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Brian Smale's Manifesto for Photography: The Art and Science of Image-Making

Updated: May 26

Where art meets science, where the lens captures both the tangible and intangible through the aperture of the harsh truth of the camera eye, Brian Smale stands as a luminary, shaping the narrative of photography with an unwavering commitment to authenticity and excellence. His lens has immortalized the faces of business moguls, innovators, and statesmen, solidifying his place among the pantheon of distinguished photographers. Smale's manifesto for creative photography is a beacon for aspiring artists, a guiding light that transcends the boundaries of mere snapshots.

1 the essence of the subject: Beyond the Lens

At the core of Smale's philosophy lies the imperative to capture the essence of the subject. A photograph, in its truest form, should resonate with the purpose behind its creation. Smale delves into the heart of his subjects, unraveling their stories and personalities. Whether it's a portrait or an abstract concept, the meticulous planning and incorporation of visual elements elevate his work beyond mere imagery. As he affirms, "The purpose of a photography assignment is to capture the essence of the subject and make it memorable."

2 Authenticity: The Soul of Photography

For Smale, authenticity is not just a buzzword; it's a way of life. His manifesto underscores the importance of being true to oneself, of living in the moment with conviction and confidence. Trying to predict external expectations leads only to a hollow imitation of someone else's vision. As Smale succinctly puts it, "If you try to predict what somebody else is going to want to see, you're just going to end up cranking out stuff that somebody else could do."

3 CRAFTSMANSHIP: The Art of Continuous Refinement

In the pursuit of excellence, craftsmanship is non-negotiable. Smale emphasizes the need for an unwavering commitment to honing one's craft, blending technical prowess with aesthetic sensibilities. He acknowledges the role of practice and familiarity with tools, highlighting that mastering the art requires a deep understanding of equipment and software. "A lot of it has to do with practice, and like all crafts, you have to know how to apply your tools, be comfortable with your equipment, and understand what software can do to help enable the right outcome."

4 Making It Iconic: Breaking Conventions

To Smale, creation is not about imitation but rebellion against the status quo. His manifesto encourages photographers to reject conventions, challenge norms, and carve their own path. Iconic images, in his view, are those that linger in our collective memory, challenging us to confront the profound and the poignant. "There are some pictures that you just can't forget," he asserts, citing examples that have etched themselves into the fabric of popular culture.

5 dEmbracing the Future: Technology as a Catalyst

As technology reshapes the landscape of photography, Smale urges photographers not to be left behind. While acknowledging the democratization of photography through smartphones and digital platforms, he emphasizes the distinction between casual snapshots and the work of a professional. Photography, as Smale sees it, is a language that communicates through visual elements, connecting emotionally to the core of our beings. "The digital revolution has had a phenomenal impact," he reflects, "and my pictures are better for it because of the instant feedback and how it liberates you to experiment and get results quicker."

In the tapestry of Brian Smale's manifesto, the threads of creativity, authenticity, craftsmanship, rebellion, and technological evolution weave together to form a narrative that transcends the boundaries of time and space. It's a testament to the enduring power of photography as both an art and a science, capturing moments that echo through the corridors of history and leaving an indelible mark on our collective consciousness.

Brian Smale self-portrait

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Instagram: @briansmale

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Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins Creative Studios, is in the fight against unoriginality by unleashing creative bravery. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Photography by Brian Smale

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

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