If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to step back and take a moment to reflect on what you look for in your photography.
What I mean
When I take photos, I don’t really have any styles, subjects, goals, or techniques in mind. At most I just keep in mind where I want to walk, and, if I’m shooting film, what film I have on hand (as that may dictate what lighting conditions are suitable).
I try to not leave the house with any preconceived intentions. I don’t, for example, think “I want some gritty, documentary-style photos” or “I want some cool street portraits” or “I want some abstract urban landscapes”. I just let my instinct take over and dictate the shots I end up taking.
Then, when I’m editing the results, I look for the photos that interest me. I approach my own photos from the perspective of an outside observer and I ask myself – is this compelling? Or not? And I reflect on the why. Why are these photos interesting? Are there common subjects? Common themes? Common styles?
What I look for
Currently, what’s most important to me in my photos is having a feeling of strangeness. I find myself drawn to surrealism, to the feeling of “..why?”. One of my favorite reactions to a past photo I’ve taken is wondering how I even got myself in that situation. Life, even in the most mundane places, can be pretty weird and I like reflecting that in photos. Maybe it’s a reaction to the hard-realism of the documentary-style street photography that I was most exposed to as I was starting out in photography. All I know is, this is what I’m drawn to.
Learn about yourself
Above all, it has to be personal. You have to spend time with your own photos and think about what it is that you’re drawn to. Don’t listen to others who try to prescribe what types of photography are the most artistic, or what subjects are the most meaningful, or what techniques are the most exciting. Photography is art and art is all about the artist. So take this opportunity to learn about yourself. It may be surprising.