And it got me thinking. My own way of working to date has been fairly solitary and I have developed ideas very much independently, trying to be as original as my skills allow. If I have been influenced by established artists, I have applied a 'light' touch to my work, careful not to copy, merely inspired by. I don't want to retrace a successful artist's journey, I'm on my own journey and I would like it be original. But, maybe I need to alter my approach. My tutor recommended I should try to make contact with other photographers - this I have responded to and to start with I have attended a local photography club.
Perhaps an apprentice photographer is just that and 'copying' those you are inspired by is an important step in an artist's development. I don't know how other established photographers work, but I am now wondering.
Slightly on a tangent, this article inspired me to read this book Regeneration2. It has also been exhibited this summer at the Saatchi Gallery. As it says here:
Take 700 portfolios from 120 of the world's top colleges, take 80 of the best, and what do you have? A pretty good indicator of where photography is headed...And this is what attracted me to the book. I wanted to see what other students were doing in other colleges and institutes around the world. It is an interesting publication and fascinating to see how the compelling issues differ from country to country. And I found myself trying to guess who the influences of the photographers were. Some I didn't know, but others, their influences seemed more obvious and I could hazard a guess who they may have been. I'm sure I've seen some work influenced by the likes of Gregory Crewdson, Nan Goldin, Rineke Dijkstra, Cindy Sherman, Sam Taylor Wood, Hilla and Bernd Becher.
So are they 'copying' or imitating their 'heroes' or is this absolutely a legitimate approach I should be adopting myself? It isn't that I'm not influenced by the top photographers, but I try hard not to produce work that replicates that of another artist. Maybe this is how you find your own voice, define your own style and contribute to the work that has come before.
I have no answer to this (ahem, I've heard myself say that a fair bit recently!)...but maybe I should fear 'imitating' or 'copying' the greats less. This will help with assignment 4, which is to photograph in the style of the photographer I reviewed.