This is true in art, music, business, even Lego...just about anything that involves creation and innovation.
But that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of room to find your own way. To acknowledge those who came before you as you move into the future is not only a matter of respect, it's a smart decision. It says I know who I am, who's shoulders I have climbed on and that I realize there will be others who come after me. It's also the honorable thing to do.
I love this quote by Pharrell Williams
"Some people say there's nothing new under the sun. I still think that there's room to create, you know. And intuition doesn't necessarily come from under this sun. It comes from within."I couldn't agree more. When I first saw Brett Westin's underwater nude's I knew I wanted to do the same thing. But the simple act of dealing with my own limitations in terms of talent and resources created results very different from his. This is how new things are created - old ideas run through the filter of a new artist.
So no matter if you are taking pictures of flowers, kittens, Lego or dinosaurs... look for your inspiration from within and you will create something new. In the mean time, don't forget those early innovators who paved the way for us all.
"There is nothing new under the sun, not even dinosaurs." ~ +Me2