Dealing with Originality

Model: Ellen Handyside

If everything has been photographed already, then no matter how original an idea I have, it's already been done.  It will have been shot to death even, but I don't know that I'm copying the idea because I haven't seen every photograph in the world (it would actually be impossible to do this, just look at the flickr and 500px upload rates).  There are only so many landscape vantage points, portrait expressions and fashion styles to shoot.

This is an intimidating and challenging idea.

Why do we put so much emphasis on originality?  If a band comes out and every song on their album sounds the same, or worse, like another band's work, then it leaves a bad taste in our mouths.  We live in a world of trends and fads, and right now, photography seems to be a big trend due to the overwhelming accessibility of digital imaging resources.  But within photography there's sub-trends that we see.  Right now it's cool to apply filters that make the photo look like it's 30 years old.  Well, it's cool to some people.  It's also cool to use sun flare to wash out an image, something that as photographers we have been vehemently told not to do forever.
Model: Meghan Hale/Make up: Bryana Doysher/Fashion: Sasky/Assistant:  Ellen Handyside

I'm not going to rant about trends for too long.  What I feel is important isn't being "in" and doing the things that match the general populace's vision.  What's important is having a vision, staying true to it, and just going out and doing it.  I'm done worrying about whether I'm being "original", it's too depressing.  I'm going to go out of my way to complete my vision to the best of my ability.  If I happen to notice that my vision is similar to someone else's, that's fantastic.  I'll be sure to give them credit for being an inspiration, or try to meet or talk with them and discuss what made them create what they did.  If I happen to be taking photos that match the current "Trends" or applying filters that make the photos look 30 years old it's because I think it's cool.  If you don't, then the photo isn't made for you.  I made it for me and my client.  I share it because I really like it.  Three words apply to my situation:

Just. Go. Shoot.