"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

Outside Influence In Your Photography. Time To Eliminate It?

My thoughts, … opinion.

1. One of the most important steps that I ever took in my so called “quest” to become a better photographer, was to join in on the many photography forums that you can find on the internet.
Within those forums that are dedicated to certain areas of photography you are interested in, you are taught by many. You receive various answers to your questions from many helpful individuals who have far more experience than you, and many times, you receive honest feedback on the images you have created. And as I have said in the past, it is a much better avenue to take than trying to learn photography from viewing other blogs or blogging yourself, where learning is less effective and honesty leaves a lot to be desired.

© 2007 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
“Daisy” – Abstract


2. I tried it, … and for me, … it worked!
Probably the greatest step that I ever took in that quest of mine, was to virtually eliminate all outside influence from other photographers, … even from those who helped me out so much in finding the right path to take.

In certain ways it is much like a parent, who teaches their child all of the things that they need to know in order to make it in life. Many say that it is the parent who finally lets them go on their way. Actually, … a parent never lets go. It is the child who cuts themselves loose to venture out, and to make it on their own with the knowledge that has been given. It is time for them to shake things up and make their own world, their own life. That child has now become an adult, still somewhat influenced by their parents, will become influenced by others, but eventually will create their own way of life by eliminating some of the influence that now exists in their lives.
In some related ways, not eliminating that outside influence whether it be from viewing other photographer’s work online, in a art gallery, or visiting those forums, can keep your mind in some other individual’s world. Would you not like to create your own world instead, … something that is purely “you”?
What I am saying here really has nothing to do with creating your own style of photography, but a step that I feel is needed long before you can even think of finding your own style. Sort of like a divorce before the renewal.

There will always be a touch of influence from others in my photography, much like the parent/child relationship.
But, I think in order for one to grow with their photography, I believe there is a point where you need to see how much you can inspire yourself on a consistant basis.
Can you take everything that you have learned and move on, all on your own?
Can you create work that strictly comes from deep within with no outside influence, something new, straight from the heart, from your own soul?
If you have a problem in creating, can you figure why, all on your own?
Again, … can you use your vision of this world that you live in and create from it, … with no outside influence?
Can you actually clear your mind and start something fresh?

I have been very happy from reading various e-mails received during the past 4 years or so, the writings in forums about my work, and some of the phone calls I have received. It makes me feel good that I have inspired others.
But, if you would like to persue photography and make a business out of it or simply to become very good with it as a hobby, and possibly to set yourself apart from the rest, personally, I think that you need to cut me loose as well.
Take from me what you can, … learn from it, … get yourself to where you feel very confident with what you are doing and creating, … then move on.
When I see you at some point down the road achieving what you have long desired, … know that I will lift a filled glass to you, … and always with a smile!

Eliminating outside influence in photography does work.
Well, … at least it did for me!

“Macro Art In Nature”


August 14, 2007 - Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hiking, horticulture, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop | , , , , ,


  1. as always.. very inspiring :) … thank you for sharing …

    Comment by Natalie | August 14, 2007

  2. “Ahh you talkin’ to me?!?” :-) I see your point Michael. For now, inspiration from the web is a daily thing for me. I can see in the future that this may not be the case. Also for me though, the advice that I get from the forums is very helpful, though I like the style that I shoot in enough that I make minor changes – not extreme ones.


    Comment by Nathan Buck | August 14, 2007

  3. Thanks guys!

    Nate ol’ buddy, … you’re just fine, … believe me.

    It’s just that I think that individuals at some point need to step away from any kind of influence to see what they can do on their own.
    Many have had their training wheels on for a long time.
    Those training wheels influenced many little things in their mind as they happily rode along, not really thinking much about what was guiding them, holding them up.
    Take those training wheels off, and the rider will start to think differently and make different decisions than they would have if the training wheels were still on.

    I took mine off a long time ago.
    If I put those training wheels back on, (visiting forums and other photographer’s websites, etc., day after day without fail), those subtle influences of theirs could turn me right back into the same path that I was on.
    After removing those training wheels, the directions and/or decisions I made thereafter were stunning. Well, …. at least to me they were! :)
    Nothing wrong with the ocassional visit to any site at all, but I feel a day after day after day of the same thing, the same sites, can possibly get you in a rut of sorts with the same day after day influence.
    For some of us who has been shooting for a long time, we will eventually figure all of this out on our own, about what we need to do.
    For someone new in the world of photography, it is something they should think about. To think about what point they need to strike out on their own and to see if they can do this on their own.

    Anyway, it simply is something one should try for awhile to see what happens.
    Take a month or two away from everything, and see what comes from within.

    Hope I have made some kind of sense today. I’m tired!

    Thanks again for visiting gang,

    Comment by macroartinnature | August 14, 2007

  4. I couldn’t agree more. Although I’m still not sure I have anything that resembles a unique style, I do know that I’ll never achieve it if I follow the “I would have xxx..” suggestions one often recieves.

    Personally, I don’t need to be a crowd pleaser by posting shots I know (hope) people will like or by commenting on every shot I see so I receive one in return. These things don’t make me a better photographer.

