Is imitation really a form of flattery?

I’m certain you’ve heard the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” or something similar. I normally agree with the statement—in most cases. I don’t think it can be applied globally as some would suggest. As a photographer, artist, musician, etc., inspiration comes from a variety of sources. We may or may not be aware of where it came from, but it is what makes art forms evolve into where they are and where they will be in the future. It’s built upon each other whilst improving or enhancing what currently exists.

But where do you draw the line of copying? I’m not necessarily referring to straight up plagiarism. But a mimicking, to the point of where it’s obvious of where the inspiration came from with zero credit to the origination.

It seems like when someone does copy you, somehow the offender feels it appropriate to warn you ahead of time that they may seem or look similar to your version, like somehow that makes it okay. I’ve been copied many times, some more obvious than others. I find it more interesting to observe those that think copying will render the same result monetarily or just in sheer social likes or views.

When I photograph various spots or subjects, I want something different and unique. I try my best not to research angles or anything before I go because I don’t want to be influenced by someone else. Instead I like to get there early and scout out the best location.

It’s one thing to have the same angle. It’s another to edit/mimic a style. When someone has a portfolio of work, you can see a certain consistency or style that usually pertains to them. It’s understandable to like someone’s editing style. But when you deliberately copy it to try and further your career, that’s where I have an issue.

It really comes down to intent. Accidents happen. But I honestly can’t see how a blatant copy of style happens by accident.

to be updated…