Sunday, August 31, 2008
Point of View
Point of view.
I've heard the phrase a lot lately and it's got me thinking. We writers love point of view. We wrangle endlessly about whose eyes from which a scene is being observed. Woe to the writer who has an abrupt POV shift within a scene, although Nora Roberts does it quite successfully....
In the last few weeks, I've heard the phrase 'point of view' on a couple of reality based shows like 'The Next Food Network Star' and 'Project Runway.' (Yes, I'm addicted to both. Cut me some slack. I don't watch American Idol or Survivor.) The phrase puzzled me a bit at first, then I got it. The contestants are talking about style. Personal style. Their unique factor. Flair. The one thing that makes their work different from everyone else's. It's the way they see the world. It's probably the one thing about their work that makes their hearts sing.
Back in my professional photography days, my reputation was built on a love of contrasting the elegant against the rustic. Time after time, I posed brides in beautiful white gowns between sharp cliff faces or on the edge of the canyons. It was dramatic, exciting, and beautiful. Clients came to me for just those looks.
When I think of photographers I've known and studied with, I see their signature looks also. Charles J. Lewis's warm family portraits, Monte Zucker's elegant lighting and emotional style or Rocky Gunn's dramatic outdoor art portraits. Each is so distinctive that if you knew what to look for, you would easily be able to pick their work from a collection. It would be like being able to find the Renoir among the Rembrandt's and both from among the Picasso's. Totally different styles.
Writers, too. Can you tell Stephen King from Charles Dickens? Jane Austen from Nora Roberts? John Grisham from Jodi Picoult? Of course you can. Foodies, as well. Bobby Flay is different than Rachel Ray. Come to think of it, you can tell the difference between Debbie Mumm and Martha Stewart, can't you?
So the question is.....what's your style? What's your point of view?
Are you writing, painting, sculpting, sewing, or gardening according to your style or are you trying to please someone else? If you gathered several pieces of your work together would there be a cohesive thread throughout?
As an exercise this week, try to define a portion of your style. Don't be afraid, it will not limit you to only that one thing. Those dramatic portraits I used to do? They got people talking and brought work into my door, but many of my clients only wanted a sweet and simple portrait, they were not interested in traipsing into the canyons. That's okay, my style for fresh, unique design carried over. So....maybe in reality, that was my point of view. Hmmm....more thinking to do. One of the worries I have in my writing is my lack of a definitive style or voice. I sound like too many other people still when I write so I'll be exploring this exercise with you.
Whatever you do, it's got to look like YOU. Not your features or your skin color, but your personality.
There is light within you. Let it shine!