As a photographer it was very easy for me to relate to the story in lesson # 7, Focus on the Wide Angle View. The photographs I create are urban landscapes – wide angle views of buildings. One of my good friends and colleagues also likes to photograph buildings, but he gets in close. His particular interest is to photograph graffiti others have painted on the walls. Dennis uses a micro lens and gets in so close the original graffiti is transformed into a new artistic vision.
The main take-away lesson I’ve learned from this course is to tell my story. I’ve tried taking similar pictures as Dennis, but it never felt right to me. Dennis has also tried to emulate my work and it too didn’t feel right to him. To create my personal brand I have to tell my story. I can’t be another Dennis.
A point Mitch Joel was trying to get across in his blog post Personal Brand R.I.P., is you can’t be someone else, because we are who we type. How can we be unique and powerful if our voice is a mish-mash of other people’s work.
I suppose an argument can be made when I photograph someone else’s building, or when when Dennis records someone else’s graffiti, we are repackaging someone else’s creation – the architect’s or the graffiti artist’s visions. Maybe, but we are also bringing a new perspective and new context to the work. Effectively, our voices are creating a new vision.
Do your posts or tweets reflect who you are, or as Mitch Joel put it, are you expressing your personal brand “in ways that make them look more like sterile plastic TV news anchors than original thinkers”? Have you brought a fresh perspective to the conversation?