Sunday, May 17, 2009

Imitation = Flattery?

If imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery, where does bad imitation rank?

I did NOT take this picture:
Someone in my camera club developed the habit of copying my locations, often getting within a foot or two of where I took my shot.
I would post a photo to our Flickr group and within a week there would be a close enough approximation to catch my eye.
This went on for a few months during 2008, and as each example happened I would cycle to a new opinion about the whole thing:
Coincidence.
Another coincidence.
Wait--it's the same dude.
Oh come on--find your own shots.
Again? Jeez.
Asshat!

Whenever I posted a new photo I would wonder how well my stalker would treat the subject.
Usually it would be very similar to mine but with a few rookie mistakes, especially at night because the night belongs to me.

This was my favorite example, because he didn't bother copying any of the many shots I've taken here at 410/I10 directly, and the result clearly suffers from a weak and hasty composition.
Anyone who has seen my night highway pics would never mistake this for the real thing.
The putrid color is as obvious of a defect as the filthy lens covered in raindrops.
Rain or dust on the lens doesn't happen in my world--it's too easy to make that crap go away.

The photo above was also the last time he tried this game.
I would like to think he quit in utter defeat.


This post isn't about bashing the guy, or I would have posted more examples and included his name.
It also isn't about raising myself up by knocking others down.

I have tried to copy more advanced photographers for years--it's a great way to improve your skills in many areas.
But not locally, standing in their very footsteps then posting the results to the same group of people who have already seen the original.

3 comments:

Matthew Robertson said...

Yes, the photographer does seem to be a bit green. (I'm trying to think of the Spanish word for that...) But as you say, it's a good way to learn. It's an interesting opportunity for critique, and could be useful for everyone involved.

He also appears to be suffering from a bad case of cheap-ass filter.

At my last evaluation group, someone brought a photo that looked enough like my style that some people commented on the resemblance. (Not necessarily a compliment for either of us.) But the difference was clear in the care and attention that's paid to the smaller details, and that's clear in your admirer as well.

Bruce said...

Nobody can stand in your photographic footsteps, Keith . . . Nobody.

aaronhockley.com said...

I've copied other local photographers. I've wanted to learn from their experiences in order to better my technique. But I've never then gone and posted or submitted those same photos to the same groups or forums. That's where it seems to become a little odd.