Having a studio and gallery in a public venue (The Torpedo Factory Art Center) has really been a blessing. I know of no other venue where I could gain first hand knowledge of how people respond to my work. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction; be it with collectors, other photographers or just John Q public. It's quite gratifying. Much better than getting feedback from my uncle Morris, who thinks I am a genius and more talented than Picasso!
Aside from the typical questions about what kind of camera I use and is it digital or film, (BTW: I'm still a film guy), many times people ask about my inspiration ... what led me to photograph certain subject matter? I often hear, "I've photographed the same thing, but mine looks nothing like that." Or, I've seen that before, but never quite like that." The conversation usually progresses to how I identify new subject matter. Images of Washington, D.C. landmarks and European architecture and landscapes abound in my work. Why, because I'm passionate about them. I love my city, DC, and I love the whole European thing too. I guess you could say I am passionate about my subject matter. My goal has always been to communicate this passion through my images. If I were not as passionate about my subject matter as I am, I am sure my imagery would show that lack of passion. I strongly believe that if we photograph something we have strong feelings about, those feelings and passion will shine through.
Most of us have begun our photographic journeys making images of landscapes, portraits, flowers and architecture. My friend, Jim Steele has always used the expression, "first we imitate, then we innovate." How true! We have all been there and done that. Once we get proficient at the technical and aesthetic aspect of photography, it's time to get serious. Keep in mind, there is a lot more to photography than cameras and Photoshop. Just like there is a lot more to painting than canvas and brushes. Start thinking in terms of concept and how to communicate your vision.
Suggestion ... follow your gut. Ask yourself "what do I feel passionate about ... I mean, what is it that you are most drawn to?" Is it a person, a location, a game, a thing, or a concept? I think most of us can easily identify our passions. Next, go out and photograph it. I bet the images will be really good ... and you will be on the way to expressing yourself through photography.