I use the term “Collector” to refer to a photographer who collects images, rather than creating original art. I came up with the “Collector” title while reflecting upon the way some people go about collecting their images. A collector to me is someone who sees an image created by another person and then tries to replicate that image exactly as the other photographer composed it. This practice is quite widespread. I am not attaching this term to workshop participants because they are signing up to learn, and seeing the slight differences in composition can be a useful learning tool.
I realize that many people fall into the collector category without even realizing it. It may not be a deliberate action at all. Replicating an individual image may be because some particular image spoke to them in a way that compelled them to recreate it. Repetitive collection may be an unconscious bad habit. It may arise from a lack of confidence in their own eye.
While I know that at some iconic locations, the compositions don’t vary much as they are pretty obvious. I am mostly speaking to the spots that require some thought and have not been plastered all over the net.
Another question that comes to mind is-have all the great iconic locations been shot to death and there are no unique shots left? My instant answer to the last question is no, if I truly believed that, I would not be a photographer and I would let go of all of my creative thoughts and visions and just take snap shots.
I urge you to go to your next photo shoot without looking at any other images from that location before you get there. I am not saying that you can never have seen any photos from that location or that you need to go there completely blind—I just want you to go there without ANY thoughts of duplicating photographs you have already seen. Find your own way; make your vision come to life. Think of it as an artist with a blank canvas.
*Top featured image Kyoto, Japan ~ Zoom and turn with a slow shutter speed, in-camera Canon 5D Mark IV and the 24-105mm II lens.