The world doesn’t need another photographer like me

landscape, Dan Jurak, pond, slough, black and white, fineart, fine art, minimalist, fog, foggy, Alberta, Travel Alberta,

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –   Anais Nin   

One Dan Jurak is enough. There are enough Dan Jurak photos in this world.

Why on God’s green earth would anyone want to emulate my photographs? Hopefully they don’t. Not because I don’t like them but because my photographs are an expression of me.

The quote that intros this blog reinforces exactly how I feel about the arts and life. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Earlier today I posted a photo to 500px. When I hit the “DISCOVER” link I was struck by the sameness of the photographs. Photographs from all over the world taken by different people ending up looking more alike than different. Did the same person post these photos? It certainly looked like it but obviously that was not the case.

You were born into this world a unique human being with an insight that is yours and yours alone and yet in the move to become a better photographer you end up looking more alike than different.

There is a biological reason that we aren’t all born identical. It is the difference in each of us that contributes to the growth of the species and not the sameness.

Wouldn’t you rather be on the other side of the fence in this photo looking into the unknown and making discoveries on your own? The road less traveled you know…

Be yourself. You will like yourself better and I will too.

Happy shooting,




~ by Dan Jurak on December 12, 2014.

21 Responses to “The world doesn’t need another photographer like me”

  1. Wise words, Dan!

    It seems that every book or article that I read on photographic creativity echoes what you are saying. I think it is human nature to try to copy or emulate what each of us finds appealing or interesting. I’ve certainly been guilty of that! I’ll like an image so much I’ll try to figure out how it was done. But, I do try to find my own style or vision. Personally, I’m interested in many different styles or techniques, such as black and white, HDR, adding textures and so forth. I think this is an effort to find my own “image”.

    Great post and food for thought!

  2. Terry, I am as guilty of that as anyone. It is through imitation or emulation that we learn enough to choose our direction and make our say into the world.
    Thank you for visiting and commenting,

  3. Great photograph!

  4. Thank you.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting,

  5. You are welcome!

  6. Love the quote and thanks for starting my weekend off with something to ponder. As a newbie, I spend quite a lot of time looking at other people’s photographs – both those who are well known and my peers – but try to make those images a source of inspiration rather than something to copy. I suspect I don’t always achieve that but figure it’s all part of the learning curve.

  7. Hi Dan,
    Interesting point of view you have but it’s just like in other art domain like music or writing. First we copy than, if the talent really exists, we create. I think it’s called evolution and some people will figure out and start to being creative but others will always copy someone else work. As for myself, I learn to play guitar just to play Metallica’s songs but at this moment, I like creating new music more than learning to play someone else stuff.
    One more thing: it is possible but very rarely that two or many individuals to have the same idea but to be in different corners of this world and not knowing of the existence of the other.

  8. Interesting quote written by a fascinating woman. Lets go a little further on this. If we see things as we are then it is quite possible Jung’s collective unconscious comes into play. If we see with that part of our psyche we are bound to use the same experiences, the same archetypes in our creation process. Hence a lot of look alike images. Lovely image Dan.

  9. Stephan, you might be onto something. Although I imagine that we as human beings have limits to which we see or hear something that is pleasant rather than disturbing.

    Thank you for giving me something to ponder,

  10. IOnut, I like the Metallica analogy because I think that copying or repetition is indeed one of the ways that we learn the foundation or basics of our pursuit. Once learned we have the ability to create rather than copy.
    Thank you for your insightful comment,

  11. Caz you can’t go wrong by emulating others when you are learning. I saw a new item on the television years ago about painting forgeries. The forgers were able with great ability to make exact copies of the masters. They could replicate their brush stroke, use of color, etc. They were as skillful as the masters but they lacked the ability to be creative like the masters.

    Good luck with your photography, it is a most rewarding pursuit.


  12. This is the exact reason why I try not to go for any of the cliche type shots such as a lot of sunrise/sunset shots or try to go the abstract or abnormal route. It’s also why I do a lot of experimenting by combining different techniques in hope of creating something new and unique. When I create something, I want to create something I’ve never seen before. Not something that I’ve seen a hundred others create. I’ll mimic something to hone in a specific technique, but once there then I mold it to create what I envision. In a world so saturated in photos it’s the creativity that keeps uniqueness going. As you have stated, we were all born different so we must continue to be different rather than trying to be the same. It is great to learn off one another but the challenge is to take that knowledge and create something of your own with it. Great post!

  13. @ Justin, the hardest part of anything in the arts is to be original. As you well know, mimicry is a good way to get you where you want to be.

    Vive la difference! (excuse my grade school French)


  14. Dan, wise words… I’m setting here looking at a favorite print taken at a well known iconic location. There were dozens crowded into the ‘firing line’ early in the morning to get that iconic angle. But I sat up elsewhere, and afterwards people were asking “you came all this way, and didn’t shoot that?” All I could say was I found my view much more interesting…

  15. Dale, standing in line to take a landscape photos is the ultimate contradiction of being creative. There are lots of great “technical” photographers but very few creative artists. Painting by numbers takes little to no creativity or so I have always thought.

    Merry Christmas to you and thank you for visiting and commenting,

  16. I couldn’t agree more with your quote, “in the move to become a better photographer you end up looking more alike than different.” It is probably the most common setback start-up photographers face in today’s world of photography. I can tell I am going to find great benefits from your blog– glad I stumbled upon it.

  17. Reblogged this on itsaghostcat and commented:
    “in the move to become a better photographer you end up looking more alike than different,” – Dan Jurak’s Alberta Landscape Photo Blog

  18. You only need to look at the top photos on 500px and see that the photos are more alike than different. Good or bad?

  19. I think it’s too early to tell… Perhaps the art of photography is beginning to reach its plateau, considering the potential belief that whatever can be photographed has all ready been photographed?

    I have heard a similar argument in the art of music reaching its plateau: all the keys in music have been played in every different order you could possibly imagine. Now musicians are simply recreating what has once been created. The only way to break through the plateau is by creating a new key for the instruments…

  20. I’d like to start off by saying that I agree, art is our own unique perspective on the world. That being said, I believe (for better or worse) one of the reasons people emulate (beyond the learning curve) is a simple matter of psychology (there is something in most of us that yearns to be part of the crowd…call it our social structure, call it safety in numbers, call it whatever you want but its the need to belong is inherent in most of us)…..and for those of us trying for economic success, it can be a matter of catering to public demands. I firmly believe that many trends in the arts catch on based on who is buying the finished product. If you want to license images, you may lean your shots or edits a certain way, based on where the demand is.

    From the artistic perspective, I think art should be a reflection of the artist, but the realist in me sees that you can’t always pay the bills without compromising.

    Just a little devil’s advocacy, I guess. It’s taboo, so most people wont say it, but for anyone trying to pay their bills with photography, its an elephant in the room.

  21. I think that we are have evolved to dislike/mistrust anything different from the comfortable. It’s evolution at work. Different is dangerous. Familiar is safe. Having said that it is those who ventured out from the confines of safety that helped society to evolve. What is old to us now was once new. The same goes for the arts.

    Happily I have managed to photograph things in my own way not trying to be like anybody else and have had stock sales increase. Different to a point is better in sales or so my experience has been. Give a client of hundreds of the same kind of landscape to view and the one that jumps out at them is the one that is different.

    The same can be said when I photographed editorial for a living. It was because I did things differently from my competitors that I got jobs. Your mileage may vary.

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