There’s no denying that Instagram has established itself as the most popular social media platform among photographers, amateur or professional. It’s the best way to join a community of like-minded artists, discover trends, and share your work with an international audience.
But earlier this year, we came across Insta Repeat. On this Instagram account, the user shares collages of almost identical pictures she finds on other Instagram accounts owned by photographers around the world.
These pictures, most of the time, show scenes that most people don’t see every day: a aerial view of some snowy pine trees, a long, deserted road in the American South, or even a sharp cliff above a valley so far below it doesn’t fit in the frame.
When uncommon becomes common
Years ago, we might have considered these images to be unique, innovative, and unusual. I certainly have never skated down an empty forest road, or woken up in a tent to watch the sun rise over a beach.
However, it seems these pictures are more common than most things on famous Instagram photographers’ accounts these days. Those people, who are usually called “insta-famous”, show a plethora of pictures which, on their accounts, seem uncommon. But when you compare them to other insta-famous photographers, it’s actually quite hard to tell the difference.
Creativity and copy
Most photographers, just like most artists, have their own visions. It’s impossible to say that Dorothea Lange, Steve McCurry, and Annie Leibowitz all have the same approach to photography. Each of these artists has their own creative flair, their own views, and their own way to look at the world around them.
With Instagram’s new surge of photographers, this individuality gets lost. The process of creating a work of art doesn’t happen anymore, as their creation process simply becomes the process of recreating existing work.
A faceless game
And who could tell you what photographer came up with any one Instagram-worthy concept first? Certainly, without the ability to tell pictures apart, the source of that creative idea is nowhere to be found.
Instead, we are left with a mass-produced, anonymous body of work that presents the viewer with nothing new to react to, and the same picture to look at over and over again, until another nameless person comes up with a new concept.
How to stand out
Cultivate your creativity. The way you think and see things is unique, and it’s the reason why photographers are considered artists. So remain true to yourself. No matter what trend comes up, or what you think people want to see, you create for yourself before you create for anyone else.
Trends pass and people get bored. But your personality remain at the heart of all the work you create, and you should always nurture it, grow it, and showcase it.