Friday, 2 April 2010

Other people's photos

I'm away on vacation at the moment, visiting the area I grew up. Weather's been wet and cold so not much for taking photos. I have, however, been out a couple of times with a camera and not returned with a single picture. Trouble is, I keep seeing photo opportunities that I know look like other people's photographs and have resisted making pictures lest it feel like I'm copying.

The other side of this dilemma is a few years ago I wouldn't have even seen these opportunities, not having recognised them as the sorts of subjects I photograph. It took seeing other work to open my view of potential subjects.

A real dilemma. Do I just shoot it anyway, regardless of whether it looks like other work, or keep ploughing on looking for original (whatever that may mean) subjects, reducing the number of shots I take?

It may take a couple more outings before I get my head around this one.


  1. You MUST take the picture! "Original" doesn't just happen one day, it's something you have to continuously work towards. That's why all the great masters spent many hours in the galleries copying the great painters of their day, it's how they learnt their craft and found their own personal voices.

  2. I wouldn't worry about that. The adaptations of other ones views is what we make every day, even if somewhat feared, that of the derivatives, in my opinion, is the way in which image making developed in time. Unless your out to make exactly those pictures you're referring to. In such a case things may get far more complicated in achieving the goal. Anyway thank for pointing this out. That of the derivatives, and the associated "modernist" fear, is an interesting question to think about.

  3. Every once in a while, I'll get that feeling too, but I just continue to shoot, hoping to put my own spin, or interpretation on it. When I do get that feeling, I know that I'm thinking too much instead of just responding and experimenting. I have no idea what original is, I just try to go for authentic ... it may look like someone else's, but it is authentically mine.

  4. I can understand but take the shot, it is YOUR image the way you see it. I am also seeing things (shots) that I would not have taken years ago but I have changed the way I "see" images now.

  5. I agree with the others...take the shot as a starting point. Once you get that done and 'in the bag' then you don't have to think about it and you can stay in the same location and start to play around and shoot things your way. You might get something you like better.... or not, but you will have exercised and practiced. And it might be surprised to see what you come up with!


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