Sometimes Jerry Ghionis just makes me sick. He's always winning awards, getting all kinds of acclaim, gets the beautiful girl, and even jumps in with the band as lead singer. But truth is, he's a great guy and is a genuinely good photographer. Regardless of what one may think of WPPI awards or award shows in general, it's quite a feat for one photographer to win Album of the Year year after year as Jerry has done.
What I like about Jerry's current album is that he's found a new way to present an old subject (that being weddings). I'm not sure I'm sold on his style here, but I do admire his quest to continually best himself and find new ways of expression. You can check out his album and related thoughts on his blog.
One thing in his post that impressed me was his reference to Los Angeles based artist David Hockney as his source inspiration. For those not familiar with Hockney, his Polaroid collages made during the 80's helped to establish photography as a viable form of fine art. The fact that this established fine artist chose photography as a medium really helped to elevate photography as a whole. Specifically, his Pearblossom Highway collage (viewable on Hockney's home page) is not only Hockney's masterpiece, it's one of the seminal works in the collage art form.
One thing that I talk about in my seminars is the importance of seeking out inspiration from the art world. I'm always a bit amazed and depressed at how few hands go up when I ask about who has recently purchased an art book or gone to view a gallery exhibition. The beauty of investigating what's taking place in fine art circles is that it opens us up to new styles and means of expression.
Unfortunately, most of us are content to copy Jerry Ghionis or whoever else is out there doing good wedding photography. However, if we really want to stand apart from the crowd, it's important to look beyond wedding photography and seek out inspiration from all corners of the photography and art worlds. Part of Jerry's success comes from the fact that he's diligently seeking new inspiration that other wedding photographers aren't. Meanwhile, everyone else is trying to copy him. It's no surprise why his work stands out.
Your work can stand out too, but you've gotta work at it. In future posts, I'll suggest some artists and photographers to look to as you further your process of discovery.