David HURN

Photograph by David Hurn


If you want to know your photographic identity or start a personal project and you don’t really know where to start, it may be time to create your Folder B.


How are my photos?

What identifies them?

What difference my photos from others?

These questions are difficult to answer. You need to know your work, reflect and evaluate the photos you take. Let’s see how you can do it.

You create images when you travel, when you are with your family, on you day-to-day life. Depending on how you organize yourself, you will have them more or less filed by events, dates, years,… It’s important to manage digital images well. You can classify them in different folders or use images organization programs. In that classification we always find photographs to which we have special affection, which are small treasures and which generate emotion.

If you are reflecting on how to create your first photographic project it’s time to review the photographs you have taken in recent years and rescue, in a separate folder, those photos that most excited you, identify you, make you feel proud of your work. With all of them you are going to create a Folder B to start exploring your photographic identity.



Anything but boring. Bill Jay photographed by David Hurn


The process of shooting the camera and reflecting on your photos is a method of self-observation. In psychology, self-observation and self-records serve to make behavior, emotion or certain thoughts conscious. In this way it’s possible to understand them, know what’s happening and maintain or change them.

The photographs you take are self-records and they can give you interesting clues abot yourself, about your photographic feeling. They allow you to value the purpose you had when taking the photo, the meaning of the image, the reaction it causes in you, emotionally and/or intellectually or why you react.



If you look at your images with your heart and open mind they will help you get to know yourself better.


David Hurn and Bill Jay in their book On looking at photographs: A practical guide, write about how to be able to differentiate ourselves from others and have a narrative and visual homogeneity. It’s about looking from the outside in. Through the photographs (outside) see what happens inside oneself (inside).

In this sense, photographic self-registration has two phases:


1. Action. Let yourself go when taking photos, do what the body asks of you. The moment you shoot for an emotion or “drive” something is happening, it’s an alarm signal. If you pay attention to it, you will know what it means, what it warns you about. Photographing that moment is a sign, emotion helps reveal secrets.


2. Reflection: It’s about interpreting the signals, analyze your images, discard those that do not fit your emotion, perspective, focusing, etc. Select thinking and adding all the technical and creative knowledge you have. At this point your visual culture is essential; what you have learned by watching the work of other professionals, reading, listening to music, watching movies,… and that’s always alive and in motion. It’s time to create your Folder B with your best photographs.


Both processes are mutually enriching and you will have to do them every time you download your camera. Ambos procesos se enriquecen mutuamente y tendrás que realizarlos cada vez que descargues tu cámara. Your photographic identity is marked by the way you shoot but also by post-production, everything that happens afterwards.


Your own style will develop naturally, uniting your experience, your history and the visual culture that influences you. The search process isn’t easy. Self-knowledge is slow work, but being able to experiment, investigate, learn about photography and about oneself through the images we create can be revealing, fun and enriching.

With Folder B your photographic identity will come to light. You will realize what you see and how you see ir. You will start the path for your artistic development.


If you are interested in photography as a toll for self-knowledge, follow the article Photography and self-knowledge.


Thanks for being here.