All Thing Weird and Wonderful


Photographers pushing the boundaries of technique in exciting ways

These days, there’s something liberating about the simplicity of taking an image.

The first photographers needed to hone their skills significantly in order to produce anything worth viewing, carefully controlling in-camera parameters, and then working meticulously in the darkroom to process them into something intelligible. But now more than ever, with almost all of us carrying a high-quality camera in the form of a smartphone, it’s simply a case of pick up, point and click. The camera, if we ask it to, can choose the point of focus and handle aperture, shutter speed and ISO for us.

That’s not to say this approach isn’t valid – end product matters just as much as process and digital cameras with automated settings have created many a stunning photo, even if the photographer didn’t know their f-stop from their EV. And nor does it mean there isn’t a real value in learning the theory – working with analog cameras or manual settings for pleasure, and to really understand how different settings interact and impact the final image. But it does mean that the challenge to stand-out, to produce work that will get noticed, becomes harder. Ease breeds ubiquity.

The response of some photographers is to get creative with the technology, whether re-appropriating old techniques or inventing new ones. There’s something hugely exciting about this innovation when done well, most of all when the process marries with the subject matter. To coincide with our August 2022 Open Call competition – where we accept photography of any style, subject matter and genre – we’ve pulled together a short list of photographers pushing the boundaries of technique in exciting ways, whether dizzyingly technical or beguilingly DIY.

It isn’t conclusive of course, and it absolutely doesn’t mean that you have to experiment with madcap techniques in order to submit to the competition – any and all photographic methods work for us – but hopefully it provides some inspiration and gets your creative juices flowing. Head over to our social media to tell us what you think and who would be on your list…

(Banner image: Mariah Robertson)