There are quite a bit of photography blog posts online these days denouncing various techniques, styles and marketing methodologies that are deemed to be popular. This is not another one of those articles. Yes, it’s clear that most landscape photography is derivative. Maybe all of it is. We all post photos on the web for validation of some sorts however you want to define it. It’s not my place to judge though as I’m involved with the genre myself. I’m doing and have done all of the above. What the focus should be on is taking an introspective look within yourself and ask, “Does my best work truly come from my soul? Am I being honest with myself?” If the answer is no then why?
It’s easy to crap all over someone else’s work because it’s not ours. I’ve done it. I might even be thinking of a few examples in my own head right now. I’d like to stop this bad habit. You might look at the photographer’s work and think, “Oh he copied that one guy.” or “It’s not art because all he does is shoot icons and sell to clueless people.” “So and so has no personal vision.” “He’s just doing that for likes.” It’s natural to feel that way when a photographer obviously doesn’t fit our vision of what that photographer should be doing. The truth is that only one person knows if the work was the result of honest personal vision and that is the photographer themselves. Who am I to question that? If you’re creating honest work for yourself then keep doing what you’re doing. Caving in to others’ wishes is conformity too if not more so.
However, we only get one shot at this thing called life; if you look in the mirror by the end of it and can’t see yourself then I’ll feel sorry for you. Conversely, if you find yourself getting aggravated by others then turn off the computer sometimes and stop looking at social media or be more selective in what you follow. Who cares what other photographers are doing unless their actions are having a positive influence on your life. Live your own life on your own terms.