Imitate Before You Innovate

We all look up to people in our scope of influence and admire their art. I personally started with my Mom’s photography, but then also grew up on the photographers who contributed to National Geographic such as Steve McCurry and Michael Yamashita.

Recently, since the move to digital and the massive growth and ease of sharing photographs online I’ve discovered countless other artists that I admire. I think a really influential photographer for many photographers, including myself, is Sebastiao Salgado. However, as I mentioned, this new age of digital photography has introduced me to many others along the way, probably too many to mention.

Naturally, when I look at these artists I want to emulate their creativity and I want my photographs to be just as impactful to others as their’s is to me.

I don’t mean copy someone else’s work, I mean to use someone else to inspire you and then try to imitate it in such a way that you can pay homage to the original but still create something unique to yourself.

The image on this blog post is inspired by Hengki¬†Koentijiro who is a fantastic photographer I discovered online. Honestly, if you’ve never seen this guy’s photos you are about to spend the next couple of hours discovering pure art.

The first day I saw a Hengki Koetenjiro’s picture of the “Ulun Danu” I was drawn deep into the mist. There was something just so real and evocative about this image. To be honest all of his work is of such high caliber it really is difficult to not find them so beautiful.

When I went to Bali on my honeymoon, it was safe to say that photography wasn’t my highest priority and I had not researched shooting locations. When my wife and I went to Ulun¬†Danu it was on a whim.

Upon arriving at the temple and walking around, I had a moment of realization. At that moment in time, it all flooded back to me, I had seen this place before. I had experienced this place through Hengki’s eyes and now I was standing in that image.

I knew I didn’t have much time for the shot, after all, I was on my honeymoon. I remember I needed to take this image in as many ways as I could so that when it came down to the processing I would have more options.

Have you ever created something in this way? If so, who inspired you? Let me know in the comments or on one of my social media pages.

See more of Hegnki’s art on: