Imitation vs Flattery

They say that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This is a quote that I have been questioning in the last few days.

Although we are encouraged to be surrounded by a lot of different style of photographs to train our eye, the question I have is, does it really help in the creation of original work or simply does it encourage us to copy.

Instagram is a very accessible platform that allows me to publish my work quickly without the need of a computer. For that reason, I post more often on there. A week ago while I was scrolling through my feed, I noticed an image. The resemblance to my own was uncanny, so my first thought was that my work has been stolen.

I pulled my own image next to the image that I saw. It took me almost 20 minutes of examining both images that it was not my image but an extremely similar one.

The composition was exactly the same, the edit was exactly the same all the way down the “clipping of the black tones” that I often do as I find it aesthetically pleasing. But a deep sense of disappointment came over me when I realised that I actually liked and admire this individual’s work.

So I ask you, when does imitation becomes simply copying? Do we now need to add the terms as in design when it comes copying other designer work?

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