A few weeks ago I submitted the photograph below and won first prize for it.
I happened to take it at the fair the year before. When the fair ended this year I went to pick it up and decided to stop by the same location I had taken the picture. When I got there three photographers were in the same exact area taking photos. In fact, one was standing in the very spot I stood to take the photo the year before.
Of course this could be complete coincidence, but I thought maybe they had seen my photo and then went to the same spot to see what they could capture. At first I was a little flattered thinking my photo might have inspired them enough to go capture something similar. But then I really wanted to see the images they were capturing. I wanted to know what shutter speed they were using and if they were shooting in black-and-white and what kind of composition they had.
So it's OK to emulate, but don't forget to differentiate. Always try to find your own voice – it’s unique to everyone else in the world!
When we were at the fair, a parade of tractors came by and this captured the spirit of everything we were experiencing.