I will try and keep this post short and to the point, this is not a rant, rather just an observation that hopefully opens up some discussion and makes people think.
I have been listening to a lot of photography podcasts over the last 4-5 months, shocking I know! I have also read a lot of articles on photography, other blogs, magazines and what not and I keep noticing the same gripe coming from photographers in these articles, I have even heard it being mentioned by other photographers I am out shooting with.
It goes along the lines of:
‘Why do people with cameras think it is ok to just go and look at a photo online, grab their own camera gear and head to that exact spot they were just looking at and mimic the photo”
or the best one is; ”They would be as well of just asking where I put the bloody tripod as it looks so much like my photo”
I have even heard them starting to call people something along the lines of photo ”location tourists”
Look, guys, I just don’t get it. Do these photographers not realise that before they took their image, many others have stood in the same position before them and taken the same shot. I am somebody who takes immense pride in teaching others and passing on knowledge during my workshops, I relish taking people to amazing locations, on trips and just helping people when I can.
If somebody wanted to copy my work, surely that must be a sign of ‘hey you are doing something right”… Or am I missing something? Please do enlighten me if I am.
The beautiful places we visit have, on the whole, not just appeared over the last 30-40 years. Just look at John Constables work going back to the 19th Century and the way he created landscape paintings, these are capturing places people still flock to photograph and create work from to this day.
My thought is this, the landscapes are there to be enjoyed, the well-being created from being away from the computer, the busy day to day life to a place whereby I am seeing the clouds move, feeling the wind blow and hearing the sounds of nature should be enjoyed. Why not go out as a hobbyist or a professional and photograph a location that has been shot so many times before and has a bit of guidance on how the image and composition will work for the shot from the people they may aspire to be like one day, we were all there once.
Even while writing this, I spotted a post on a page for the Peak District photography, a person has decided to ‘slag off’ the fact that the plugholes have/are just about to go over the top and he is now going to be bored senseless for weeks of the photos of the location. He further rattles on saying “there are other locations you can visit, so shoot them” But why should people not take pleasure where pleasure has been found before. Why not share the happiness? Where is it written in stone that you cant enjoy what I have claimed as my scenic view? Look, why can’t people enjoy what they want without being judged or slagged off?
Here is another example, we all know the standing at on the edge of the rock face pose the one where you are looking all serious and facing into the valley with the misty or clouds surrounding the shot. Shock, Horror… it’s not new! This image was created 201 years ago, but it works as a composition, its powerful and has an immense sense of presence and scale and you can imagine yourself standing right there.
Copying work is not new, it happens in all of the arts and in most of the business world. Take it as a sign that people respect you and like your work. Don’t be threatened by it. Life is way too short to be stressed out by such trivial things, as long as they are not nicking the work of your website it should be all good.
Just get out there and enjoy the views, capture them, share them, indulge in them and if somebody asks for your help, then help them. They are obviously asking you because they like you and your work and respect your opinion. It’s a lonely place out there as a photographer, people don’t always speak as much as they should do, I like that at times as I like my own company, but hearing other photographers moaning about how others are making their own work off the back of their work, their inspiration etc, that I just don’t think is nice….. Anyways, I know this will most likely annoy some people and I will maybe get shot down for my post and probably my terrible Dyslexic writing style, but hey ho, so be it… If anybody reading this would like some advice on where to go or where one of my shots was taken, then just ask. I have no precious secrets to try and hide…