Confessions of a Serial Photographer


Tennessee Mountain Pan. Photography by FC Etier, a serial photographer 


Neither bedwetting nor torturing pets and small animals was ever my thing.  I was always fascinated with fire, but I never became a pyromaniac.  So, how did I become a “serial photographer?”  Some of my harsher critics may complain that I’ve killed many subjects with my camera, but fortunately I have more admirers that constantly encourage me.  So I keep on shooting.

That, according to Harald Mante is an important feature of serial photography – you can shoot whenever and wherever you like – just keep shooting.  It helps to have a category of subjects in mind, such as stairs, old barns, socks, locks, clocks, blocks; the subjects are endless.  Be sure to remember your chosen subjects when you’re out on the road. Travel photography is a an ideal opportunity for serial photography.  Wouldn’t you like a photo of a church steeple from every town you visit?

Right from the first page of his latest book, Serial Photography: Using Themed Images to Improve Your Photographic Skills,Mante reminds us that it is important to distinguish between “serial” images and “sequential” images.  Sequential images depict the stages of change in a subject over time, such as a building under construction or a flower’s bloom decomposing into a wilted collection of dead petals.  Serial images, however, represent a collection of similar subjects with no necessary reference to time.

Need some examples or inspiration?  Check out any of the thirty-five chapters, each of which represents a different subject ranging from objects to colors to shapes.  The concluding chapter discusses tableaus and offers suggestions on how to display your collections.

So how does creating a series of images of the same subject make you a better photographer?  One way is to avoid that endless search for “the” prize-winning image and another is to study with one of the best.  Harald Mante has published numerous books including the classic reference book, The Photograph: Composition and Color Design.

My first novel, published by Caleb and Linda Pirtle,LLC, features a serial painter. She often paints landscapes and sunsets. Also to be found in The Tourist Killer are two serial killers. I suppose you can call a professional assassin that has killed over thirty times a serial killer – can’t you?

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