Recently I did a shoot for a great new model that the agencies had a field day trying to lasso to their stable. During the shoot someone from my crew asked if I knew a particular photographer. I did not know them. Then she asked if I knew another guy, I did not know him. Yes I know the majors, the Steven Kleins and Bruce Webers but I didn’t know Orange County’s hot new photographer and LA’s up and coming new star. Have you ever sat down and someone asks if you’ve read a book, you say no. Then they ask about another book and you still stay no. You feel dumb and in this case I should have felt that way, but instead I defended my stance.
I am a fan of the art, the lighting and the overall imagery. I don’t waste time trying to memorize the exact steps of someone else’s career. What good will that do for me? I don’t want to collect them like baseball cards or be able to pick something out just by the style. I don’t care. I am lucky enough to be busy with my own work, and I focus on my work.
I said that I may have the photographer’s work in my mind, but never who did it. I feel that slowly molds you into who THEY ARE. It takes an artist so much time and effort to define yourself and your work, so why would I pay attention of my peers? I support them in what they do. I will support their great images but I don’t need to know what photographer did each shot. I want to grow and develop my own style and memorizing my local photographers will inhibit that process.
Lesson from me: Just worry about your art, wether that is music or photos or writing. Find what makes you special and exploit that. Let the world know that. Focusing too much on others could sway you to borrow from their style, making you unoriginal and doing a disservice to your art.