Why are clichés in film photography so tempting? This is an inevitable question everyone faces when they begin shooting, and even after years sometimes we can't resist them. Nonetheless, online photography forums are loud and critical of anything perceived as a cliché. These online spaces can be harsh to fellow photographers, but we can also see their points. Whether you’re bothered by them or not, it’s true that clichés exist in the analogue community.
Perhaps the reason these clichés seem so abundant is because film photography has evolved from being the only form of photography to record life, to a more specific photographic choice, and the prevalence of certain “aesthetics.”
Learn From Others
When we are confronted with clichés, there are a few factors that influence our picture making. On the one hand, we are simply attracted by attractive images. They capture our attention and they might even be the reason we started photography, or got back into it.
This attraction makes us want to emulate what we see and admire, and set a standard for ourselves. Perhaps we believe that if we can master what we love, we can get the same amount of success or recognition that others receive.
There is most certainly some value in the idea of replication. It can be a good practice when learning. However, it has also resulted in an overabundance of identical images as we have a tendency to feel the need to share all of what we do online.
Therefore it is beneficial to try to move a step further. If you are attracted by subjects that are widely photographed, challenge yourself to try to explore new angles, light conditions, and so on, like the photos from Lomographers in this article. Add something unique to your images. This exercise will help you improve your sense of vision and build a unique point of view. It is mandatory to cultivate your creativity and help you avoid being an average shooter.
Learn It The Hard Way
When trying to understand the factors that might influence a photographer's subject choice, we must take into consideration that analogue photography requires a certain level of confidence. While with a digital camera, you can shoot the same thing until your card is full, the limitation in film comes first of all with the frame count.
With film you can't simply look into your camera screen and check your photos. The uncertainty of the workflow narrows the possibility of coming home with a successful set of images. Therefore another big factor in clichés is the level of uncertainty and difficulty that shooting analogue requires.
This probably discourages photographers from trying new things. By learning by heart the rules that govern photography we can be more confident shooters and start adventuring towards shooting in various unconventional situations.
Yes, the cost of the film has risen and is still rising. 2023 will not be remembered as the year of the bargain. This certainly makes it even more difficult to get out of our comfort zone. But still, if we want to create meaningful photos that we will cherish, shouldn't we try to push ourselves beyond clichés?
Which are the clichés that are flooding your social channels? Share your thoughts in the comments below.