Mt. Batulao, Philippines
It’s More Fun To Experiment
Just few days after fireworks, noise, and smog settled down during the celebration of the New Year 2012; Department of Tourism (DOT) gave another reason for Filipinos to make noise, but not exactly the kind that excites and pleases everybody. “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” —- a new tourism campaign slogan from the DOT which once again became an instant controversy and gained both positive and negative reactions from Filipinos. What bothers everyone is that the new slogan is claimed to be an exact rip-off from the 1950 Switzerland’s campaign “It’s More Fun in Switzerland”. This tourism slogan turmoil reminds me of the importance of becoming an honest photographer and not a copycat.
As an artist, we give importance to creativity, to vision, and passion. But before we understand these three elements in my opinion, we are bound to go through three basic phases of learning: Admiring, copying, and experimenting. Many of us begin by admiring the works of other photographers before us. Their artworks enable us to be creative, to be imaginative, and to be motivated. We idolized them, we applause their work, and we usually wish we can do the same with our craft. Other artists inspire us to do better with our chosen field, they’re the ones that fuel our passion.
But before we lead ourselves into experimentation and find our niche later on, first we look deeper into another artist’s work, we study them and we decipher their workflows and techniques. Which in most cases allow ourselves to try their system, replicate their methods, and eventually copy the exact feel of their artworks. I say it’s fine, there’s exactly nothing wrong with being curious or trying to know how another artist expresses his craft. It’s part of the learning process. That’s why we attend workshops or lectures to gain more information and knowledge on diverse methods and techniques of different artists and apply them for the improvement of our own craft. But what’s not okay and should not be tolerated is to stick to the idea of copying and replicating other works and forget about experimentation and developing an own style. And worst, steal other artworks and claim them as yours. I’ve read, heard, and seen different accusations of plagiarism, some of them are proven true and some of them are plainly just brought by envy or just for the sake of having to say something to gain attention. This is common not only in photography but in other art forms as well. So, would you be willing to share an original photo of another artist and claim it as your own, and make people believe that you’ve envisioned and created it? Isn’t that a very good illustration of being dishonest?
That’s why the last and most important phase is experimentation. After learning various proven and tested methods, we can start to develop our own style taking into account all the things that we’ve learned from others. It gives us idea of what’s going to work and what’s not. Experiment, create your own character. Your own style distinguishes you from others, it what makes you who you are, it what makes you unique, then others should be able to identify you through your own work and not through the work of others. Again, it’s a learning process. Learn to understand different methods and techniques then don’t be afraid to experiment and start to create your own identity.
So you decide whether it’s fun copying another artist’s work and claim ownership, or if it’s really More Fun in the Philippines (or rather having our own identity?). :P