Learning Guide 1 Morgan Burnette

What I have learned after reading the article Originality is dead: or is it? and Derivative works and photography by Ming Thein

While reading these articles on originality, I have learned that no style is actually original but every picture is. After generations of photographers, it is nearly impossible to truly create an original image since generally everything has already been photographed. While no idea may be truly unique, every picture is in its own way. Due to space and time, no photograph is a direct copy of any other, even if the photos seem identical. Keeping these two ideas in mind, photographers should not constantly strive to create something completely different from the status quo. When creating a new image, we must remember that drastic change is frightening and no idea is truly original in itself.

What is photography?

Photography is the capturing of art found around you, whether that be people, places, or objects. It is explained as the freezing of time and allows one to hold on to a moment or memory that might otherwise be lost. Photographs can also be used as an explanation. Ansel Adams once said, "When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."

Is photography art?

Merriam Webster describes art as something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings. I describe photography as the capturing of life and moments around you, and if that isn't art, then I don't know what is.

Zeb Andrews

Zeb Andrews is a pinhole photographer who works at the Blue Moon Camera and Machine-- a film camera store in Portland. Andrews' work is mainly pinhole, and shows many examples of movement. I appreciated his pieces where he worked with light and people movement, and tried to portray his same photographic techniques in my own photos.

Here, Andrews shows the movement of light. I tried to imitate this by using my phone's flashlight and moving it in different patterns.
Our group was also very interested in moving landscapes. Here, the moving water looks almost like glass. This is similar to the above picture by Andrews where the moving clouds and light from the car look glassy as well.

How to be a better photographer

Step One: Study Up

When trying to be better at something, why would one not first look to the greats? By studying famous photographers, you can learn different techniques and photo styles that appeal to you personally. You can also grow from their talents and create new images from their old ones.

Step Two: Try Something New

After discovering your model photographer, try to improve their work by trying something new. Ming Thein may believe that originality is dead, but that should't stop you from stepping out of your personal comfort zone to get a good photo. Try different angles or lighting or even subjects.

Step Three: Limit Yourself

Try limiting yourself to certain types of photography. Try different cameras, subjects, or times of day to photograph. Perfect the art of pinhole or iPhonography before moving on to a different camera form. Don't allow yourself to get comfortable with only one type of photography-- get out there and try something new and don't change until you're super comfortable with your skill.


This photo was taken by iPhonographer Jinsong Hu. He recently won third place in the iPhone Photography Awards in the category of Abstract. Hu took this photo while in Tibet. The above flags are known as prayer flags, and Hu was attracted to this particular flag due to its bright color. Hu found something important to him, the Tibetan prayer flags, and used color and size to make his image pop. The angle and shadows of the image also lead one to interest in the image.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.