Aurore, this has been an interesting discussion.

When one is stating ones opinion, it gives them the opportunity to think them out and question them. This thread is one that did that for me. When I mentioned that I believed that you should copy the people you admire and eventually adapt a "style" of your own, it got me thinking that there was a good reason for me to do this but not necessarily for everyone else.

I started taking pictures when I was 23 and opened a portrait studio when I was 25. I had to learn very quickly and copy to be able to eat or at least to stay in business. For me a "style" really didn't emerge until 25 years later. I, like 95% of portrait photographers, was doing the exact same work as most successful portrait people were doing in every city in North America and probably the Western World. We attend the same seminars, conventions, and read the same trade magazines. We were interchangeable. The Stepford Photographers. Once I decided to work alone, out of my home, with virtually no overhead, I could relax and let my "style" emerge.

Those who don't do this for a living, don't usually have to fall into this trap.

About the Jazz, and the guys getting together to improvise it reminded of a story that Ram Dass told in one of his books.

I'm paraphrasing: He said that every Saturday he would go and visit his father and they would get out the checkerboard and play for an hour of so. Somehow it was revealed by one of them that they really didn't like checkers, the other one said that they didn't like it either. They just played because they thought the other one did. He later reasoned that the checkers was the catalyst, the way for them to get together to "make love" to each other.

Perhaps the jazz is the same thing. Just a way to get together, only they do really like the music, but it is the getting together, the improvisation together, that is the magnet and not necessarily the songs being played.

I feel the same way about playing hockey.


Michael McBlane