Gettin' in Good with Your Aesthetic
Mustering up and cultivating my own specific aesthetic and style is something I’ve been tripping over lately. My work seems to go in all too many directions, as I keep dabbling in different mediums that excite me. I haven’t felt further away from a clear consistency in my work or an established style. And at the very least, it’s frustrating and summons doubt and question — am I truly defining myself as an artist with authenticity?
I found Amelia Fletcher, an excitingly drool-worthy photographer, through my friend Adé. He would comment on how well he finds that Amelia is able to remain consistent in representing her work with a defined specific style — maintaining her own aesthetic throughout.
Amelia: In the beginning, when I was first starting, someone suggested pulling inspiration — creating a Pinterest board or saving images in a folder, adding to it all the time, and pulling from that. Trying to figure out ‘why’ I liked something. What exactly I liked about it, pull that and use it on my own. That’s part of being an artist. You pull things from a lot of different sources and all of those little things add together to inspire you.
Amelia spoke about the importance of branding. Having attended a mentor session with a photographer she admired, she was encouraged to write down a list of things that were important to her. Eventually narrowing it down to 10, then to 5, etc — she then translated them to her brand. Meaningful images that show emotion is something really important to Amelia, so she’s always looking for those things in images. “Does it make me feel something? Does it have good light? Have I edited it in a way that I want my brand to look like? Does it fit with my other work?”
A: Finding your style is something that evolves over time. At first, you have to experience and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The biggest challenge is not getting down about it, not looking at other artists and comparing yourself and thinking “man, they’re so great, how do I get to that point?” Rather, you have to look at them and think, “they’re so great, what makes them so great? Why do I like this work so much?” I have so many different artists and so many different types of art that inspire me, that, in the beginning, was really tough. A few years ago, I was doing very different work than I’m doing now. It was a different style than I’m doing now and thats okay. I think that’s important to the creative process to try to keep things fresh.
The editing process helps Amelia stay in tune with her aesthetic. She uses presets to keep things cohesive and asks along the way, “does this fit the aesthetic that I’m going for?” If there’s something that you’re working on that doesn’t quite resonate with the kind of work you’re trying to put out there, it’s okay to save that one for just yourself.
A: Be patient with yourself. It takes time and it’s a challenge. It doesn’t come easy for anyone ever. It’s just something you have to let evolve over time. It’s totally safe to play. I do think it’s good to narrow it down, so that your website isn’t loaded with tons of work. However, especially when just starting out, it’s okay to experiment, because that how you get to a point where you’re satisfied with your work. Post your best stuff. The more that you work, the easier it will come with those decisions — what to lose and what to post.
As artists, we’ve all created something that we are emotionally attached to. This can become blinding as to whether this is actually our best work or not. Always be asking for feedback, it’s invaluable. It can be daunting to ask for feedback on our own brand and aesthetic. Something that is so thoroughly tied to your own interests and personality, it’s hard to ask people for their feedback.
A: The world isn’t going to look at an image and see what ‘I’ see in it. When you’re emotionally connected to something, it’s easy to think it’s good work. You need to be able to ask your friends what should stay and what needs to go.