Being original isn’t easy

AB Watson Photography

Quantity always trumps quality. In a book called Art of fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland. They write about an experiment. A ceramics teacher divided a class into two groups. One group would be graded on quantity and the other group on quality. The ones being graded on “quality” produced only one pot. While the “quantity” group was churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes. In the end, the quantity group produced better pots, as they learned from their mistakes and pondered less on being perfect.

Failure is a good thing because we learn from it. I’ve always loved failing because I end up learning something. When I had a success I didn’t learn anything from it. I just used a formula I already knew, which in turn didn’t fuel my development. Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the definition of insanity, but doing the same thing over and over again, with the same successful results, for me feels like purgatory. Just like a broken record, repeating and repeating the same thing. If this is you, you might as well be a factory conveyor belt, turning out the same product or action.


Being original isn’t easy, it takes a lot of trial and error to get to that place, you must copy what inspires you and remix what subconsciously influences you. Through trying and failing you learn from experimentation. All these things are needed and you must overcome them to become original. It’s something we forget. If you try and do something perfectly in hopes it will be less likely to fail, then you are stunning your growth. It’s the individual that pumps out many concepts and variations of work that are more likely to progress in their craft. What I’m getting at is without getting over the fear of failure you will never be able to find or develop something original.

The fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, once said to find yourself you must, copy, copy, copy, copy. I took Yamamoto’s advice to heart, I found artists that inspired me and took elements I liked about their practices and implemented them into my own work. Over time I slowly remixed them into my own voice. I tried different things and developed the directions I liked. Through copying different elements and using this remix mentality, you can develop your own voice and style in photography. Getting over your fear of failure, will in turn direct you down a path of originality.