Is your photography… Visually Acceptable?
There’s a good discussion in the Fly’n Photographers comments about magazines only hiring from a narrow band of photographic styles that Olivier Laude has coined “Visually Acceptable,” (this also holds true for our writing and design).
There are a few magazines that end up setting the agenda for the rest. They win all the awards, maintain a high circulation and and are packed with advertising. This adherence to certain styles of photography is unavoidable because the decision makers at the highest level see this as a sign of a successful magazine. Most CFO’s couldn’t name a “visually acceptable” photographer if I held them by their feet off the top of our building, but they know what it looks like.
To be successful in the editorial market you need to understand this.
One of my favorite old posts by Alec Soth (RIP his Blog) is: The do’s and dont’s of Graduate Studies (here), Maxims from the chair. From the book The Education of a Photographer by Charles H. Traub. Chair of Photography at SVA.
There’s so much good material to guide photographers in creating their individual style, just don’t try and swallow the whole thing at once.
My favorite line is:
Photographers are the only creative people that don’t pay attention to their predecessors work—if you imitate something good, you are more likely to succeed.
Now, I know my share of photographers who were huge in the 90’s but are now stuck making prints and books of their old famous shots to know, an acceptable style doesn’t last forever, so you’ve got two choices to make.
Either pioneer a new one or get in line.