The fine line between inspiration and copying… and a little something on being true to yourself
Have a seat… I’d like to pick your brain and hear your opinion on something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately – where to draw the line when it comes to being inspired and copying pictures (mainly on IG).
Disclaimer: I’m not writing this post with the intention to make anyone feel embarrassed, portrait myself as better than anyone else or to sound like a bitter old lady. On the opposite, I want to highlight the amazing point of inspiration that is Social Media and at the same time (hopefully) encourage creativity and individuality.
With that being said, no creativity shaming here. IG is like watching someone else’s world with pink glasses on, unless your gimmick is keeping it real… very real. A clever woman ( @simplysuzys ) just recently started a new hashtag called #realityroll that gives a new spin to the IG reality, showing off some more real everyday scenarios – definitely one to follow! Since IG mostly have those pink glasses on, it’s easy to fall into the old “everyone is more creative and innovative than me”- box, I tend to fall into it from time to time as well. I love scrolling the feed, looking for new inspiration and to be honest, new things to buy. All those images easily hang with me, subconsciously, and sometimes I catch myself in taking a photo in the same style of someone else.
It’s easily done, I think all of us have been there, some of us even caught in the act by the very person who was copied or by someone else pointing out that “Hey, that looks pretty similar to…XX”. Damn. Most of the time it’s not done intentionally so, therefore, I don’t see the harm in it, but I’ve come across several posts that are a complete ripoff of my own, all the way down to the position of items (we’re talking 98% accurate). I’ve not only seen my pictures being copied but also many others.
Respect the work that goes into making a setup. Take inspiration from it and make it your own, with your own twist. Unintentional copying and staging is a whole other thing since so many have the same products after all – a sign that product placement through social media apparently works.
We’ve all seen posts like flower Fridays, faceless portraits, baby in a teacup etc. etc. Hey, I’ve done my share of these too! But where do we draw the line between a fun, viral concept photo and a full-blown ripoff? I’d love to hear your opinion on this!
Here’s an example – the other day I posted a breakfast scene that included (a pretty tasty) avocado sandwich amongst other things, see it pictured below. I realized that it felt very much in the line of what the very talented @annakubel would make. I’ve borrowed her picture (also shown below, thank you, Anna, for letting me share) so you can make up your own mind – would you say that it’s too similar? Or just a coincident/completely ok?
Now, I talk to Anna occasionally so I know there’s no hard feelings here – I just wanted to use this as an example since I don’t want to out anyone here – so what better way to make an example than to use one of my own images? (insert smiley face).
Maybe the answer is to go against the “regular” IG-flow – eat a sh*t load of bacon, stuff your kids’ room full of plastic toys and paint every wall a mix of purple and lime green? Just kidding, stick to plants and wood. Of course, it’s ok to like avocado sandwiches, grey walls and to have a bizarre obsession with floral wreaths.
Just remember to be yourself!
In my opinion, there’s nothing interesting in following several accounts that all look the same. Also, if you’re working with (or aspiring to work with) brands, they will also notice that what you have posted is simply a ripoff setup – and that’s just plain embarrassing. When your words and photos reflect you and your personality it’s so much more fun to follow along! Actually, some of my favorite accounts are very different from my own.
As I’ve mentioned earlier in the post, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – where do you draw the line and have you ever been in a position that you felt copied?