Artists enjoy calling their work “original”. As artists, we want to stand out and send an authentic message to the world, and for good reason. But there are very few truly original ideas in the art world. Everything was invented, reinvented, and reinvented over and over again. This article explains how to create, reinvent, and avoid copying.
I was recently thinking about how to get ideas for work as a professional photographer. Some of my images can be traced directly to what inspired them, others are more ‘unique’. The reason I can’t say that none of my work is unique is that it’s all a simple amalgamation of different influences I’ve seen before, different ideas people have thrown at me, and different experiences. Every image is like a hodgepodge of many previous ideas. All we do is combine different ideas to make something. Think of it like making the same dish. Even if the ingredients are from the same production area, the cooking method differs depending on the chef. If everything else is the same except the recipe, ingredients and chef, is the dish original? Yes. The same applies to photography, it’s not. Does it make my work fake, unoriginal, and a bad copy of someone else’s ideas?
What is an original idea? Can it exist in theory?
Following the principle that every idea is a collection of other ideas, a natural question arises. Is it possible to trace back the original ideas that make up the hodgepodge? The first original ideas must have come from the first humans. Since then it’s all been one big hoax. So, whatever that means, stop looking for original ideas. Consider that some fashion brands such as Balenciaga create two new couture collections each year. Fashion has mastered the art of making the old look new and the new look old. It’s a never-ending cycle. Fast fashion is what it is, but on steroids you can send out half-copied collections every two weeks. Why is it presented as original and no one asks? Because our approach to originality is different. Method is as follows.
A smart approach to originality
Here’s my recommended approach to originality: All ideas are by-products of other ideas. What matters is the intention behind the idea. If you take inspiration from Rodin’s work and look at people in an equally monumental way, then the work has meaning and you have something real, something real, something that is true to you. But if you’re going to copy Rodin’s work because you made him a famous sculptor, your work has little meaning or credibility.
The point I’m trying to make about authenticity is that it doesn’t have to be authentic to anyone but you. . So when I create my mood board, I don’t care if the images are from the same photographer or photo shoot. These images are the only ideas I have combined, mixed and developed. If you showed them the mood board and then the final image, they would (most of the time) say they weren’t similar. The key elements are certainly there, but the images themselves are different. This is because I immediately express my opinions about composition, posing, lighting, etc. For now, mood boards are more of a communication tool between me and the team rather than guidelines for what each image should look like. For example, I often see one image of her that gives me a certain idea. Usually it’s about styling. If you’re a landscape photographer, you might be fascinated by how someone managed to capture the graphic detail of rock textures and blur out everything but the subject. The idea might come from looking at an Impressionist painting and taking an image that looks like one. Ultimately, originality is about you, not your audience. For them, the image certainly reminds you of something, even if you’ve never seen that thing. Because it defines originality in a different way.
Don’t worry copy from time to time
When I started taking pictures, I photographed everything I saw. However, I quickly realized that my work lacked some techniques and methods. For example, I didn’t know how to make water creamy smooth in landscape photography, how to compose, how to light a photo, etc. Copying was the way to master these techniques. I took a photo that I liked and set out to create an exact replica of the photo. It was no easy task. Copying is very difficult, if not impossible. I couldn’t exactly copy what I was aiming for. Instead, I was able to create an approximate version. That’s the reason behind what I’ve learned by trying to copy other artists’ work. Not only did I realize that I needed to use long exposures to get smooth water, but I also realized when and how to use it effectively. The same applies to lighting. Admittedly, I tried to use the setup as much as I could, but when someone asked me to create the exact same effect for a portrait, I started to realize that I couldn’t get an approximate result using the presets When it came to creating a result I couldn’t create with the tools I needed, I literally spent 10-12 hours trying to get it exactly right. By the end of Slog, I knew a lot more than I thought I could.
So, in a sense, copying is less about “stealing an idea” and more about reverse-engineering something. On the one hand, yes, you are taking someone else’s work and trying to make an exact copy, but on the other hand, you are learning extensively. It’s impossible to copy a to pixels, but you can get pretty close. Copying is very useful for beginners. Ultimately, you will be able to use the techniques you learn in your own work.
at the end
In other words, originality is not a collective concept, but an individual one. Excluding the obvious instances of one artist copying another and making money off their ideas leaves a world of trillions of thoughts and ideas. to you. Even if you take pictures just because they “look beautiful,” they already mean something to you. They mean beauty.