One of the best books I’ve read in recent times was “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon. In it, he offers different advice on how to stir your creativity and find a unique path by “stealing like an artist” rather than copying like a fraud. The key thesis of this book is that you should take inspiration from others work and emulate aspects of it, and by combining different aspects of different creatives works, you can come up with something unique and fresh. Basically, steal and not copy.
Shoot like the masters
This weekend I had an idea to help me break out of my recent creative rut, to start a challenge of “shooting like the masters”. Here’s how it will look.
On a Friday, a new “How to shoot like (a master photographer)” post will come out. This will look at the aesthetic they went for (and the type of gear and settings they used to get them) as well as the subject matter they shot and even try to get a bit beneath their skin and look at what drives them to shoot.
It will also look at the gear that I’m going to use to emulate them and the type of mindset I’ll use as well.
The next stage is to go out and take photos in the style of that photographer over the weekend. I’m not setting a particular time limit for this part just to attempt to do it over the weekend for at least an hour (though hopefully much more).
You are also very welcome to join in with this part of the challenge and I’d love to see how you attempt to shoot like these masters. If you do take part then please…
3. Share the results
Go to the “Streettog” Facebook group and share some of your results from this experiment. Feel free to share things which worked, and those which don’t work (we aren’t aiming for perfection, the journey is more important), you can share those which you think really look like the master we look at, as well as those which don’t but you really like anyway. Just make sure you state why you are sharing each photo when you share it.
On the Monday I’ll share a post with 10 photos that I took from the challenge and what I got out of it. I may even share some other people’s photos if they agree to it.
4. Grab your achievement badge
A final step is to grab your achievement badge that shows you can shoot like that master.
I’m going to make some custom badges which you can place on your blog or webpage (yeah they aren’t sticky badges) that show you have completed the challenge and earned your stripes. The more challenges you do, the more impressive your achievement wall can become (My plan is to make a page on this site which shows off all my badges).
Are you in?
I hope you’ll join me in doing this challenge because as fun and useful as it will be for me on my own, I know it will be even more fun with more people. I’m aiming to start slow with one post every couple of weeks, I believe its better to start too slow and speed up than too quick and slow down).
If you are interested and/or have any photographers who you want to suggest, then leave a comment below and I’ll be very grateful.
Also published on Medium.