Nothing is new or original

A bit nihilistic maybe, I know. For real, though, at this point in history it’s just a numbers game. Once you get to the point of having multiple-billions of humans running around on the planet (we’ve been there for a while), how can anything possibly have not been done before?

Obviously this applies to photography as much as anything else, and I think it’s becoming even more pronounced for two widely-known reasons.

First, billions of people now have cameras, even if just simple ones on the back of their phones.

Second, the Internet has enabled photo sharing platforms to flourish. Instagram alone has well over one billion active monthly users at this point.

Give billions of people with cameras the opportunity to see photos taken by billions of other people, and it’s not hard to figure out what will happen in terms of idea exchange. I’m not saying that it’s inherently a bad thing; on the contrary, I think the future of humanity depends on collaboration between everyone everywhere. It’s just that it does kind of kill the romantic notion of something original being created.

So I think the best thing is to just accept the fact that nothing is really new or original. Like really deep down, come to terms with it. It should actually help to take off a lot of pressure to create some crazy new thing, leaving space to instead acknowledge what exists and create something iterative from there.