Copycats and photography
Photography is one art medium where anybody can imitate the works of others. With the advent of technology that is ready at out disposal, this is easier than 10-20 years ago.
How many have tried to copy Dave Hill effect? How many have gone to the same places and tried to reproduce an image using a similar subject or even with the exact subject like a landscape or architecture. Some photographers are even trying to imitate Ansel Adam's famous Yosemite National Park.
Lately, I have heard conversations, read fellow photographers' Facebook statuses and conversed with photographers complaining about some people "copying" their work. It must have been very disappointing for these photographers to see their work of art "reproduced." I could empathize with them. The alleged copycats must have been feeling very satisfied that, at last, they have been able to produce an image they have always wanted to have.
Although I have yet to experience being "copied" or imitated, I will not give a single damn. Sure I will initially "hate" the person, but that is all.
In the process of realization, does being copied make me less of a photographer? The answer is a resounding NO! I would even feel proud that these people look up to my work [or me]. If a photographer feels confident about himself, he should take pride with the fact that people are following his/her examples, and learning from them.
They can copy all they want! They can go to places I have been to. They can look for my models--dress them up and photograph they way I did. They can look for every single fungi and moss or every butterfly I have captured with my lenses. But one thing that some photographers could not copy is the heart and soul I spent for every single photograph I made.
As Guy de Maupassant puts it, aptly:
Talent comes from originality which is a special manner of thinking, of seeing, of understanding and of judging.
Other than a piece of art, a photograph is a part of one's being--his interpretations of the past, his musing on the present, his vision of the future.