A reader recently sent a link to photographer + prodigy Joey Lawrence. He vents about copycat photographer Diego Verges and his images of the Mentawai people. Verges’ photos are blatant copies of Lawerence’s, right down to setup and camera angles…it’s sad really. Here’s what Lawrence had to say:
“Usually when someone rips off my work blatantly, I don’t say much. I don’t want to put them up on my blog, on a pedestal for everyone to look at, I usually just let it go and forget about it. I also realize there are a lot of photographers, and no one can claim something is one hundred percent their own idea. However, something came to my attention recently that was just too close stylistically to what I do to ignore.”
Are these images inspired or imitated? Take a look and decide for yourself.
In the same, vein Tom Hoops shares his commentary on photographic plagiarism of his work and asks the question, “Why?”
He surmises that many photographers are just learning, striving to emulate artists they admire and most aren’t attempting to be harmful (and I happen to agree). The danger, he says is this:
“Ultimately though the more you copy the less you’ll become your own person. The less likely you are to stand out from the crowd. You wont generate your own ideas, you won’t experiment, you’ll look to others to do it for you and in the end you’ll never achieve what you probably set out to do when you picked up your first camera.”
The moral: use imitation of photographic style as a learning aid (not to establish a reputation), use inspiration to grow and eventually, follow your own path.