Saturday, March 8, 2014


Inspired by smogranch again.

So many photographers, new or experienced, seem to aspire to mediocrity. That's what they're aiming for, not even what they're actually doing. We see this all over. "How can I produce this effect" or "how does so-and-so light his models" or "where was so-and-so when he shot that". The goal seems so frequently to be simply to copy someone else. This is a useful learning experience, but it's not a good end goal.

In the first place frequently people aren't copying anything particularly good. The number of guys out there shooting scantily clad pretty girls on beaches is insane, and there has never been a picture of a swimsuit model on a beach that was worth a damn. How can I shoot a wedding, so the album looks like every other crappy bunch of plastic people. How can I shoot headshots that look like all the other crappy mugshots out there. How does Terry Richardson do it.

In the second place, even if you're aspiring to someone who is or was truly excellent, you are not that artist. Your copies are unlikely to be as good. The best you can do is copies of someone else, and what you're probably going to do is mediocre copies of someone else.

Aim higher. Aim for your own vision. You're never going to be excellent if you're just trying aping other people, other looks.

Study them, practice the techniques if you like, it'll all go into your mental machinery and help drive your own inspiration. That's great, that's even powerful, and maybe even necessary.

It is not the ultimate goal.

Keep your eye on the prize: your own way of seeing, your own vision for what pictures ought to look like.

1 comment:

  1. Just a quick amen to the above, "keep your eye on the price: your own way of seeing, your own vision for what pictures ought to look like." Well said. Peace out.