The photography social media sites are flooded every day with images from iconic spots. They make for fabulous scenery and are well known for a reason. Scrolling through images from social media sites many photographers will recognize most of the places they were taken from. In today’s photography world, there are many locations that become the hotspot to photograph. For example, Iceland and Norway in wintertime, is one of the most photographed locations in the last couple of years. It’s not uncommon to see several photos in your social media newsfeed. It seems like in the evolution of photography, we flock to the same locations to photograph in the footprints of others. With careful critique from previous photos of the same location, we then set out to outdo that image.
As we continue to follow the suit of other photographers and locations, the bar is raised and we continue to push the boundaries of realism. It’s no good anymore to have an image that has just great light; the image now needs lightning or a rainbow. With the advancement of post-processing and the ability to create just about anything in Photoshop we find photographer in a state of major change. As a photographer, I struggle with the concepts that we continue to photograph the same places year after year.
The photography world is more competitive than ever. The emergence of young photographers who were raised learning the computer has shifted the way images are processed and seen these days. Whenever I find myself teaching photography to other students and clients I always stress to find your own composition. I relate how important it is through framing and composition to tell your own story. It’s more important than ever to develop your own style. This includes both the photography and the art of post processing. With social media being more powerful than ever, we find many photographers guilty of copying other photographers composition. Without a thought to looking for new composition, many photographers are just replicating styles and compositions already achieved in the past.
A funny story happened to me a few years ago when I was photographing at the iconic Palouse Falls in Eastern Washington. As I was getting my camera stuff out of the car a group of photographers approached me and showed me a print of Palouse Falls from some other photographer and they wanted to know where the exact spot of where the photo was taken. I asked the group if they would rather shoot in a different place or they wanted just that one spot. After further discussion they relayed to me they’d come all the way from California to photograph that one spot that’s all they were interested in. Their notion and belief in getting that one iconic shot seems to be the way photographers feel today.
On a certain level, most photographers at one time or another have been victim to this. I am definitely guilty of this when I see a photo I really enjoy. I try to remind myself the importance of creating my own style and vision. But I consciously have to make an effort to find my own composition.
I don’t think it’s wrong to capture that one iconic image but I always stress the importance of also finding other viewpoints and perspectives at these iconic spots. I think photography would be much more interesting if people tried to find their own photography locations and photograph it in the style that is true to them.