You Don’t Find Your Style, Your Style Finds You (And Reveals You!)

I am a believer in artists creating work that shows a bit about them, that reveals who they are. What we photograph and show says to others, “Look at this, this is what I made, what I think is valuable, what I want you to associate with me.”

We can make any number of kinds of photographs, but we don’t. Some people say they photograph everything, but they don’t. If you look at any photographer’s body of work, a concentration of types of photographs will become apparent. Sure, the nature shooter makes the occasional street photo, but it’s the far exception.

I am a documentary photographer, heavily influenced by my years working as an editorial photographer and photojournalist. That work is in me and shows in all the photographs I present.

I run a monthly event for photographers to come show their work, and the photographs that get screened are vastly different from one photographer to the other. I’ve often commented to them that what they show really reveals a lot about them. “Here’s what I think is good.” And they’re all so different.

It’s been said that if you tell me all the things you don’t like, if you complain about this, that and the other, you haven’t revealed anything about yourself. But if you tell me what you love, what you enjoy, you leave yourself open to criticism: “You think that’s good? You know nothing! That’s no good at all.”

Showing your photographs is a risk, it puts us in a vulnerable place.

Documentary photography is what I do best. I cover events, some national, some family, and I make photos, photojouralistic photos, depicting the scene. That’s what I do all the time.

Yes, I’ve taught some nature photography classes, and I’ve been a sports photographer and a product and food photographer, but those were exceptions. They were made in the name of freelance work. Commercial work that I have to do at times to pay the bills.

What I do all the time is document my world.

My style has found me. And any time I may want to change and become a fine art photographer or a still life photographer, I know that’s not me. I don’t make those photographs. It’s good to know who you are.

I’m a photojournalist. It’s what I do.

And a portraitist. I’ve made many portraits in my storytelling life–that’s a key part of photojournalism.

I will always photograph my world and I’m a fan of photographs that show energy and joy, like this next one. A moment at a party. Slow shutter speed obviously. Doesn’t diminish the moment, in fact, it accentuates it.

Documentary photographs of my world today, where I live and where life takes me. Like this one from the Jersey Shore in Belmar NJ.

Or to New York City. Little moments of human interaction.

The variety of stories I photograph tell my story–see my Roy Stryker photography project–those photo stories really reveal who I am. It’s what I create, what I want to make. What I think is worthwhile for me as a photographer.

It’s my style. What’s yours?

Want to support my shows? You can, just visit this link at Paypal, or go to to add your monthly contribution to keep the lights on!

Check out my YouTube Channel of Photography Talks: my 6×6 Portraits Blog (you’re here) and my Daily Photography Podcast. Thanks!

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