Vemödalen vs. Zero to One

When behind the camera I often ask myself if I’m incrementally adding to an existing body of work or if I’m truly creating something new. Two pieces of work recently released bring my internal struggle to words and images. Vemödalen, embedded below, and Peter Thiel’s new book Zero To One.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines vemödalen as:

n. the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist—the same sunset, the same waterfall, the same curve of a hip, the same closeup of an eye—which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself.

It is inevitable with 7 billion people on the planet that no one idea will remain unique for any more than a minute if not a fraction of as second, but an idea pivots its success on execution. Even ideas that take us to something new (zero to one… not incremental) can be talked about casually, but seldom are they acted upon. Thus a creatives challenge is two fold to identify a great idea and to execute.

When you view Vemödalen or read Zero to One perhaps you’ll find yourself asking more of yourself, both to think creative and to act upon that inspiration. It has long been the bane of my creative life and I’d imagine I’m not alone.



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Jim Goldstein is a professional photographer and author, based out of San Francisco, California who specializes in outdoor and nature photography. Passionate about nature and the environment Jim infuses elements of the natural world into his commercial, editorial and fine art work. For more follow Jim on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Subscribe