Confessions of a Serial Photographer
October 31, 2012
Neither bedwetting nor torturing pets and small animals was ever my thing. I was always fascinated with fire, but I never became a pyromaniac. So, how did I become a “serial photographer?” Some of my harsher critics may complain that I’ve killed many subjects with my camera, but fortunately I have more admirers that constantly encourage me. So I keep on shooting.
That, according to Harald Mante is an important feature of serial photography – you can shoot whenever and wherever you like – just keep shooting. It helps to have a category of subjects in mind, such as stairs, old barns, socks, locks, clocks, blocks; the subjects are endless. Be sure to remember your chosen subjects when you’re out on the road. Travel photography is a an ideal opportunity for serial photography. Wouldn’t you like a photo of a church steeple from every town you visit?
Right from the first page of his latest book, Serial Photography: Using Themed Images to Improve Your Photographic Skills,Mante reminds us that it is important to distinguish between “serial” images and “sequential” images. Sequential images depict the stages of change in a subject over time, such as a building under construction or a flower’s bloom decomposing into a wilted collection of dead petals. Serial images, however, represent a collection of similar subjects with no necessary reference to time.
Need some examples or inspiration? Check out any of the thirty-five chapters, each of which represents a different subject ranging from objects to colors to shapes. The concluding chapter discusses tableaus and offers suggestions on how to display your collections.
So how does creating a series of images of the same subject make you a better photographer? One way is to avoid that endless search for “the” prize-winning image and another is to study with one of the best. Harald Mante has published numerous books including the classic reference book, The Photograph: Composition and Color Design.
My first novel, published by Caleb and Linda Pirtle,LLC, features a serial painter. She often paints landscapes and sunsets. Also to be found in The Tourist Killer are two serial killers. I suppose you can call a professional assassin that has killed over thirty times a serial killer – can’t you?