OK to copy other photographers work?

7 months 1 week ago #655953 by Roman Omell
Another photographer and I got into a heated discussion today.  I was saying it's OK to copy other photographers work when you get started.  

Hear me out - reasoning is to get inspired and learn what it takes to get such shots.  Then you can take that you have learn and alter it and come up with your own spin on the shot.  Kind of like reverse engineering. 

Anyway this other photographer called me an idiot and "what is wrong with photography today" . 

Am I wrong here?

Please let me know your honest view.  Thanks!


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7 months 1 week ago #655954 by Piechura
I don't believe there's a single photographer in the world that doesn't copy other people's work. It's a question of extent, but yeah when you're starting out at anything, I don't see any problem with trying to recreate something you've seen as a learning exercise. It's funny, because no-one would ever have a problem with musicians learning by playing other people's songs, but with visual arts, it's a big no-no for some people. Certainly though taking photos in the style of someone else is something that everyone has probably done, whether consciously or not.


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7 months 1 week ago #655960 by Nikon Shooter
The purpose of art is to inspire… poetry, music to name a few,
photography is in the lot too and so is imagery.

Emulate, copying, mimic, mirror, echo, follow… let's not trip in
the carpet flowers.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
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7 months 1 week ago #655970 by michaelsmith
I think its perfectly okay.
If it is a direct copy, then obviously, you have to give credit where it is due.
But inspired work is more of a grey area. Everyone is inspired by someone or something, so its not always necessary to give credit to your source. I feel it depends on how much is inspired. If its a significant portion with very less innovation from your side, it will be nice if you mention a small line giving credit where it is due. Otherwise if it is heavily innovated, I feel you are good to go!


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7 months 1 week ago #655973 by Roman Omell
Ha!  Thank you for the input here.  I feel better now :) 


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7 months 1 week ago #656035 by garyrhook
Define "copy"?

If you mean, "clone", then no. That's a copyright violation, and morally wrong.

If you mean "inspired by", then yes. We're all inspired by what is around us. Finding the work of another photographer appealing, and trying to take it apart to figure out how the accomplished what they did is part of what we all do to learn.

Perhaps clarification would have kept your friend from insulting you. Good answers require good questions.


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7 months 1 week ago #656075 by Rick Larin
Yeah, and then improve it!  


Gary, if you go to Grand Teton and you take a popular photo, and model your shot off another photographer.  I don't think any court is going to throw the book at you.  ;) 


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7 months 1 week ago #656082 by Nikon Shooter

Rick Larin wrote: Yeah, and then improve it!  


Gary, if you go to Grand Teton and you take a popular photo, and model your shot off another photographer.  I don't think any court is going to throw the book at you.  ;) 


I think Gary rightfully meant "cloning" in the sense of stealing.

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7 months 1 week ago #656084 by garyrhook

Rick Larin wrote: Yeah, and then improve it!  

Gary, if you go to Grand Teton and you take a popular photo, and model your shot off another photographer.  I don't think any court is going to throw the book at you.  ;) 


That's not what I meant. Looks like I'll have to spell it out.

For example: if I go to the trouble of trying to recreate a Gregory Crewdson photograph, and do anything with it, I'll get into trouble. The courts have already made that clear (no, I'm not kidding... copyright has meaning). That doesn't prevent me from studying what he does, and deciding to use technical or stylistic elements in my imagery.

Now, why would that be?

Because you can't copyright an idea, only the instantiation of an idea. So ideas in a photograph are fair game; recreating or creating derivative work is not.

I'm hoping this helps to clarify my post.


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7 months 1 week ago #656092 by Nikon Shooter
Yes, it does… thanks!

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7 months 1 week ago #656161 by EOS_Fan
Yep, I'll say that makes sense.  But go out there and find inspiration from others work.  That's OK to say.  


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7 months 6 days ago #656304 by Sharna Lee
As far as I'm concerned, learn from others work, then find out how you can change it, improve it enough to make it unique.  


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