Forever Changing Part II

Months ago I wrote Forever Changing, this post is a continuation. It is also inspired by my friend and Jedi brother Christian Fletcher and his great recent post about Art Photography. I recommend reading it and the comments, a great discussion about pushing ourselves and art to a new level, click here to read it. I will also feature a few of my recent images in this post.

cam-angkor-wat-thun I have been on a two year inner and outer journey and myself and my photography has changed completely. I have lived outside my comfort zone for long stretches of time to push myself. I no longer have any interest in banal pretty landscapes. I love shooting people, I love shooting abstract arty landscapes, I love altered landscapes. I want to capture something new, I want to constantly push myself, and I love new ideas, new looks and new inputs. I want to capture stories, events and emotions. My images must have a story and a meaning and they must make me and everyone else look for the story and come back to the images.

 altered-concreteI did Wide Open Spaces like an obsession and I’m over it. The change in my landscapes happened in USA as I became bored with shooting these pretty but banal epic wide open spaces. It was too much of the same. Featuring no challenge, no drama, no contrast of ugly versus beauty, no light versus dark. Nothing to make me and the viewer pause and go “wait a minute, that is both disturbing, thought provoking, pretty and ugly and everything in between and tells an interesting story”.

usa-roadtripping I cringe and feel embarrassed by looking at some of my work featuring my old hyper-reality saturated style. The USA images from last year in particular I really wish to re-do. I feel like re-processing them all. It’s a trait I have, re-do and re-invent everything once I tire of it. I kick myself so much for not shooting people and altered landscapes in USA, it was a heaven for it. But I shall try and follow a friend’s advice “look back, just be happy you have improved so very much since then”.

I am branching into two directions, photo documentary and reportage photo journalistic style with my people and street photography, very much story based. My landscape work is moving towards a minimalistic art approach, removed from reality as the image is created not taken and featuring altered landscapes – mankind versus nature. As photographers the important part is not what others think but what you think and really, you owe it to yourself to keep thinking, pushing yourself, trying new stuff. I have no interest in shooting what I shot last year, I wish to move forward at a fast rate.

Cambodia-cham-woman copy I have much to learn and that is the exciting part. Some people argue “stick to what you do best” but there is no challenge in repeating the same work or images over and over again just because I can do that style well. I have said before that if I ever tire of learning I wish to be put to sleep like an old dog. I hope you will find the forever changing artistic journey interesting and be inspired to see the world with new eyes. A good friend recently told me “allow yourself to be great”. I like that saying.



22 Comments on “Forever Changing Part II”

  1. I think eventually you will do the full circle and end up back in landscape type images.Might not be the bright coloured type of image but landscapes will always draw you back. May take a while,but I think that is what will happen.

    1. Hi Merv. I doubt that very much (but who knows hehe). I have never had a photographic passion as all-consuming as the one I have now with people and story based photography, photo journo style. When I think back, that’s how it started, then nature and landscapes took over so I am coming back to people. Landscapes I will certainly always do, but I am positive they will be less important now that I’ve discovered the world is actually full of people and stories and that’s where my true passion lies.

      1. Oh, Master – thank you for the acknowledgement!

        I love the thought process that you are going through. This is not a rehearsal, is it – it’s your life! I sense great things happening in future chapters of your life book, my friend 🙂

  2. Great post Flemming. I think the really important point you are making is to constantly push yourself to make your photography more meaningful and not become too comfortable with what you are doing or else you end up doing the same thing over and over. I am moving in the opposite direction from you! I started out doing more photojournalistic type stuff, but it was all very negative. Now I am doing the pretty landscapes because it is helping me see goodness in the world. It’s just where I am in my life right now. But your point is well taken.

    1. Thanks Markie. It is from the altered landscape heaven called Kwinana, Christian showed me lots of good stuff down there. Did the ride down there yesterday on bicycle, toyed with death all afternoon on Cockburn Rd as that is not meant for a bicycle + heavy industrial traffic!

  3. life’s always evolving, and its funny how our views, goals and ideas change as it does. but you’re doing what you love- that’s the main thing. i love you’re travel photography, landscapes definitely are my preference and you have amazing landscape images. but your travel images really show your passion and love for that side of photography. i wouldn’t be surprised if you get in nat geo one day, your work will fit that standard easily

  4. Hello Flemmning,

    I watch your posts for a while now.

    This photograph was my first impression of your work
    I do like it because of the feeling of solitude and warmth it expresses the same time. I suppose you were really happy to have been there and wanted to share this.

