Here’s the portrait. It was a practice run, not a customer ordered job. I love the lighting and the composition, BUT… There’s a certain look in the model’s eyes, saying “I wanna be somewhere else.”
The Champions and the Copycats.
Before I made photography my occupation I was really into the barista thing – meaning I was there when the ”caffè latte –wave” hit Finland with Paulig’s Barista –trademark in 2000. I took part in the barista competitions and fell in love with the new, energetic way of being a bartender – a job I already was familiar with. Little did I know that I also met my wife to be in that competition, but that’s a different story.
After being introduced to the new-and-rising-industry of cappuccinos and latte art I spent the next almost ten years making it my occupation. In the beginning I’d travel to work shops and trade shows all over the world, learning new techniques and meeting the industry people, looking for anything interesting and developing myself. When there was a barista competition somewhere, there would be a chance to learn more.
What I realized very quickly was that the barista competitions were a bunch of copycats doing whatever someone else had done earlier. That included myself as well. Every year there would be a winner with a killer concept that would make everyone go ”wow, that’s so original!!!” and every following year there would be at least 5 competitors trying to do the same thing thinking ”this has got to be the winning concept, since it was the winning concept last year”. The copycats would go as far as choosing the same glass model or the same ingredients ”with a twist” – obviously they wouldn’t get very far. And I know what I’m talking about; I would be one of the competitors with no original ideas thinking that by doing the same thing someone else has done with a little twist I would be ”making new & original yet recognisable and easy to approach”.
It’s a good start to copy someone else’s work and learn by doing. But once you leave “your garage”, you should have something original, something real. Something to contribute to the world. There’s always the chance of saying “everything in this field has been done already”. But every single year a new guy comes along with a different approach.