The Reader

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” – Confucius

My passion for photography has increased over the past 7 years.  I no longer leave my home without carrying at least one camera.  My eyes are continually drawn to things to photograph.  Street photography, landscapes, macros, architecture – there is just so much to photograph, so much that speaks to me of the connections between people and people, between people and their world and my connection to the world.  I have thousands of photographs, not all categorised yet, not all worked on yet, but waiting for me.

As I upload new photos I am cataloguing them with keywords and at the same time setting myself the task of doing the same with one or two batches of the older photos.  From this I can see that themes are emerging.  Clearly I ‘see’ the same issues, the same interests in many places and they call to me to record them. They fit in with my vision of the world.

In the last 6 months I have begun to look at other photographers blogs as well, and am frequently inspired by their wonderful images and ideas for collating those images.  If I have noticed a theme running through my recording of the world around me and then I see that theme made alive in a collection by another photographer, am I plagiarising or being influenced?

One particular series that concerns me now is the wonderful series by Steve McCurry http://stevemccurry.wordpress.com/ .  His ‘sleeping’ and ‘readers’ series resonates strongly with me because I have so many images of people sleeping and reading in interesting places.  These have been collected over a number of years, and labelled under ‘daily life’.  If I re-arrange them now into those specific areas because I recognise the clear connections – am I cheating??  They are by no means the same images, but by re-collating them, do I run the risk of ‘stealing’ creativity?

If I read a romance novel and write one later, have I stolen the concept of ‘love’, of boy meets girl, lovers have difficulties, lovers reunite and live happily ever after?  Or have I recognised the universality of the theme and interpreted it with my vision?

I have been developing a list of projects I want to eventually put together, when I find more images that fit, and in the meantime, I keep finding more ideas, and the more I read in books, magazines and on the web, the richer my ideas become, and together they will merge with my vision to create something unique.

I want to acknowledge the influences, but not plagiarise.

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