    I understand that you are evolving and that you love the process of evolvement – I do love it too –
    but there is a determination in your statement “if I ever tire of learning I wish to be put to sleep like an old dog” that makes me pensive. Mindfullness and learning are hard work that gets you tired. So I hope you find the time to rest. I your older days – my father is nearly 80 years old now, so I have an observation – you like all other human beeings will become tired very fast and will need long time to rest. I hope that you in those days will say: “What I said in 2011 was too “hyper saturated”, I don´t want to be put to sleep like an old dog at all!”

    I hope you will enjoy further learning and will find more and more interesting people, landscapes and things worth your mindfullness.

    Cheers, Jens

    1. Hello Jens, thanks very much for commenting, and for your concern. I do tend to write things a bit either or and yes you are right, one needs to rest and take in the lessons as well. An equally important part of learning and life.

  5. Be careful Flemming, you almost sound like a hyper-introspective German philosopher! A little introspection is a good thing, but try not to overdo it, mate. Life is full of change and the old expression ‘go with the flow’ may be trite but it is true. You may be back to landscape, you may not. You could even go the altered reality route combined with Tony Hewitt’s painterly techniques and introduce vignettes of people portraits within the image. Who knows, but the important part is to enjoy the moment and embrace new ideas and techniques. We may eventually arrive at a ‘signature’ style but perhaps not. Picasso took decades to produce his most famous works with many stylistic changes and deviations along the way.



  6. Hey FBJ, don’t beat yourself up about the past, it’s what got you to the present. I’m sure you triggered the shutter on all of those images because that was what you wanted to do at the time. In a different time, we all want something different – people who didn’t enjoy those images then may now do so, and those who tired of them as you did may be moving with you, or away in a completely different direction. There have been and will be more happy intersections, as well as unhappy ones.

    I watched “War Photographer” (James Nachtwey) the other day – an interesting look at the balance between being a recorder of life and part of that life which he is recording. A fine line indeed and worth a watch if you haven’t done so, particularly given your developing interest in both reportage and people photography. I can send it to you if you like – email me your details.

    Look after our Mary and the kids over there, and pester Phase daily to produce a camera that is affordable for mere mortals and doesn’t require a wheelbarrow full of AA batteries.

    Cheers, muzz

    1. Thanks for the great thoughts Muzz! That documentary sounds interesting, will send you an email. And I’ll look after your Mary and I’m now 1km from the Phase One office so I can easily drop by and pester them 🙂 Actually, someone help me develop a great practical joke I can video including something about the Phase One office and Christian Fletcher 🙂

  7. You know what has changed Flemming…you are now creating art, not just recording the beautiful scene!
    I’m attempting to do the same with some of my African wildlife. The change came for me on returning from Africa. I feel like I have now found my true calling in life. I feel now that I want to create the magic, the spirit and soul of an image, not merely just record it, and to use my photographic ability to help the conservation movement.
    I have tried so hard to get back into landscapes since my return from Africa, but have now stopped trying. I think of Africa every day, and have realized that that is my true passion, and at least for now, what I want to devote my life too. I wonder too Flemming, whether ones experiences while traveling helps to shape our creative direction.
    Flemming, your earlier work is just part of your journey to greater things. I too look at some of my earlier work and cringe, but is better that way than to look back and think that its as good as your current work, because then you haven’t grown!
    I wish that I also had photographed people in Africa, I had many opportunities too, but it was out of my comfort zone….there’s always next trip. (I never contemplated people portraits until Africa either)

    Also kicking myself that I didn’t try harder to catch up with you…I’m sure our heads would be spinning with new ideas and inspiration after a long chat!! 😀
    Anyway Flemming, I wish you a great reprieve from traveling and quality time and rest with your family and friends. I really do hope we can meet next time!


    1. Hi Sam, thanks so much for your inspiring thoughts and comments. I agree with the move to creating art, not just documenting a scene. And yes we must make a meetup happen next time Sam, we must!

  8. I’m a bit late to the party with this one!

    Personally, I infinitely prefer portraits/storytelling to landscape images, so I am happy to see your new approach and tag along for the ride. The monk series you’ve been working on is really, really good – so I think you’re definitely going down the right path.

    I’d echo the comments above about not being too hard on yourself about earlier work. The landscape images of yours that I’ve seen are really good examples of that type of imagery – the important bit to remember is that when you put your mind to something, you clearly are able to make it work. Of that, you should be very proud.

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