The cult of Novelty means that "value" attaches more easily to new things than to good things, not least because no-one can agree which the good things are. It's a hell of a lot easier to agree which are the novelties, and slap a price ticket on them. I'm sure you can think of your own examples.
The awkward twin of Originality is, of course, Imitation, a.k.a. Influence, Admiration, Appropriation, Plagiarism, and Downright Copyright Theft. I think it was Victor Lewis-Smith who declared that "Imitation is the sincerest form of being an unoriginal thieving bastard". Few things make the art world more unhappy (and its lawyers more jubilant) than to accuse a well-regarded artist of "unacknowledged appropriation" -- it's regarded as the height of bad manners. It's all very well for Picasso to say that "good artists borrow, great artists steal" but, as someone else said, "show me a hit tune and I'll show you a copyright infringement lawsuit". Hey, ask Richard Prince or Shepard Fairey...
I only mention this because I came across some work on the web that, in another universe, might have me speed-dialling my lawyer (needless to say I neither have a lawyer nor any speed-dial settings on my phone). A long time ago, when the Recording Angel's camera still used film, I started experimenting with circular imagery. I would scan film, and play about with masks, layers and selections in Photoshop to produce imagery that resembled (OK, ripped off) the "look and feel" of the work done by Emmet Gowin in the 1960s, when he put a lens for a 5" x 4" camera onto the lensboard of an 8" x 10" camera, capturing the whole image circle on the negative, edge distortion and all. I would produce this sort of thing:
Very Emmet Gowin, wouldn't you say? Those who know my Mysterious Barricades series will see the family resemblance. Anyway, as I proceeded in the direction of Originality from Influence, m'Lud, I began to make a series of images I conceived of as "planets": round sections of natural patterns floating in black space. Like these:
I especially like the polar cap on the second one, which you'll notice is actually a photograph of those wiggly trails that snails rasp away as they snack on algae. But in the end I thought they were a bit gimmicky and just simple-minded novelties, so after showing a few at a local gallery in a group exhibition in 2004 I just used the odd one here and there to liven up a sequence. Again, you may recognize them from my White Crow Telescope book.
But then last week I stumbled over this website. I was astonished. I am pretty sure I have never heard of Elaine Duigenan, though she's clearly working up a bit of a career for herself, and I'm even more certain she's never heard of me, or visited the ArtSway Gallery. The resemblance is more than a little striking. But, all paranoia aside, it has to be a clear case of parallel evolution, or a convergence on what, in retrospect, is an obvious idea. Though I do wonder what sort of meal m'learned friends might have made of it?
She's welcome to them. I still think it's a gimmicky and simple-minded idea. And, frankly, flying one of your "planet" pictures into space on the Space Shuttle Atlantis and having it photographed by an astronaut, as Elaine Duigenan has done, is beyond gimmicky, though it does show good use of contacts at a level most of us cannot even aspire to and, above all, an eye for that all important Novelty factor.
Elaine asserts that "The round images encourage the viewer to consider Earth and the implications of our existence." Well, maybe yes, maybe no. I get the impression that originality of thought may not be her strong suit, though some of her other sequences, for example "Bottle", are visually very striking and strong.* Just don't ever tell me how much her pictures sell for at the aptly-named
*Though whether the Keith Arnatt of "Canned Sunsets" might have a view on the originality of their striking-ness is another question.