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Art happens when you bend the rules

Interesting art is new and different from everything that has gone before. It's impossible to break new ground and produce something fresh if you follow the rules and imitate other people's styles and techniques.

We all learn from the past, our mentors and the giants who have gone before us, but true art only happens when you break free from them.

Don't get me wrong. I think it is valuable to study the masters and to be aware of what your contemporaries are doing but how can you ever hope to stand out if all you do is repeat stuff that's been done before?

There's a big drawback to doing innovative new stuff. If you break the mould people will not immediately associate your work with stuff they've been told is good – art that follows the rules and can be neatly categorised and classified. You lose the 'recognisability' factor and you don't fit in until the rest of the world starts to catch up.

However once the world does recognise your ability, you'll be seen as a leader rather than a follower and you can help shape the way we see the world in the future.

I urge you to engage with your subject matter, release the voice inside yourself and create something new, fresh and different. Use your camera, your writing, your artistic vehicle, whatever it may be to communicate what you see and feel in a unique way.

Till soon,



Bongo Pix said…
Hi Paul,
I totally agree with you, its good to be innovative and sometime bends some rules in order for your work to standout or looks a little bit different from what people used to see.

I like your blog and am one of follower since discovering it, though not long.

Natalie Gilbert said…
Absolutely 100% behind you on this one. Innovation is the only way to go.
Bill Gatesman said…
Hi, Paul.

I agree with your point, and wish to add also that sometimes great pictures can arise by chance, too. I remember taking photos in a church without a light meter, so I shot my subject at a number of camera settings. It turns out that the best image was one that underexposed the subject. Choosing this image to share is an example of bending the rules, too. You may view the image at:

Once again, thank you for your thoughtful commentary.

-- Bill Gatesman
SiLa said…
Yes, I agree with you. And to master that thin line that make difference between good photographer and the one that is innovator and a leader is all that it is important.

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