As a writer I have had numerous influences; particularly the books and articles by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and his personal brand of gonzo journalism. As a public speaker I would watch numerous videos of great presenters and storytellers such as Steve Jobs. As a photographer, I found inspirations in my career from Bruce Davidson to David LaChapelle. In each case I studied their work, gleaned from it and even allowed it to blend into my own creations.
Yet in no way did I plagiarize a Dr. Thompson article and try to pass it off as my own. Never did I present something Steve Jobs did as if I was the first to deliver it. Never did I copy the exact image that another photographer created.
I took influences and adapted it into my own work. That is actually an intrinsic part of growing and learning as an artist.
So when it is brought to my attention that an amateur photographer has attempted to replicate one of my shots down to the identical outfit, pose, lighting and editing; I have to question their intent.
Did they intend to make it their own, but lacked any creative vision or ability to change it? Or was it a blatant rip off with a desire to convince others they were original when it was merely mimicry.
In either case – my professional encouragement is to use your own blank sheet of paper. By all means, be influenced, try things, learn, grow, practice. But when it comes to your work, draw with your own hands and stop using tracing paper.
After all, no one likes a tracer. Props to “Chasing Amy” for the reference.