Photograph above taken at Lake George, NY with a Leica M240
What is Artistic Style?
Artistic style can loosely be defined as a combination of personal interest in a particular subject matter, the techniques the artist employs in their work, and the tools they use to execute their art. For example, I currently consider myself a landscape photographer. This is not my style, but rather the genre that I work within. However, my approach to photographing landscapes, the subject matter I choose, and the particular camera, lens, etc. depict my artistic style. It's a combination of these elements that make my images unique and identifiable to me.
Over the years, I’ve had a large number of photographers ask me how they should go about developing their own artistic style. While there is no clear answer to such a complicated and personal question, my advice to them has always been the same. First master the art of composition and learn as much as you can about classical skill-based art. Once you have invested the appropriate amount of time to learn the necessary skills in your chosen craft, you can then explore the idea of artistic freedom and personal expression. Over time, what you will discover is that once you have built a strong foundation of knowledge on art and design, your artistic style will develop on its own with little to no effort.
Below are several examples demonstrating my "artistic style" when I shoot candid photographs. I tend to look for animated hand gestures or scenes that raise questions, have creative overlaps, visual movement, etc. - these qualities are uniquely identifiable with my work. More importantly, my artistic style is not something that I consciously think about while I'm photographing but instead developed naturally over time.
The series of photographs below were taken at an American Red Cross event.
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What Others Are Saying About Dynamic Symmetry Art "James Cowman's user's guide on composition and Dynamic Symmetry, in particular, was one of the greatest milestones on my journey of becoming a better artist. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is undoubtedly the best resource on the subject out there, which I keep recommending to anyone interested in taking their compositions to a new level. It shocks me that even otherwise excellent artists today often know nothing about these old systems and rely mostly on their intuition to create their compositions. It's time that artists rediscover and revive the lost knowledge of the old masters and bring art back to its former glory. Jame's user's guide is a unique and invaluable resource in this effort." - Storm Engineer
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As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people.
My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos.
I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
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I found myself repeatedly falling back on the Rule of Thirds, but this was becoming more of a hindrance rather than a help. Then one day I had the good fortune to stumble across the website Dynamicsymmetryart.com. There is no better teacher or resource on the internet regarding Dynamic Symmetry and best of all everything is free! I can assure you, once you begin to delve into the rich offerings on this site you won’t have any need to look elsewhere.
I, for one, can’t thank Jim enough for all the time and effort he has put into this and for taking my photography to the next level. His website and Youtube channel are both superb, and I'd like to thank him for sharing the knowledge on what is a very fascinating subject." - Tim B
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers.
Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher,Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio
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