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Thread: Oops did I 'copy' your composition?

  1. #1
    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    Oops did I 'copy' your composition?

    I expressed some thoughts about various things in a recent blog including the concept of 'copying' or emulating images which have inspired you.
    I do it, and I think we all do it to some degree!
    If you were interested, head on here to have a read :

    Confessions of a copycat.......
    Call me Dylan! www.everlookphotography.com | www.everlookphotography.wordpress.com | www.flickr.com/photos/dmtoh
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Thank you Dylan, I really can't find anything in that blog article to disagree with.

    I will raise one small point and it relates to landscapes in particular. There are a few AP members living in this little area and of course a few rather "iconic" locations that tend to be photographed frequently.

    One photo that I have taken and never put on the net or shown to other people let alone the AP members has been taken in an almost identical fashion and composition by at least 2 AP members and a variety of of other photographers whose work I have seen posted on other sites.
    They can't be copying my photo simply because they haven't seen it. I haven't copied other photographers shots because I have only seen them long after my shot was taken.
    I reckon that many of the photographers who have taken the almost identical shots are also probably blissfully unaware of many or all of the other shots taken.

    Are all the people who have taken that shot seeing the same subject through the same brilliant compositional eyes or are we all simply blind to alternate compositions?
    Andrew
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  3. #3
    Shore Crawler
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    thanks andrew! I reckon some scenes are like black holes - they just suck you into a certain style lol (inadvertently or not :P)

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    If copying was treated that seriously, every sunrise ocean rocks with misty water would be guilty as charged, or every airbrushed glamour bikini model photo with spatulas of make-up applied are all copies as well.

    I take photos of what I like and want to take them of, and sometimes someone somewhere has also taken a similar one, but I do not see that as copying.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser Film Street's Avatar
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    I think 'influence' is a better way to see it. It's similar with music. You like something and take a part of it into your own style.

    It's evolution.

  6. #6
    It's all about the Light!
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    I guess the term cliché comes to mind.

    We have lots of them...
    Adelaide - River Torrens at night
    Adelaide - Pt Willunga poles
    Sydney - coathanger
    Sydney - almost anything of the foreshore
    Outback - Ayers Rock, the Olgas etc
    Motoring - girl drapped over car/bike
    Flowers - Bee in F or water drops on rose
    etc.

    BUT! How do we learn? - we all do it by emulating
    It's when we get experienced we try new and different things
    Last edited by Kym; 28-08-2012 at 3:29pm.
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    Shore Crawler
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    just to put the blog post in context using a certain 'tree' in binalong bay.
    I first saw that tree photographed by a chap called Matthew Stewart - asked him about the location and he kindly let me know where it was - I had some pretty different takes on the scene to his shots which inspired me to go there in the first place - I don't consider that copying.

    Marianne took one shot which was the one published recently - to get this shot, you have to find a particular rock pool set up the tripod very low to the ground.
    Recently, on 500px, we saw an image which from the thumbnail, we actually wondered if someone had copied our picture and posted it as their own. To get this almost identical composition you would have had to have been referencing the composition . The chances of this being pure chance are pretty much next to nil. I don't have an issue with this photographer emulating marianne's work but to then place it for sale and with no reference at all to the image from which it stemmed? Seems wrong to me but once again that's only my opinion and there is that miniscule chance that this was all pure fluke. I'm not asking that people agree with my viewpoint - it's just interesting to see others' viewpoints about the topic. (likewise, you may just accept that I don't agree with yours

    Film street, I agree - though if the new product is an almost exact replica of the original, I think evolution just took the babiest of foosteps!

    Rick, I'm talking about sunrise ocean rocks with misty water where the rocks fall in the almost identical location in the composition, landmarks (such as the tree) are in the almost identical, the makeup the same, the pose and focal length and lighting the same, the skin tones the same , the outfit identical. I tried to get my horseshoe falls shot as close to Kah Kit Yoongs as I could but didn't - this chap who copied Marianne's tree did a much better job!

    oops I forgot to add : Cliche becomes cliche for a reason though doesn't it !
    Last edited by Dylan & Marianne; 28-08-2012 at 3:03pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    People copy the Mona Lisa almost daily. It happens. i reckon rather than lamenting the possibility that this photographer copied Marianne's, you need to be positive and accept it as a form of flattery (if they did really copy her work). It could be co-incidental, or not.

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    Moderately Super Debra Faulkner's Avatar
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    A very thoughtful and well written article, Dylan. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us .
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    Shore Crawler
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    we do try to tell ourselves that , but we also like to keep a lid on the inflating head syndrome which could develop!

  11. #11
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    we do try to tell ourselves that , but we also like to keep a lid on the inflating head syndrome which could develop!
    be careful, you might end up looking like a thunderbird

  12. #12
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    [pin]------------------->[bubble]

    POP!

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    What it comes down to is intention, I think.
    Sooner or later someone's gonna shoot close to exactly the same image as yours, with or without ever seeing your piece.
    It could be done coincidentally, subconsciously or very deliberately.
    The crux of it is whether there was any deceit. If someone wanted to copy a piece and proudly proclaims I'm emulating the work of someone I look up to, then all good.
    If he/she comes up with the same image with no preconceived idea to copy, also all good.
    If he/she intently copies and passes it off as an original, not much you can do about it. They will have to live with their conscious I guess (if it exists).
    But I can understand how it might make you feel. Especially if it should happen more than once (eg. Someone continuously copies your work but passing it as their original).

