yourself to miss a moment or it drives you insane. You long for that image so strongly that you will do everything to capture it even if it means standing motionless in the hot sun or freezing snow. You risk your sanity and health, but never doubt your intentions for a second. You truly believe in your goal and no one can deter you. Not even the elements.

6. Your daily routine involves waking by capturing photos of the sunrise, capturing your breakfast for Instagram (before you even sit to eat!), the cat in the window or other monotonous subjects that rarely are considered interesting on a daily basis. You find beauty in so many things in the world. You are a proud addict with no intention of entering rehab...even if your most expensive possession is your equipment. You must daily photograph whether with a cell phone or a DSLR to prevent insanity. You document life in a whole new way that's just your style.

7. You create magic with even the cheapest cameras. DSLR? Who needs to spend amounts akin to multiple mortgage payments on the latest technology? It's not like it's the camera taking the shots. Seriously, it's all about the photographer, not the gear. True, shiny new gear can capture images easier, but without the correct talent and knowledge its nothing more than a rusty old film camera with broken lenses and light leaks. Wait, I forgot...you make even THAT look cool. Point is, do not doubt yourself. Never decide that you are a failure because you can't afford or haven't obtained the latest and the greatest new gear. Be happy with what you have and don't change it unless you have to replace a damaged or lost piece of your collection. Just as an artist with paintbrushes, you must realize that sometimes your gear is warn, but your talent will enable you to still create beauty regardless of the challenge.

8. Your wardrobe and decorating style is rather eccentric as it tends to be boho chic (for even your home is a session location), has that comfortable lived-in look resulting from not enough time for obsessive cleaning or you go on a shoot dressed for an African safari adventure even though you're just going across town to the local park. Your sexy and you know it. You rock your style like a model because everyone you meet is a potential client. You embrace your sense of individuality and desire to capture and encourage that in all your subjects. Even to the point of posing exactly how you want your client to pose, despite looking or feeling silly.

9. You have the frugal ability to create photographic tools from ordinary objects. Coffee filter? Great flash diffuser! Automotive window visor? Handy portable reflector! Money is a commodity for the famous and rich photographers. An eccentric photographer takes great photos even when their gear looks worn, is used or even handmade. Physical gear perfection is a sign of a lazy photographer stuck the routine of trying too hard to be perfect. You are not afraid to try new things or design new and better tools to create your masterpiece!

10. Even your website is eccentric for you are a self-proclaimed hacker spending many sleepless nights creating only what suits you. Forget the simplicity of hiring a designer. You are unique and ever changing and want your online presence to reflect that. No cookie cutter website would ever work for you. You consistently change your outlook on the world and your photographic style to suit your changing taste, so your website and portfolio must reflect that or you feel you are missing an important and critical detail. Not to mention the sheer amount of work to attempt to organize and share. Your work is like an onion posted online for the world to browse.

In the end, to truly be an eccentric photographer, you must embrace your style of work just as much as you embrace your personality and individual style. When you merge your reality with the creative vision you possess, your work will stand out more because you are displaying your passion to the world. Never fear the critiques of others. For they are guidance to learn to listen to your inner voice. Be true to yourself in your work, without fear or doubt and your eccentric style will inspire others. 

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:49 am

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