Originality is an interesting concept when you pull the threads of what it really means.
To be unique. To be different. To be unusual. But really, what do these things actually mean? Is your image unique if you’ve unknowingly taken something visually similar to someone else, but show it to another who has never seen anything like it before? Why is it important to be original? Does it make you a better person? A better photographer? Does it make people like you more?
In my eyes, the pursuit of ‘originality’ is a fools errand. It also makes you wildly unproductive in the search for it, because you’ll never find it. Ideas, styles, trends – everything produced by creative minds has been influenced by something else.
Originality is the uncommon confluence of uncommon ideas, but the problem is, ‘uncommon’ may not be such to everyone.
I often get questioned about how I’ve developed my ‘style’ – whatever that is. It’s an insinuation that my style is unique and original in some way, and to some people, it might just be. But rather than give advice about the pursuit of something different, what’s more productive is the pursuit of combination.
Instead of pursuing ideas that no one has ever seen before, pursue ideas that resonate with you, and combine them. Envelop yourself with influences outside your sphere of knowledge. Be okay with trying new things, new combinations, new experiments. That’s the essence of ‘originality’.
Liberate yourself from the pressures of being ‘original’, because at the end of it all, everything is a remix.
(this post is ironically remixed from everything is a remix)
(bet you didn’t see that one coming)