My brother recently posed the question of originality. Which, though he applies to writing, I thought a curious thing when it comes to photography. Admittedly, every photo you take is your own, therefore a bona fide original. BUT, does it make it original in the sense of thought. We've all heard the phrase, "there's no such thing as an original thought". Maybe. I'm not too sure about that though.
Remember in grade school when you thought of some great picture and when you started drawing it the person next to you said, "hey! don't copy me!" and you said, "I'm not, I thought of this on my own" and they said, "I thought of it first". Invariably it comes to "you copied what I was thinking". This speaks to a couple aspects of originality I think. Firstly, I suspect that the need to be original is pretty important. Why else would we have had these silly little tiffs? Secondly, I wonder if it still counts as original thought if you thought of it on your own, without ever knowing someone else did. Even though someone else did in fact think of it too. Is it possible for two separate people to think of the same original thought without the influence of the other? Is is an original thought then?
I know you are all thinking that this a pretty cool post about the philosophy of originality but I want to know more about photography (don't worry, I do too) so here it is. Two relatively cliche photos of a lighthouse.
Decent photos? Sure. Originals? Most definitely. Original? Debatable. I saw the shot, composed the picture and all that goes into making a photo. But has this been done before? Yup. So what makes a photo original? What makes it creative and not just copying the stuff that's been done before? Is this the stuff that makes it good? I mean really good. Not just decent. As someone who is trying to get really good at photography, I've been trying to put a finger on this for some time now, but it is so hard to define. I guess that's just one of the many reasons art is so subjective.
So what do you all think about all this? What makes something original? and what makes something art? (seriously, you don't have to write an essay response, but if you chose to, you have no idea how delighted I'd be)
What are you trying to get really good at and how will you know you've gotten there?