Vemödalen – The Frustration That Every Photo has Already Been Taken by Someone Else


I have to admit that I have learned about the term vemödalen just today – the inofficial labeling for a special form of frustration, based upon the knowledge that every photo has already been shot by someone else. The operators of the website The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows have produced the following video to illustrate the term.

The term may be new, but which photographer, who is engaged in photography profoundly and doesn´t just do snapshots, doesn´t know this feeling? If one is honest to oneself, one recognizes to copy someone else unwittingly at best. But are originality and creativity just illusions and the pursuit of them a simple waste of time because of that? The idea that every wise thought has already been spoken out or written down, every good picture already been painted and every good photo already been taken, is frightening. Nevertheless, this should not hinder us from taking pictures again and again or from at least trying to say something smart which doesn´t sound like a quotation instantly every now and then. 😉 In my opinion there are good reasons against capitulation. None of us has the mental capacity to verify if everything has already been said and every photo already been taken. And even if it should be true, there are no valid points against the attempt to do better. 😉

  1. Thanks a lot for this video – a thoughtful piece. Never heard about the term before.


    1. Sorry for the late answer: you are welcome! 🙂


  2. I should add; never heard about the term but know the notion very well.


  3. […] picture has already been taken by somebody else. So if you should be all too familiar with the vemödalen-feeling, like myself, then I suggest you take a good look at this photo and commit it to memory, so […]


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