Two days ago I received my first ever accusation for plagiarism. And believe me when I say this - I've probably never felt this anxious during my photography career before. The accusation was false, but how did I get over it?
Long story short, after I uploaded a picture (at first glance you could easily describe it as a very simple close-up portrait, nothing too special about it) I received two comments from girls saying that there is too much of a resemblance to a fellow Lithuania-based young female photographer. The latter commented as well, with a sarcastic one-word compliment.
I got shaky and just so shocked. I had been "following" that photographer for a few years on social media, but because of the Instagram algorithm, the last time I saw any of her work was just about two years ago. I opened up her Instagram and saw a big part of her work for the first time.
Yes, there were some similarities - we both enjoy portraiture, shooting on film, both live in Lithuania, know a lot of the same people, but I felt so lost when I couldn't defend myself. How will I prove that copying ideas of others is totally against my personal and professional beliefs and ethics?
When dealing with this situation, I went though these steps:
1. The rational mode. Writing honest messages to all the girls, encouriging a discussion. I wanted to be able to tell my side of the story.
2. The "oh c'mon" mode. After a tiring conversation with one of the girls who wasn't about to change her opinion, I felt defeated. I had never consciously copied, disrespected, stolen ideas, but also didn't have any proof, just my arguments against hers.
3. The panic mode. Started crying, panicing. Contacted a fellow artist (that I actually met On Qoorio! Shoutout to you, Tara❤️) who listened to me, gave strong advice and helped me to get over it. Made me feel safe and sane.
4. The Katharsis mode. Finaly talked with the photographer. She acknowledged that our photography is different and that the accusations were not true. Also encouraged me to keep going and to stay strong. I am so thankful for her understanding reaction and I feel deep respect for her as a creator.
There is no moral to this story, because every case of plagiarism can end differently. The only thing that you can control is how YOU react to it - in this situation I consciously CHOSE to be vulnerable, but honest and truthful.
And this is the one lesson I want you to take back from my experience - you can't force others to listen to you, to believe you, to understand you. But you can always try, if you feel it is important to you. Lastly, you have control only over yourself.
You can see the picture below. Tell me what you think in regards to this topic. It is very broad and I am sure there's lots of different sides of the story. Have you ever dealt with something like this? What would you have done differently in this situation?
No comments yet
Be the first to comment
MORE INSIGHTS YOU MIGHT LIKELearn more by discovering other insights
"Your picture depends on what is in it, which has nothing to do with technology. That is the last thing you should worry about." - Annie Leibovitz
Yesterday I finished a Masterclass photography course taught by Annie Leibovitz and it was very inspirational to say the least!
The part that resonated with me the most is the fact that Annie herself states that she is not a technical photographer, she always focuses on her subject and concept.
The three main three things I'm taking from this class are:
🔸1 - It is very important to look back at your work from time to time and reflect. What changed? What did you learn? How did your work improve?
🔸2 - Photography in itself is an art of looking, observing, understanding. Especially in taking portraits, getting to know the person you are taking a picture of is key! Think of what that person means to you and how you want to capture him/her.
🔸3 - Shooting with natural light and photographing people who are close to you is a great way to experiment and learn the fundamentals. The family pictures that you take can potentially become your strongest works.
The class is definitely worth checking out if you are more interested in how to see rather than what gear to use. Annie is so charming and artistic, hearing her story can be very powerful!
QUICK photography TIP - i tried it myself !
If you are just starting out, want to experiment with photography and don't want to spend a lot of money renting out a studio, i have a simple creative solution for you!
Buy about 3 metres of clothing lining or any other material, use it as a backdrop, invite a friend and (most importantly) have some fun!
Below you'll see a before and after of my own experiment trying out this simple & humble setup!
This shoot made me realise again that photography is not about having the best gear or the most expensive set, but about knowing how to see an opportunity for beauty everywhere and being conscious in capturing it!
Never underestimate the power of the diversification of your skills and business.
Always try to see beyond your usual skill set, how it can be applied in different situations and can serve clients for the better.
I’ll give you an example.
My All Is Amazing brand venture. It’s a photography and videography company or as I call it - visual story telling brand. But, among the various types of photography my team and I do, I have diversified our skills to events, weddings and commercial branches. It helps me target specific clients easier, attract photographers with different skillsets and diversify business income sources.
Oh yes, here is the photo from the recent H&M campaign for South East Asia, that All Is Amazing team did in Sumba island, Indonesia. Guess under which branch of business this creative assignment goes? ;)