    Instead, I do what feels right at the time and see if it sails or sinks. It’s a bumpier ride, but it is fun and I learn something new every day.

    That said – I must admit that I find much inspiration in what others produce, particularly when the skills I’m witnessing are far beyond my own skills and ambitions. It is one of the reasons why I enjoy visiting this blog. I love looking at photgraphs and am constantly amazed by what I see. Sometimes they spawn an idea that I decide to try out in my own stuff. But there is no point in copying…what’s unique about that?

    I fully support discarding those training wheels and seeing what happens. Take a break if you’re out of steam. Try something new. Take a thousand pictures that suck. Take one that does and be very happy.

    Comment by peter | August 15, 2007

  5. Just found this on Luminous Landscape – looks like an interesting read: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/Exercising-Creativity.shtml

    Comment by peter | August 15, 2007

  6. Nice article and very true. It’s only when I went my own way I began to really progress.

    Comment by David | August 15, 2007

  7. Your work is definitely inspiring, as are your thoughts and insight.

    Emulating only goes so far and it is important to go your own way. I often wonder about particular “styles”. I don’t really think I have a particular style. Maybe I will some day but I don’t think I do at the moment.

    Comment by Laurie | August 15, 2007

  8. Your Daisy is lovely. It might be my lack of exposure to other photographers doing your thing, but I detect a MB-style in most of your images. They are pretty sweet!

    Comment by Svein-Frode | August 15, 2007

  9. I have many mixed feelings about internet critique forums. I think they are wonderful if you see images that are posted there and you want to learn how to do much of the same thing. It also takes a lot of time investment because many have a quid-pro-quo atmosphere – you comment on mine, I comment on your image settings. It is rare you get in depth comments. But if everyone were to ‘cut loose’ – you might see a lot of people move on from forum participation.

    In fact, it may even lead to continual repetition where the long timers move on – and newbies move in only to repeat the same learning and growth process.

    Anyway, it is good food for thought Michael – and a good way to looking at trying to do things your own way.

    Comment by Mark | August 15, 2007

  10. A beautiful image and a povocative thought, all in one. Typical Michael Brown. Enjoyed both, the picture and reading.

    Comment by Viktor | August 15, 2007

  11. Since leaving the blogging world seven months ago, I have come to realize that absence from outside influence and having more time for photography and developing my own eye & style have been the best thing I could do for this passion of mine. Your words are very true, and while folks may think it’s too difficult to do and they would miss the feedback and experience of sharing with so many each day…the truth is, it is limiting after awhile. We know in our heart of hearts whether our photo is good or not; and as you wrote, we cannot grow if we don’t step out on our own. Think of all those hours every week wasted sitting in front of a computer monitor viewing other people’s work instead of standing/crouching/bending behind a camera letting your creativity run wild. Are we photographers or do we only admire photography?

    Comment by micki | August 16, 2007

  12. All so true, and all very needed.
    Thanks. I’ve been thinking along those lines for the past month and taking time to fill a notebook with possibilities. Going to stick my neck out and focus more on marketing. Scary place to be, but a next step.

    Stay well. You’ve been a great teacher to many and I expect that’ll continue. I admire your work and your genuine appreciation for people, Mike.

    Comment by Photo Buffet | August 16, 2007

  13. I have no doubt that my images are the mostly the result of doing and not viewing. It is only when I go out and create new images that I really learn about the photographic process and what excites me personally. The act of visual exploration and creation is the best teacher. That said, I continue to explore the works of others not just in photography but in all visual mediums. It is an important part of my everyday creative process. I know that my work has been influenced by others, maybe by every image I’ve ever seen, by the music I listen to, the books I read, the people I talk with (you know Ansel Adams’ quote right?). I am the product of both my unique internal and unique external biology (nature and nurture). The important thing is to be honest about who I am and not try or even want to be someone else.

    Comment by Paul Grecian | August 16, 2007

  14. Sound advice, Michael! :-) Thanks for that.Lovely picture too!

    Comment by Thalia | August 19, 2007

  15. Thanks again everyone for your thoughts on this.
    Again, I do think at some point, stepping away can be so beneficial.
    At some point, … give it a try. Might work out for the better! :)

    Comment by macroartinnature | August 23, 2007

  16. First, I LOVE the pink daisy photo. It looks like glass.
    Second, I am on the same “quest” as you, fishing around for others’ input, checking out forums (and blogs), etc. I am looking for ideas and inspiration, obviously, but I am also trying to find my own style. I got some very detailed feedback today from somebody who was the least excited by photos that I was the most excited by. But I don’t want to let his words or his opinion deflate me. I have to remember, as I was taking those photos, I was absolutely loving the process. It was very freeing for me.

    Comment by Deina | August 27, 2007

  17. I have a theory that a person (be it photography or anything else creative) needs to learn the basics before they can put their own stamp of creativity on their work; and in the process of learning the basics they try to emulate the work of others. And we all know that imitation is the highest form of compliment! ;-)

    I would love to emulate you, but I just don’t see the world the same way as you; or if I do I interpret it differently!

    Comment by Roberta | August 29, 2007

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

  • Meta

  • %d bloggers like this: