Back in mid summer I had come up with the idea for a new photo series. The series would revolve around taking overdone Instagram photography tropes and shooting them in a new or unconventional way. Behold: Kill Your Trends.
I was growing frustrated by seeing the same content over and over. It’s easy to latch on to what is popular at the time to capitalize and gain notoriety. I personally try to avoid this in my work, and if I do take interest in a trend I’ll at least try to approach it from a new perspective. This is how Kill Your Trends came to fruition. I was sick of scrolling through my Instagram feed seeing the same orange and teal filter, or fairy lights in every other photo. Photography has become more accessible now than ever before, so as artists it is our responsibility to not fall into trends but to create unique and thoughtful work. Now at the time when I started shooting this series these trends were more at the forefront of Instagram. A little more time than I’d like to admit has passed since I began shooting and a few of these trends luckily seem to be on their way out, so I thought to rework this series a bit now that the year is coming to an end. Kill Your Trends represents the overused photography tropes I hope we can all agree should be left behind in 2018.
I think we all can agree there’s a pretty enormous amount of nostalgia swirling around the internet these days. I swear, one in every seven portraits I see on Instagram is shot in front of a neon sign. And yes, I’ll admit when you throw them out of focus you can get some really beautiful light and effects, but can we just tone it down a bit? It’s lazy and unoriginal. This photo is also an homage to almost every recently opened coffee shop I’ve had the pleasure of visiting - you’re almost guaranteed to see a neon sign with a snarky saying surrounded by plant life. This photo was honestly my worst attempt at creating something new with the trope, but hey - I needed a cover for the series! If it makes you feel any better I didn’t take the easy way out - I spent two days making this "neon" sign by hand.
Man, am I sick of seeing prisms. It’s as if photographers think that just by holding one in front of a lens it automatically makes their lackluster photos acceptable. This shoot was fun as I was able to get out my frustrations over prisms by smashing a few - which is something I’d really like to do whenever I see photographers pull them out. Put your prism away and focus on better concepts and composition, please.
Orange and Teal
(color story and filters)
I’m a little sad that I have to include this entire color story on my list because I actually like it when it’s done well, but the orange and teal thing has been done to death. Most of the time this is an example of photographers being too heavy-handed with filters. In certain scenarios it can look great, but I think it’s always best to try and keep things looking natural. Some of the photos I see out there with these orange and teal filters look straight up other-worldly, and not in a good way. When your skin tones and skies are looking like faded denim, it’s time to dial it back a bit. For this still life I sourced orange and teal props, and then lightly applied an orange and teal filter over the image. My friend and stylist Jackie (@jorkiejork) helped me with the challenge to come up with an aesthetically pleasing shot with such random items - and we had fun with this one!
Fairy lights were an obvious choice. To be honest, I’m not seeing these pop up on my feed as much anymore which is great. This was the first image I shot for the series and what sparked the idea. There was a brief time when all you would see on Instagram were portraits with these fairy lights wrapped around someone’s hands, or face, or wherever. It became the go-to accessory for portraits (alongside the prism) and it got old fast. My natural instinct with this shot was to destroy the damn things, and with the help from my friend Brenna (@brennakalicki) she sourced the dingiest bathroom we could get our hands on to shoot in and stuff these fairy lights. (Fun fact: it was a Tasty Burger, so at least we were rewarded for our efforts)
This series was a challenge to shoot as the tropes were easy to find, but researching and coming up with truly original concepts was tricky. It felt good to think outside the box, and I shot some still life images I’m pretty satisfied with. I’ll be more than happy to see these trends die out - I know there are more that I’m missing, too. This could be a fun living series to continue working with. What tired photography trends are you sick of seeing?