Has everything already been photographed?

Yes. Get over it.

More and more I see the lament on various on-line forums (fora?) that “everything has already been photographed.” The literal meaning of that is not the issue. It’s how does one create their own vision? How can one separate their work from all the rest?

Honestly, I don’t know exactly how to answer this dilemma. At least, not in a few simple tips that I can tell you. Some examples, perhaps?

Maybe it’s as simple as trying to find a different angle. When I was collaborating with other photographers documenting historic Texas churches, this became really apparent to all of us. We would arrive at a location; often 2 of us, but sometimes 3 or 4; and each make different photographs. Occasionally, really different.

When Mike Castles and I visited a remarkable church in Cooke County, we were both struck by the colorful trompe l’oeil painting, and simply recorded it from different angles.

Michael Castles



Sometimes, it’s finding that one “tree”, rather than taking in the whole “forest”. At a ruined building in Jack County, I took this fairly straight shot of the rotting building:


but Lee Carmichael made this picture:

Lee Carmichael


We all found the detail shots among the standard recordation shots of the entire buildings. Among a number of chestnuts of wisdom, there is the one about turning around 180 degrees after taking a picture, and looking at what’s in the opposite direction.

When I visited this historic Polish parish in Karnes County:


I came away with this photograph of a statue in the rear of the church for exhibition.


Then, there’s Robert Capa’s famous quote: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” I’ll explore that in the next post.


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