13 Feb 2014

Musings: On Plagiarism

***I posted this entry when I was upset, since then all misunderstanding is cleared with the part involved*** 

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The very first leaflet they gave me at university was an essay on the meaning of plagiarism and how to avoid it. Wikipedia defines plagiarism as

the "wrongful appropriation" and "purloining and publication" of another author’s "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work

a clockwork orange-tile

image of Alex {Malcolm McDowell} via

If you read my blog long enough then you know that I tend to reference whatever idea, thought, expression if I’m not the first one to come up with it.

Yesterday. the whole day, I was consumed by the fact that I was accused of coping someone's idea for a photo prompt on IG.

I woke up around 2:15am to Mr T.’s cries. As always I I took him from his cot, fed him and then changed his diaper. When I breast-feed I browse IG, this morning was no different. I was surprised to read a comment on one of my photos, specifically the one I did yesterday entitled A {half} Clockwork Orange. I saw it as my masterpiece and I was so happy I went to bed just feeling elated. So reading another comment of the first person who commented on that photo felt like a bomb. She wrote "such a beautiful photo inspired by... You came up with a beautiful idea, K!" With claps at the end. She has deleted her previous comment which said “You’re beautiful. You nailed it” leaving my thank you hanging. 

Initially I didn't make much of it, I thought how nice of her to come back to comment that's I have inspired somebody else to create the same picture but she got my name wrong. I was so sleepy I wasn't thinking straight. I thought she was just being very nice,  I put my phone down and then went back to feeding my boy. Then I changed him and I went to bed to breastfeed and took my phone. I read the message again, couple of times. Then I went on the account of the person saying that someone has used her photo idea to check her photo.

Then things started to click – she was accusing me of stealing that photographer’s idea, she thought the other photographer was the first one to come up with the idea of a half orange on her eye because she wrote a long note saying somebody has used her photo. I was upset when I found out and read some of the comments some other ladies left on her account regarding me.

I don't know why she assumed that I copied, because I never saw her picture. Then again she knew the other photographer so it was fair of her to stand by her mate, I love her loyalty.

I felt bad about the situation but in the end I explained to the photographer who commented on my photo how I came up with the idea. I was inspired the British 1971's film A Clockwork Orange, I reference that in the caption of the shot. Inspiration to me means to be able to come up with a new idea based on something old. So I took my photo based on the big eye and the orange in the title of the movie.

She got it and we’re cool again. In all of this I didn’t write to the other photographer because she didn’t personally say anything to me. I like what she does and if I knew or saw her photo I would have come up with a different idea for that prompt.

I don't plagiarise other artists’ ideas and represent them as my own. I don't like being falsely blamed for something I haven't done. But most of all, I like to believe in my personal creativity.

A Clockwork Orange was my inspiration but I came up with the idea for that photo on my own.

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What are your thoughts on plagiarism and inspiration?

Linking with The Wiegands

12 comments:

  1. Sorry to see that you were pulled into some drama. It seems as though the other person copied you. It's obvious you posted your idea first. Loyalty to someone who does something wrong is misplaced loyalty. You are very creative.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I sincerely think she didn't copy me, we both came up with the same idea in different moment of the day

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  2. Honestly this seems rather childish (on her part not yours). Is she so bored that she was scouring IG looking for an image to stir up strife? There are numerous of photos in the world, and not every idea is unique nor are they the first person who has ever thought of doing that. Besides I'm fairly certain I've seen images in magazines with people holding up oranges to talk about the benefits of Vitamin C or something.

    ALSO you're not stealing or plagiarizing if it's a photo of yourself! Nor did you do it for monetary gain. You just put it on Instagram ! Like I said clearly this chick has way too much time on her hands.

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    1. We are both part of a photography community and we have prompts to capture so it's easy to see each other's work, I didn't see her photo and she didnt see my picture until later. we both came up with the same idea independently from each other in different moments. I've cleared the air with her so we are fine :)

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  3. As a professional photographer, I stand firmly behind the importance of respecting another's work. I also know that it's a huge, huge world, and it's easy to forget that there are literally millions of people in the world, who could come up with similar ideas for creating new work, inspired by great artists. It was brave of you to speak up, and I encourage you to also contact the photographer. It speaks volumes of your commitment to honesty in art!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I asked on your advice and cleared the air with the other lady, we are fine :) thank you again

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  4. I feel horribly about this. I'm not that kind of person. Love your photo & your blog!

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  5. Please, please don't feel bad. When I posted I was feeling upset and the only place I could vent was on my blog so I purged my thoughts there. I'm so happy we have put that episode behind us. I think it has brought us closer - or am I wrong? I really admire your work :)

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  6. I'm so sorry you had to deal with this. I'm glad the air has been cleared but still wished that the person had spoken to you one on one before making the whole issue bigger than it was.

    Your picture is beautiful!

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  7. It's 2014 and I'm sorry but there's very little that hasn't been that's being repeated over and over again. Her photographer friend wasn't the originator of this concept as I have seen it done quite a few times by other people. Just Google it and you'll other people have similar concept photos. I think that we live in a time, where some of us are too ready to start a fight or point the finger accusation.

    I'm glad that the situation was resolved though.

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  8. I'm so sorry you have gone through this! I love your photography, and creativity. Glad things cleared up between you and the other party.

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