"the chance of standing out diminishes even further."
Yes, thats absolutely right too, jjj, and it is somewhat depressing to understand it to be so.
I buy B&W Magazine (the US one devoted to photography collectors), and some of the work there is quite interesting but much of it makes my head reel with disbelief. Many years ago, the BJP went through what I assume was a phase (I abandoned it some considerable while ago, so things may have changed), when they took this delight in publishing so-called studentsī images which were for all the world no different from the first wind-on exposures you get on the waste frames prior to the image counter settling at no.1; thatīs on film, for those wondering what the hell Iīm on about.
But getting past those sorts of pictures, which to me spell nothing other than poor technique, the higher quality of picture (technically) still doesnīt really say a whole lot about much. There is a sameness through what passes for īartī photography that I find difficult to grasp. The old saws of rock, tree, desert and sea still feature strongly along with the inevitable slot canyon, abandoned western township, cactus and flower. If you dig cities, then the obligatory bits of skyscraper will not fail to appear too, nor the bridges and overhead rail system supports. Itīs as if somebody, somewhere, had said: these shall be the parameters within which thou shalt creat thine art, departure from which true path shall doom thee to oblivion. I am not, of course, pointing out B&W as some lone example of this repetitive subject matter thing, but it does, to me, provide a prime example of what I think is amiss.
Donīt ask me what else people can shoot; I have long agreed with the late Terence Donovanīs belief that, for an amateur, the most difficult thing is to find a reason to take a photograph. For the pro itīs so easy: somebody needs it.
Perhaps thatīs why I spend so much time - or waste it, perhaps - working on old Kodachromes that somebody, sometime, had me shoot. It was great: they paid me and, as I had followed my star through both good years and bad (there were many) I managed, mostly, to shoot what pleased me on their account. Fortunately, those things still please me and might (?) have a future in the world of digital prints. If not, then they help me grow old gracefully.
Your own style from six or so years back now makes you wonder if you would currently be accused of plagiarism; I have much the same fears too, on and off, mainly because I have very firm ideas about what I like and the trouble is that what I like is very much what several other guys of my generation liked too! Whilst I would be flattered to be mistaken for Hans Feurer, Sam Haskins, or even Francis Giacobetti thatīs a conceit too far and so I shall not mention it. However, todayīs lot is safe! Mainly, I expect, because digital retouching doesnīt turn me on very much and I still like faces to look as if they were made of flesh and blood. I find plastic women are not interesting to me on any level. I really wonder whether they do a lot to enchant their presumed female audience of makeup buyers either, but who ever asked them? Perhaps the problem is simply that because PS can do something, people feel obliged to do it.
How simple would have been the life of an estate agent, accountant or shopkeeper.
(This is meant as a joke - I know you all have problems too.)