I think that browsing through as many photographs on daily basis as I do, has made me extremely impatient and prejudiced towards certain subjects and styles in photography. At this point, I do not think I will ever take a picture of another dandelion for as long as I live. I am very hostile towards dandelions right now. I think next time I see a dandelion I will yell at it and tell it exactly what I think of it.
But seriously now, does looking through other photographer’s works stifle our own creativity? I mean I could take a heck of a picture of a dandelion and be proud of it and set it as wallpaper on my phone and show it to people. Only to find that there are about three billion similar photos already surfing the web and I’m really not that original.
I find that a lot of times when I work with other artists they always request for me to send them photos of the concept that I am thinking about. At first I was confused. How can I send someone photos if I haven’t taken them yet? Then it was explained to me that I have to send photos that were taken by other photographers that are similar to what I want to shoot. So I got to work looking for my concept photos. After I was done I didn’t want to do the concept any more.
A snowflake is only unique and original when it is melting on the palm of your hand. But when you look outside during a snowstorm, they are pretty much all the same, and you couldn’t care less what they look like individually, all you know is that you want the storm to stop.
I think that there is a narrow line between being inspired and mimicking a style. After you see an amazing photograph in a certain style you yearn to reproduce it. But you are never the only one. And so, in comes a whirlwind of photographs in the same style of the same concept. Yes, you have taken an amazing photograph. But the creativity value of it is cheapened when you see other works that are very much like it.
Take the slow shutter speed on water style. First time I saw it I was blown away by the beauty of such a photograph. The water looked smoky; the sunset burned in the background and the details of sand and rocks was unparalleled. But now I have seen hundreds of photographers use it. And some photographers use this style exclusively. Yes, it is very pretty. But it is also boring and I think it’s time to stop.