59This post was prompted in part by a thread on Purestorm in which a photographer posted a link to some photos with the comment that he wished he’d thought of that. The first couple of responses were fairly negative, pointing out that it had all been done before.

Of course it has. Almost nothing is new in art. I think that’s missing the point. The photographer in question may well have seen similar images and wanted to try it for himself, or he may have had the idea independently. That doesn’t matter. The thing is he’s experimenting, trying different things.

He’s 16, and it made me think back to when I first became seriously interested in photography. I got my first SLR at the age of 17. Even though I was shooting on film, and every frame cost money, I think I experimented more then than I do now. It was new to me and I wanted to try it all – sports, macro photography, landscapes, people. After a while I settled into landscapes, and eventually, many years later, started shooting models. Seeing these photos of the marbles was a reminder to keep trying new things and experimenting with different styles. Attempting something completely different can be a great way to get out of a creative rut, even if it doesn’t lead anywhere.

I know this is all well and good in theory, but the proof will be in the action – whether this really does inspire me to try new things. I’ll be thinking of some new things to shoot, and in the meantime will dig out my old prints to see whether I’m actually right about my younger self. Perhaps he just wasted a lot of film on nothing!

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