Many art teachers will tell you art is simply adapting and refining past art. But what's the difference between refining and copying? This particular discussion can go on endlessly, and it isn't the point to this post.
But that's just my personal experience with the subject. Another issue with "refining" is that the more it's done, the less powerful the images become. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery". Well flatter a style of work enough make it cheap and unoriginal. The revision of Barbara Krugers work above is pretty much the point.
I've recently gotten into the work of Terry Richardson. I'd seen his work before and loved it, but it's only been recently, this week actually, that I've been able to put a name to the art. His style is simple. Shooting portraits on a bare background with only a hot shoe flash on his camera. He is also Lady Gaga's photographer.
(Check out the Barbara Kruger shirt)
And the man himself,
What becomes dangerous with work like this, is that assumptions are made that it's easy. This idea can actually be applied to every style of photography; hence the Walmart Picture Studio and "photographers" running a business from home. Soon, people who think Instagram makes them photographers will be taking a crack at Terry's style.
The best analogy I can come up with for what happens is via music. When a new song comes out, we put it on repeat and hear it over and over on the radio. We listen to it so much that the song is ruined and becomes awful. The same thing happens with styles of photographers, it's done so much that people lose appreciation for the original artists work.
And this isn't to say you can't be inspired by Terry Richardson or me or any other photographer or artist. But make it your own.
Until next time...
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