The difference between an Imitator and Sharing Similarities.
DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion and my thoughts in my words. Agree, disagree, agree to disagree. It’s cool with me!
Lets just keep this real from the off. It pisses me off when people confuse imitation and sharing a similarity for a number of reasons. More on that later.
I am all for people finding inspiration from your art, from your sense of fashion, from your poetry, from your youtube makeup tutorials, from whatever. Whatever we do, damn sure someone else has done or attempted to do before us and THAT’S OKAY! It’s human nature to have a passion for something and find others that have that same passion. We sometimes attach ourselves to a role model or someone that’s offering guidance to do your art, your business, your whatever in a better way right? Think of how many others are attaching themselves to the same role model. It is totally NOT OKAY to entirely replicate someone else’s work like this person has recently done on a whole new level of imitation: FStoppers Article – now that is just crazy.
Like many of my industry friends, I am a BIG supporter of the work of wedding photographer Jasmine Star… as well as Kate Hopewell-Smith, Ale Vidal, and Lara Jade for their use of natural light and lifestyle genre of work. Each off these photographers/videographers do workshops both online and in person. As I shoot with canon and have a similar background story to Jasmine, naturally I became a huge supporter of her work from early on in my career. I know many photographer peers that have followed her workshops and turned their businesses around. How amazing that there are so many professional creatives out there who are accessible and happy to share their knowledge to help others turn their careers and their lives around.
What I also find amazing is the community each of these role models have created. A community full of creatives all sharing the same passion, pushing each other to do better, supporting each other’s work. Granted, each individual is unique in their own way along with their work, but there are a lot of similarities because they have learnt from the same educator or share the same love for a style of imagery. I’m fortunate enough to freelance in my quiet time with some great companies and as a team we all learn from each other and share similarities in each others work… we’re not copying, we have been chosen by the companies because each of us are similar and produce work to their brand!
So is it fair to assume a person is imitating your work? If your painting, your photograph, your writing is completely copied, or redone to look like your work then yes, like the above link, that is a blatant copy. But if you have taken taken elements of inspiration from existing work and interpreted it in your own way, thats sharing a similar interest right? Let’s use me as an example… if you are a natural light photographer like me – I welcome you to the club, lets shoot together! If you are obsessed with lemon flavoured everything like me – let’s eat lemon drizzle cake while we take a sip of freshly squeezed lemon water. If you love modern calligraphy writing like me… let’s write each other a letter of support.
If you share those kinds of similarities, as do thousands of other people, if you share the same style of work, if you share the same role model… SUPPORT don’t SEGREGATE!
When I hear someone has tried to copy me, or another assumes I’m imitating them… I switch off immediately and distance myself from ever hearing this argument again. It’s becoming increasingly boring to hear. Unless my work has been stolen or completely copied where I can formally do something about it, I am completely unbothered when someone has a similar business model or way of photographing or way of social media-ing to me. Why? Because I refuse to be consumed in pettiness and if anything we probably learnt from the same role model anyway. There’s a clear cut difference to copying someone completely and sharing similarities. Focus on your business and make it the best it can be to achieve your personal goals, wherever you found the inspiration from.
Deep thought moment over and out!