In a world where everyone looks the same…

The Barn Beside The Road

I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.

I love that information and ideas can be so easily shared. Everyone can have a voice on the ‘net. We are free to express ourselves however we like. Too often for worse rather than better. The hate and bigotry that is rampant on the internet is sad really and says a lot about human nature. Some of us need police and prisons to keep ourselves in check. Happily I think that is the minority rather than the majority.

Expression comes in many forms. Political. Religious. Morality. I choose to express myself for lack of a better word and without trying to sound pretentious, artistically.

The internet has changed me as a photographer. I think that it has probably made me a better one. Digital photography, camera/phones, etc. have made photography more accessible than it has ever been. Everyone is a photographer or wants to be one it seems.

For the last couple of years I have noticed a homogenization in landscape photography. What do I mean by that? Every freaking picture looks like it was taken by the same person.

A visit this morning to the photo sharing website 500px only served to reinforce that. When I look under popular landscapes there is more similarity than uniqueness among the first few pages of photos and I think that is a  bad thing rather than a good thing.

Why does it seem that everyone at least everyone who is “popular” looks the same? What was popular twenty years ago is now outdated and old. What is now popular was once new and beyond the bounds of what is “normal”.

We all want to be liked. We all want the pat on the back that says, well done. Some of us chase it more than others and to what end?

Why is it important to be “popular” on the internet? It takes hard work to be popular. It just doesn’t happen on its own. I see photographers on Flickr and 500pix with thousands of friends. That means every time they log on they get hundreds and thousands of photos in their feed.

Can you really be their “friend” when they are one of thousands of anonymous people you have friended? I don’t think so.

For my whole life I have made a conscious effort to be different. To step apart from the crowd. To speak my own voice.

Maybe it’s more important to have two or three real friends than thousands of “friends” on the internet?

In a world where everyone looks the same I want to look different.

Happy shooting,




~ by Dan Jurak on September 20, 2016.

7 Responses to “In a world where everyone looks the same…”

  1. Well I feel it too! You’re talking from the heart!

  2. Hi Vlado,

    Thank you for visiting and commenting.

    I have a feeling that there are more of us than we think.


  3. I agree with some of your points but also disagree with some. I think the internet is great for photographers. Years ago unless you were a pro working for a magazine or had gallery representation, it was near impossible for you to get an audience for your work. Photographers, like others in the art realm, should create first for themselves, but everyone wants their work to be seen. The internet provides that exposure. And I think that’s great.

    Regarding the perceived similarity in landscape photography, or to use your word homogenization, I agree there is some but not to the degree that I feel that is all I see. Many photographers are on a journey of discovery and as such go through a period where they shoot what they themselves like in the work of others. Many will never go beyond this “imitation” but others will. This is but a stop along the way as their work evolves. One could state a case that the first couple people years ago to shoot LE were innovative and creative, while the rest of us shooting long exposure are imitating them. There’s a heckuva lot of LE work in landscape photography, so a lot of similarity as a result. But it’s how one uses the LE to present one’s take on a scene that matters and that can make one’s work stand out.

    Regarding your point about people on FLICKR and 500PX and other sites having thousands of friends and that all they are after is numbers. Friending someone is a FaceBook term. On FLICKR you Follow someone, and yes some people have thousands of Followers, but that doesn’t mean that the person being followed is following thousands as well. I think you misunderstand that. The overwhelming majority of the people that I Follow on FLICKR follow only a number that they can personally handle, though they themselves might be Followed by thousands. I agree that some people try to manipulate the system by following thousands in the hopes that people will reciprocate and they will then gain. That’s retty shabby. But a lot of people truly want to see the work of others, comment, and have their work seen and appreciated, too.

    So, this is my take on it. Thanks for your post and your thoughts. And happy shooting, Dan.

  4. First of all, thank you Frank for your well thought out and well presented argument.

    Most of the time I write about what I am feeling at the moment. I seldom, if ever plan a topic and this time was no different. I saw what were the popular photos on 500px and was struck by the similarity of the first couple of dozen. Different locations but the same look.

    The photographers that I viewed were not beginning photographers but people who had obviously taken tens of thousands of photos.

    You are 100% right when you state that part of learning is by imitating and we are all guilty of that to a degree. The fun is in finding your own path and following it.

    Thank you again for the great argument.


  5. What a stunning B&W!

  6. It’s all new to me, so I’m not too cynical yet. Definitely in the imitation stage. Learning and hoping to find my own way someday. Always enjoy reading your take on things, Dan.

  7. Hi Sheila, I think that imitation is one of the best ways of learning photography. Keep at it and before you know it you will be experimenting with all the new information and techniques that you have picked up.

    Thank you again for visiting and commenting, it is appreciated,

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