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Forgive me; this is not about racial diversity.

Creative diversity is extremely important for an innovative artist; I must keep reinventing my style, technique and ultimately the outcome of my efforts otherwise my artwork will become stale. I pursue diversity by being open minded, welcoming of new ideas or learning how other artists express their creativity. Moreover, I enjoy being an artist and it brings me pleasure; if my work becomes mundane, I will no longer enjoy it.

Abstract photography has always offered me a new way of viewing the landscape and I am frequently amazed by new ideas that come to mind while exploring. Any subject can be turned into an abstract photograph and it can be done through a variety of techniques, including camera movement, focus blur, juxtaposing different elements that would not ordinarily be together, just to name a few. There is no artistic limit when it comes to abstract photos.

Embracing diversity as an artist means exploring new ideas. One way I approach this is to imagine a new project and conjure up ways to photograph the subject. For example, if my project is about reflections, I explore different ways I can portray my vision of reflections. Another way to introduce diversity into my process is to explore subject matter that draws me away from my comfort zone . The majority of my artwork includes water or the forsaken landscapes; for a time, I mixed it up by making photographs of the city. I am uncomfortable photographing people; sometimes being uncomfortable is a good thing. It can be as simple as changing the location where I make photographs, normally I travel; working locally puts me out of my element.

Other ideas include changing up the depth of field or focal point. Using a seldom used lens. Switching from a rigid tripod to working handheld. I also consider the perspective of other elements in the landscape i.e. what does the tree see or how does a flower view the world? These are just a few suggestions; you get the idea.

A diverse portfolio of work can show the depth of your style. Often I see repetitive artwork at galleries or online, the artist has twenty pieces of the same design or pattern with slight variations; I wonder, can they can do anything else?

I have stepped into that crevasse too; my mind gets stuck on something and I do the same thing repeatedly. People have told me, “Derek, please, no more photographs of water." They were right. Making the same photograph over and over again will never garner more Oohhs and Aahhs for my artwork.

Unfortunately for artists, there is a downside to having a diverse portfolio: some critics may be unable to perceive a concise body of work. I ignore the dolts; creativity and diversity are always the path to follow. A diverse portfolio keeps me interesting to the viewer (yes, I said me); it shows there is more to the artist than the art. It creates excitement and wonderment for what will come next.


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