    It's very difficult though cos I feel I very likely fall into the subconsciously copying category on many occasions. I never try to copy but cos I look at photos all the time, when I'm out shooting I usually have a 'vision' in my head of what I want the outcome to be and I'm not so sure that vision is always mine. Probably an amalgamation of a lot of things I've seen.

    An example is the recent Vivid Sydney exhibition which was a photographer's delight and attended by many APers. I actively tried to take shots of things I hadn't already seen but in the end my shots are probably not much different to most out there.
    It's not easy to be original these days.
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  14. #14
    Shore Crawler
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    agreed swifty !- ps. the binalong bay person was someone who followed our work on 500px - hence we know they have seen our version before -

  15. #15
    keen learner of new tricks.
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    thanks Dylan for that. For me personally, I`m really happy just being in a beautiful location and I thank the big guy for providing it in the first place. Because the world is such a huge place, the chance of getting back to a favorite spot is fairly small so I try and make the most of it. I don`t even think about what I`ve seen taken by others before me. I am very happy with my photography and yearn to be better...just for me to enjoy and if others like what I do then that is a bonus. I love your work and am very happy for you and Marianne that this is a great hobby for you both....and I try not to copy....
    Graeme
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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    agreed swifty !- ps. the binalong bay person was someone who followed our work on 500px - hence we know they have seen our version before -
    Just wondering. How would you and Marianne feel if the other bloke stated you guys inspired him to try and emulate your work?
    In other words, credited your work in some way.

    In all honesty Dylan, you guys do fantastic work. I'm not pumping you with hot air or anything but its not surprising ppl would want to try and emulate your landscapes. I wish I had that problem.
    Same as with those ppl that ask whether your shots were photoshopped, take it as a compliment mate.

    But if this photographer continues to copy your stuff shot by shot without due credit. Maybe make contact in a friendly manner. You might be pleasantly surprised, or in the least alert him to the fact you're onto him.

  17. #17
    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Great read Dylan. I just wish I was a good copy landscaper,lol. Never really thought about what you blogged before.

    It's nice when another photographer acknowledges your influence in their photograph.
    Shelley
    (constructive criticism welcome)

    www.shelleypearsonphotography.com


  18. #18
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    thanks guys
    Shelley - yea, I'm pretty bad at copying too I found lol
    Swifty - come to think of it, I think our reaction all boiled down to a personal sore spot and nothing we think should become systemic. Perhaps it's just us taking the 'do unto others....' line a little too seriously. Another point I didn't add was that I actually it's completely OK to do the attempted exact replica as a learning experience, but then to use those images for personal gain? There was another little incident that comes to mind where a photographer friend of a B&G tagged along with us for 'experience'. She snapped away at our setup shots but then proceeded to use those images to promote her own wedding photography? we found that a little odd too along the same kind of lines .
    Graeme, I like it, comments like yours kind of bring us back to earth from up upon the high horse lol

  19. #19
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    Rick, I'm talking about sunrise ocean rocks with misty water where the rocks fall in the almost identical location in the composition, landmarks (such as the tree) are in the almost identical, the makeup the same, the pose and focal length and lighting the same, the skin tones the same , the outfit identical. I tried to get my horseshoe falls shot as close to Kah Kit Yoongs as I could but didn't - this chap who copied Marianne's tree did a much better job!

    oops I forgot to add : Cliche becomes cliche for a reason though doesn't it !
    Certainly there is a chance the person(s) have seen and decided to emulate someone else's photos (yours or perhaps another person). After all, it could be that two people went to the location that day, and the other one had seen your work and said to his mate 'come over here, there is a really cool small pond we can use in the foreground'. In the end your photo will be different cause different times mean different tidal levels, different sun positions so that shadows are slightly different, the sky is never the same twice, clouds will be different. Unless the photos were taken at the same time/day you were there. But it will never be the same as your work.

    I noticed on your blog that someone has replied commenting about those that keep locations secret. I can be one of those. I have (had) a secret place I call fungi gully, where during fungi season there is a huge range of fungi species appearing all within about a 400 metre long area. It has a walking track through it, that is rarely used. But on occasion, I have gone there to find all the fungi anywhere near the track has been destroyed by someone. My thoughts are that sometimes it is best to keep a location quiet in case it becomes a 'tourist attraction', and thus ruins the very reason it exists. Some Hobart AP members know where it is, cause I have taken them to it. But keeping a location secret is something worth considering, if you think it is ultra special and by giving out the details, there could be destruction of that area.

    But I have digresses slightly here.

    Utlimately, what can you do about someone taking a photo that is very similar to your own, we do not own the rights to a location, and cannot stop someone going there and taking photos. I have also seen this discussion about post processing methods, where someone has 'invented' a PP style and then they find someone else using a similar style and become bothered by it.

    I do not believe their is a solution, other than to accept it happens.
    Last edited by ricktas; 29-08-2012 at 5:31am.

  20. #20
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Rick - I think your protection of the mushroom location is to protect the environment, not to hide your photo site from other photographers. Like you, I object to anyone trashing a location and I have found that the best protection against that is to walk for an hour. If you do that then very few people well ever get there. You can tell the world of your find, and still nobody will go. After all, 1 hour is a long walk - isn't it?
    If it's an easy location to get to, then you may need to hide it a bit, but if it's easy to get to then it will be found. Of course, mushrooms come up when it's raining and that keeps people away too.

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