Inspiration not Imitation

There’s a LOT of talk in the photography industry right now about original art. Many photographers find that when they create something new, there is someone right on their heels attempting to copy it. Stealing their unique voice. Swiping their new style, in which they invested an enormous amount of time, energy and emotion.

What’s interesting to me about taking someone else’s photography is exactly that — you’re taking someone else’s style. It’s not your own. It’s not something that comes from within you — it’s something that came from within that other photographer. So, inevitably, you are not going to be able to do it best… because it’s not uniquely yours. And, frankly, after a while, you’re going to get bored of it… because it’s not uniquely yours.


Many times new photographers ask me how they can find their own unique voice… their own unique style. That’s a hard question. Many people are searching for — and perfecting — their unique voices for their entire lives. But looking at those who do it so well is the start. And that creates a fine line. To me, you find your unique style by studying others, figuring out what you love — what speaks to you — and applying it in your own unique way. Study how Meg Bitton “spotlights” her subjects and perfects their skin. Look at how Sue Bryce poses people to maximize their best features. Examine at how CJ Nicolai uses black and white photography to make an emotional impact. And figure out what you love about each of them and what is just not you. And then try it. Try to imitate it and see how your natural approach differs from theirs — because it will. Even when I try to imitate something, it never turns out exactly the same as the original because I am not the original artist.

Scientists do not uncover revolutionary discoveries the first day that they are a scientist. They’ve studied science their entire lives. They’ve studied the masters — their approaches, their passions, their tools. And then they take that information an apply it in their own unique way to create their own unique discoveries and inventions.

So, study the masters. And then make your photography your own.

As always, at Pollack Photography we’re focused on you.

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