Guest Blogger: Landa Penders

In the 6th installment of the guest blog series, my guest Landa hails from the Netherlands, which reminds me, Amsterdam is still on my list of places to visit in Europe… Landa approached me with a specific topic in mind for her post, and being so impressed with her work, I told her she could write about whatever she wanted. So here she is, sharing her thoughts on inspiration, style, and even life. Show her some love!

Searching for your own individual style in photography is something I’ve been struggling with. Especially in the last few months it is really annoying me that I’ve done many things and tried different things, techniques, styles and lenses and I still don’t really have a clue about what my own style is and what I want to show and tell the world. I kind of hope you recognize this. Perhaps not even in photography, because maybe this is actually just ‘this thing called life’. We all grow older and get to know ourselves better, and we develop our personalities and style. Maybe some of you have stories to tell, maybe others don’t know exactly. I’ve got some ideas, but they’re still a little vague to me.

Three years ago I started studying Lifestyle & Design at an art academy in Rotterdam and I think I chose LSD to develop myself some more. I know I love people, I love how they move, how they feel, how they think. Especially how they dress and why they wear what they wear is something I’m intrigued by. Studying psychology was my second choice, but I dislike books without a lot of pictures and reading for hours and hours. Besides that, I already knew I loved photography. I know I want to become a good photographer and nothing can stop me, besides myself. I’m now in the 5th semester and my minor is digital photography. I get all these assignments where I have to make concepts and realize it all from scratch. I used to be all about the easygoing things where I didn’t have to arrange a lot. But since that didn’t really get me much further, I knew I had to change something. Now I decided to push myself and just go with the idea I like the most, no matter how hard they are to execute. It’s sometimes a big hassle, but in the end it’s always worth it.

Now there’s also this other thing called being original in a world where everything has already been done. Do you recognize the feeling where you’re checking out photographers you didn’t know yet and you feel like they already did what you were thinking about doing? Like as if while you were dreaming, your dreams were reality for someone else already. Or you feel so inspired that you are afraid that you’re copying them in a way? That + not knowing what your own style is yet = so annoying. But why make it something negative? Make it positive. How I do that? I try to get my inspiration from other places. I can keep looking at photographers, but maybe I should be watching weird ass cultmovies, or go to a town in the middle of nowhere where I haven’t been before. Having an adventure in the middle of the night or trying to write a fantasy story. It’s all up to you actually, and who cares if some photographer already did something you were dreaming about, just do it, it will turn out different anyway. Learn from it.

I think it’s just normal that I’m not really sure what I want to tell the world and that I don’t know what my style is. Everyday when I walk to school there is a quote in neon letters on the wall above the entrance: “I have to change to stay the same”. So I just have to continue experimenting with different things, techniques, styles and lenses and one day I’ll figure it out: I’ll look at my work and I’ll see the ‘red thread’ as we call it in dutch. It will all become clear, we will never stop developing ourselves, we will always try to improve and it’s not bad to be a perfectionist!

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