Quite often, when I’m listening to the radio, I think how amazing it is that people can keep coming up with new ideas and original songs. The ideas tank never runs dry. It’s the same with writers, photographers, artists etc. Occasionally we might hear a song or see a picture that will remind us of one we have seen or heard in the past, and we might wonder if the artist has been influenced by the previous work. We might have our own preferences, and over time these may change as we experience new music and new talent.
As artists, if we want to be seen as original we have to realise that originality is not something we can look for. In fact, true originality is most likely to come from someone who doesn’t realise they have it.
We often look to others to copy ideas – a work of art, an article, an unusual photograph, and while learning from others isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we have to remember the value in putting our own interpretation to the idea. If we don’t we end up wondering why we are not seen as original.
Originality, if it’s anywhere, is in our own voice.
We each have different ways of looking at things and we each have different reactions to each encounter. Ten different people witnessing the same event will report ten different versions of it. It’s not because they are looking at different things, but because they describe it to themselves in ten different ways.
We each experience the world in our own unique way. That is what makes us original.
Originality then is a combination of honesty and attitude. Good writers, artists and photographers know this and strive to reach their own personal best. You have to be honest about what you see – don’t say what you think others want you to say – say what you really think and feel. Have attitude – don’t let anyone label you or put you down, or expect you to obey ‘the rules’.
If you want to be original be yourself – that is the only rule to remember.
As C. S. Lewis said: “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two-pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”