February 18, 2007
Can photographers be plagiarists?
That’s the subject of an interesting illustrated essay on Slate this week. A father/son team of photographers has been accused of ripping off the work of another shooter–apparently after first calling him for advice on vantage points, film, etc. The essay talks about ways photographers have played off & riffed on one another’s work over the years, even to the point of reproducing it wholesale (e.g. Sherrie Levine photographing Walker Evans’ famous Depression-era prints–making her an "appropriation artist"). At what point does homage cross the line? It’s interesting food for thought.
Side note: I do have to ask what, exactly, makes this photo so special? Maybe if I weren’t totally insecure about what I shoot, I could let this go, but… I’d like to be enlightened about why a photo like this one is considered gallery-worthy. It makes me think of that empty plinth getting mistaken for the actual artwork.