For me, as an artist and as an individual who is constantly pursuing personal growth, there has always been one central theme no matter what I'm working on. Being authentic has always been at the core of what I do. Being authentic includes ensuring that my core values (family, learning, joy, honesty, originality, abundance, love) are always being honored, it means that whatever activities I'm involved in are bringing me joy, it means that the results of the activity are in alignment with my personal or professional goals.
In my photography career, I have always kept a focus on what feels right to me. On many occasions, I have incorporated various shooting or editing styles because I liked how they looked when someone else did them but when I saw the result of that effort, it felt like I was reproducing someone else's work which definitely did NOT feel like it was mine. It did not feel as though it was a clear represtentation of how I saw that person or place. It wasn't authentic. So it wasn't something I repeated.
It's been said that there's nothing new under the sun and to a point, I agree. However, as an artist, my perspective is totally unique and cannot be replicated.
I spoke about how I was able to define my creative voice in THIS post and I explain how it feels when something I have worked hard to create from my heart is copied, borrowed, or stolen and passed off as an original idea. It is a violation. Plain and simple. Each of us, artists or otherwise possess an original voice that is so very valuable that ripping off another's style/flavor/look is doing a tremendous disservice to ourselves. Try things, yes. But always bring it back to a meaningful place that is uniquely your own.
There is room in the world for every individual to express their delicious and unique point of view in a genuine way. Doing so with conscious effort put into that expression brings immeasurable peace, fullfilment and joy. We have all tried to express ourselves the way someone else does and it always feels a little fake, a little contrived. It seems a waste of time and effort to continue on a path of copy-catting that leads only to disappointment and a feeling of emptiness.
There are risks to "putting it out there" but they are so very small when compared to the level of satisfaction and joy experienced as a result of that risk. Which seems like a crazy idea because when doing things with authenticity at the core, even the failures are still successes because of the WHY that brought them about in the first place.
I am known for the beautiful images that I create as a marriage between my subject's amazing uniqueness and how only I can see them. I create rather than duplicate. That's not by accident. Its on purpose and deliberate. Conscious and authentic. Like magic but clearer.