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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Today's Must-See

Must-see for all photographers for today: "Can Photographers Be Plagiarists?" from Slate. Fascinating slide show raising issues of influence, homage, theft, appropriation, and the nature of fact.

(P.S. I still think Richard Prince sucks.)

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, with thanks to Arthur Gross

12 Comments:

Blogger thechrisproject said...

Joerg Colberg of the Conscientious blog had a big post about Bialobrzeski/Zielske pictures last year.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Mick Ryan said...

Interesting. I live in Shanghai and have shot the Nanpu bridge myself. I've also seen a dozen other shots exactly like this by Chinese photogrpahers. It's a well known sight photographed by many. Calling it thievery is a bit like going to France and accusing someone else who has photographed the Eifel Tower of copying your idea.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

Interesting. I live in Frankfurt and have shot the Nanpu bridge in Shanghai myself. I've also seen a dozen other shots exactly like this by Chinese photogrpahers. It's a well known sight photographed by many. Calling it thievery is a bit like going to France and accusing someone else who has photographed the Eifel Tower of copying your idea.

-- With apologies to Mick Ryan.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

My insufferable smugness still doesn't make my previous post original.

Or does it?




Maybe I will print it out and hang it in the Guggenheim.

8:14 PM  
Blogger travis blanston said...

Everyone knows he did it first and better.

Anyone else disagree completely?

My point here should be obvious, but in case it isn't, I'm saying that I appreciate the existence of the so-called imitation simply because the photograph appeals to me more than the 'original.'

BUT, this issue here is really not about photographers getting away with ripping each other off. How about the issue of photographers ripping off the architect? The engineers, or the individuals who physically built an object? Come on, the guy acts like he constructed it himself for the world to gaze upon. Gimme a break.

Make a photograph of something truly original if you want to feel a sense of authorship or ownership.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Chris Combs said...

Thanks for the link. Quite the read... I couldn't help but write about it.

9:20 PM  
Blogger H_Leighton said...

Next Playboy will sue everybody who does a backlite nude, with airbrushing.

Car & Driver sue everyone who does a low 3/4 front shot of a Corvette.

9:54 PM  
Blogger stephen best said...

That "tilting and shifting the focal planes" (page 9) looks like a nifty trick and I might have a shot at this myself.

:-)

10:33 PM  
Blogger pepeye said...

While I think the Zielske photographs represent, at best, taking the low road of creativity (or lack thereof) given that they had to have known about the Bialobrzeski photos when they took theirs, I curious to know what the rest of you think about one issue:

Both of these shots a clearly taken from some particular point of view. A rooftop, balcony or something similar. It may be that this access point has the effect of limiting the possible points of view available so much that it increases the chances of repetition. If that's true, does it alter the analysis? I tend to think not given how otherwise identical these photos are beyond the point of view, but what does anyone else think?

10:50 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

I had infact blogged about this exact thing a while back - although didnt have so many examples!
here is the one image i had pointed out:
Scroll down to the Dec 17th on this link:
Pic1
and compare it against -
cgp314.smugmug.com/gallery/2169379/3/112678855">Pic2

10:54 AM  
Blogger Gordon said...

I'm reminded of the quote in 'On Being a Photographer' that says Beginning artists imitate. But experts steal

4:45 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Gordon,
Sounds like a variation on T. S. Eliot: "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."

--Mike

4:48 PM  

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