minutes ago i had the pleasure of reading these beautiful words from a blog which was just introduced to me by a good friend of mine, who is also an exceptional photographer. each and every word struck me deep to my core. i couldn't help but want to share the beautifully written thoughts and so i have included them in this post. in no way am i copying what she's saying and claiming it as my own. instead, i'm soaking in the sunshine her words bring to my soul as i find in them a common belief and perspective. elizabeth messina has long been a photographer which i have admired. and if you are not aware of who she is, it's about time you check her out. for now though, i hope that you will stay a few moments and really devour every word that she has to offer as she discusses the concept of copyright and identity as a photographer. if her words here were a drink, they'd be a nice refreshing and endless nojito on a perfectly sunny day.
"as we meander along our journey in life, camera in hand….the road twisting & turning…we, as photographers, learning our craft & nurturing our creativity, and learning the value of our images….somewhere along the way as we honor & maintain the ever important “copyright” to our photographs….there is a little tiny problem….”copyright” does not mean “copycat”….so i implore you, especially young photographers, trust in yourself & your own vision…it is the one thing absolutely unique & special to you…in a world full of “inspiration” & “ideas” i imagine there is a certain allure to aspire to create images that are reminiscent of ones we’ve seen & been moved by….in fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, when i began my journey as a photographer, i was mesmerized by SALLY MANN’s work…it spoke to my soul…it moved in ways i had no language to describe…my sister gave me the book IMMEDIATE FAMILY (if you have not seen this book, you must…its wonderful)….the book is full of SALLY MANN’s photographs of her three children…..i would say her work has influenced me greatly….although i too now am the mother of three children (i swear i didn’t mean to “copy” SALLY MANN on that) & i love, as many of you know, to photograph my children….i suppose i understand more now how poignant SALLY MANN’s images are….how being a mother changes you in ways that are ever-changing & beyond the scope of any human language…when i photograph my children i am drawn to the unique & special beauty they each possess….i capture what is in front of me…what they reveal to me…it is an awkward dance of caught moments & missed moments, crowns & birthday cakes, it’s our life…so yes, i was touched by SALLY MANN’s images of her life….i have never tried to “copy” a specific images of hers….what would be the point?? the beauty of an image lies somewhere between a proper exposure & some modicum of authenticity….my point is, don’t try to copy another person’s work….everyone knows….and the saddest part about it, is that you are missing the most amazing opportunity to create special meaningful images…each human, each photographer has something special to offer, if you are “copying” others, you never really discover or reveal what is special and amazing about yourself….i do believe in inspiring each other…and let’s face it, it’s not like we can re-invent the wheel….there will always be overlaps & similarities between photographers & their work…but really when you outright “copy” another photographer you are only making yourself look bad…& truly missing the point, because you were probably drawn to the amazing image you are trying to copy because if felt authentic in some way…& the minute you copy it, you have lost any sense of authenticity….art is in your heart…so instead of looking outside, try looking inward…you might be surprised how much inspired beauty you will find inside…xoxo"
thank you thank you thank you elizabeth messina for the words of inspiration today.