Sunday, March 4, 2012

Photographers are ‘Copiers’

Recently a friend of mine and fellow photographer Fred Hinegardner quoted me as saying “Photographers by their very nature are ‘Copiers’... plagiarists.” I have felt that way for years. Photographers "take pictures" they don't "make pictures". They take photos (copies) of things that exist, as opposed to taking a blank sheet of paper or canvas and creating something unique. Don't get me wrong, photographers are very good at what they do, but being "creative" is not it.

It disheartened me that you would go to a professional photographers conference, at the print judging or at a seminar you would see a photographer with a new pose or background or technique. Only to notice the next year that all the photographers had "copied" it. Year after year it because a game of follow the leader. One good idea, only leads to ten thousand copies of it. Then the copiers would advertise themselves as "creative" or "artistic".

My father was an artist. He would take a blank canvas and create something unique, nothing like it anywhere in the world. I grew up with and around artists. I am happy to say that my daughters seem to have inherited that artistic gene. I know what an artist is and that I am not one. I think of myself as a craftsman.

Ironically the day after Fred posted my comments on Facebook I noticed one of my "friends" had copied my tag line and started using it in their advertising.

Nothing new of course, over the years I have had competitors copy the Spencer Studio logo  colour scheme and font to use on their logos. My ad ideas also copied almost word for word.

It's hard not to be cynical about this profession. But I just keep telling myself, Photographers copy, that's what they do. 


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