A couple months ago, I was asked to do a senior portrait photo session in the fall. Of course I was thrilled and said yes because I currently don’t have any in my portofolio. (I had the opportunity to do one in 2009 but we’re not gonna get into the events of why it didn’t happen).
Almost all recent senior portraits that I have seen resemble each other. Out in a field among flowers or tall grass… Along a brick or concrete wall… Lounging on stairs…. (add a random chair, tree, pond or old vehicle here or there). Have we as photographers/artists run out of ideas?
I have been brainstorming different things to try and believe I have stumbled across a true gem. I am excited that the event is getting closer and for my plan to come to fruition. Unfortunately, anticipating opening the idea to the public and other photographers has raised an internal struggle that I often deal with….
Although there is no art form safe from mimicking, copying, or outright stealing of work or ideas, there are a few good methods out there that ward off these violations in certain areas. Ex/ Plagiarism helps writers protect their literary masterpieces. Copyright violations and penalties help musicians and film industry resources to defend their music and videography. Patents assist inventors in safeguarding their designs and concepts (for at least a few years). But how does one shelter their photography style or ideas?
I’ll be the first to admit that I have always had issues dealing with this. I can trace it back as far as elementary school and getting frustrated when another student would see my artwork in art class and try to do the same thing. I feel like my artwork is an extension of me, so in turn, they were stealing my individualism.
At the same time, I can see the value in building upon ideas and advancements from those who came before and how it has benefitted the world in every aspect. Since it seems the nature of the beast, I try to be mature and remember that it should be taken as a compliment that others would want to mimic my work or be inspired by it. Instead, I will focus on consistently pushing for new ideas to stay ahead of the general photography public (possibly perserving some individualism moments at a time).
“Copying opens your eyes to new possibilities, and new techniques… but trying to fob it off as your own is quite another matter”. (Louise Bunn)
“Only God creates. The rest of us just copy”. (Michelangelo)