Plagiarism in Photography?

Updated: 12:57am est, 2/21

I couldn’t work-up enough ire to throw into the “photography plagiarism” kettle that’s been boiling. As an exercise, I’ve purposely, and inexpertly (re)taken a few photos at locations that have already been successfully photographed by others, but more interesting (at least from a street photography perspective) are situations that yield accidental or subliminal similarities.

Here’s an unintended echo of a picture by Jeff Mermelstein. I knew the Mermelstein photo, but had forgotten about it until yesterday, when it jumped out of the book, punched me in the face and stole my lunch money.

Mermelstein, from No Title Here (a tremendous book for the used price of three dollars)

Honda Battle of the Bands, 2007
Murphy, 2007

When I was photographing marching bands recently, I photographed tubas lying down, too. Should have known better!

If you have any of these of your own, it’d be interesting to see them.

And here’s one, another Mermelstein echo, from 2point8 reader, Eddie Geisinger, who has some fine street work on flickr.

Mermelstein, from Sidewalk
Mermelstein, from “Sidewalk

eddie-g on flickr
Geisinger, on flickr

And Raul sent over this, a photo of his (on the right) that a visitor to his site claimed he cribbed from Whistler!

And a quiet echo of Doisneau (gents looking at framed nudes through windows) from Paul Russell in the UK:
doisneau_sidelong_glance D6344fs

Send more!

* Help friends find their own copies
* A before/after of Shore
* “Take Twos” on flickr
* Can Photographers Be Plagiarists on Slate
* Conscientious: On Plagiarism and Photography

6 thoughts on “Plagiarism in Photography?”

  1. give yourself a break, photographers “reference” all the time, and yours are smart references not blatant copies.
    i think it is great that photographers are subconsciously doing it. Would be great if you could find other examples..

  2. wow. lovely subconscious homage.
    I don’t think I have any others, but I know I’ve seen them on the flick & flog. I’ll have to put myself into a trance to locate the links.

  3. When two different photographers take a picture of the same thing, you still get two different photographs. Each one with it’s own subtleties of light, distance and perspective. To me photographic plagiarism, is where one person literally takes another photographers picture and even in a subtle way, claims it as their own without giving credit where it is due.

  4. The Plagiarism in Photography is like “Rubber Stamping”. Those who practice this in Photographic Art, are ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTSY. They have no original thinking, ideas or Visualisation. Poor souls.


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