They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and where to some degree we acknowledge that it is lovely to know lots of people are inspired our work, I still wish people wouldn’t completely re create people’s images… it pains me to write this as I know some will disagree but speaking as someone who has really tried hard to create a new genre and be better than myself every day… I think some things need to be said… so here it goes.
When we teach, we give our hearts and souls away. You would expect you to treat your heart and soul with respect and use the knowledge given so you can explore your own creative juices and become a better technical photographer. This is not always the case.
When people blatantly copy an image I have created, it not only hurts my heart, it hurts my individuality; something I try so hard to keep. I feel talking about my experience with this is something other people, not just photographers, can relate to as it happens in all walks of life. This is not only happening to me and my photographer friends. I am not the first and I most certainly will not be the last.
‘Why does she even care’ I hear you think. Well, I am sorry, but I do. I care very deeply. My clients keep coming I know, and the fact that this keeps happening would never effect that… but yes… I still care. My customers are just amazing and I am so lucky to have them <3 My trainees are also a breath of fresh air and I love seeing them grow, especially when they go down their own road and use what I have given them to work on their own art instead of just staying inside the box.
People say that by sharing our work, we are making the photography industry a better, more creative place. We can’t possibly keep it a secret in case someone dares to try to do the same thing… I personally, hope to install confidence and passion into these amazing people that reach for the stars and I think that most of the time, that is what I do, but seeing complete imitations of images on Facebook pages is like a stab with a knife… in the face. THEN I see these images entered into competition... and nothing can be done! No one can stop them from doing this… so why don’t they stop themselves? Please do not think so little of your own creative mind that you couldn’t step it up a notch and BE YOURSELF.
I have seen copy cats come out in every way, shape and form, entering these said photographs into competition. The reason is it so upsetting is because our work is so personal to us, no matter what anyone else thinks… so when someone takes it, you may as well just steal the print out of our hands and claim it as your own.
The worst part is when I see these other photographers creating extremely similar images... then THEY start teaching it to others. How could you have the heart or conscious to do that? You see an image you like, you see the dress, you see the style, you see the edit and you basically re create it with no thought. IT HURTS. Why not stay true to your own self?
I know things will never change but I wish they would.
I LOVE teaching. It’s one of the things I hold close to my heart. I feel like I help people, I feel like I am giving them the tools to invent magic… I just always hope they end up creating their own magic eventually as being the same as someone else isn’t good for anyone involved.
There are only so many poses you can do… only so many dresses you can buy… only so many backdrops and textures and OF COURSE images will look similar or have the same feel from time to time. That really isn’t what this post is about, believe me. I KNOW I am not the all-knowing GODDESS of Maternity poses. I am not saying, at all, that I created all these poses and I should keep them to myself. I wouldn’t so happily teach them if I thought that. For example, there are only so many ways to wrap and pose a baby, a certain lighting style that is popular and fashionable, a certain colour that all clients love… but still, you can try to create something new within that. Take the tools and apply them to your own work. I feel even with my newborns, even when doing the same poses as others, I really, really try to keep to my own dark and theatrical style. People say they can tell when a photo is mine… I really hope this is true.
The great maternity photographers I look up to like Stephanie Lemmens, Alli Peck, Kelly Brown, Lola Melani, Maggie Robinson & Erin Elizabeth all have their own thing going on… yes the poses are sometimes similar, yes they might have a similar dress or backdrop but I can tell whose taken those images a mile off; they keep to their own style, they love what they create, they are passionate about it and I admire them for it. I REALLY hope they feel they same about me, if they even know who I am!
I have so many appreciative people that I have met, taught and photographed over the. By no means do think I am the most amazing, incredible photographer in the world because there is always someone better around the corner. I myself too get inspired when I see other people’s photos, but I do believe I will try and change it up, invent something a bit different and really try to create a new feel. This is what I pride myself on.
It’s exhausting trying to do something new all the time. I know nothing is never ‘new’ and it’s probably been done before as a painting back in the 1800s or as a drawing by some famous artist, but guys and girls, let’s try!! Let’s make ourselves proud. Let’s make people say ‘wow’ and not because you have knowingly copied it, but because it’s something most people have never see before. Wow yourself.