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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Appropriating Another Photographer's Style

(l Jason Florio, r Matthew Mahon)

The question comes down to this: How can you justify ripping-off another photographer’s style? It has come to my attention that Redux photographer Matthew Mahon took Jason Florio’s well-known way of shooting portraits and copied it for a Fast Company shoot.

It seems to me to be a direct rip-off of Florio's way of shooting. All the more surprising since Jason Florio is a multi-award winning photographer, whose portraits and style is well known. His Gambia work has appeared on the cover of PDN, been awarded a Lucie and more. In fact, he was asked to use that specific style for the AARP shoot. Why does one photographer think they can just appropriate another photographer's visual style for their own?

I have posed the question to photographer Matthew Mahon and the Photo Editor of Fast Company as well as Marcel Saba of Redux (since the shoot is featured on their website and Mahon is one of their photographers), and will report any and all responses.

The full look at Jason's AARP

And Matthew's Fast Company

I’d be interested in knowing what you think.

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Blogger IsaacArt said...

I wonder if it was someone at fast c that asked, "can you do this type of pic?" the answer could have been, "contact the guy that shoots that way," instead of " yeah, sure."

May 05, 2011  
Blogger IsaacArt said...

Btw, I love your blog.

May 05, 2011  
Anonymous AC said...

Stella I love your blog so much.

May 05, 2011  
Anonymous rich_mut said...

doesn't this happen all the time? should this be filed under morally wrong but legal?

May 05, 2011  
Blogger Tyson Habein said...

maaayyybbeee legal. There have been a few small instances of an intellectual concept being considered to be infringed upon in this way, but that was more of a direct recreation of an image.

The argument could be made that there isn't anything new under the sun especially in terms of style. Beyond that, if what you have to offer can be so readily recreated by another photographer (not saying this is the case here, as I'm sure the original photographer has far more to offer than the surface of the images in question) you have far more pressing problems than a copycat photographer.

May 06, 2011  
Anonymous Sean McCormick said...


Saw this post via twitter and wasn't sure what you were getting at, since everyone sort of takes inspiration from another. This however is another animal altogether. Since I know JF and his story of dragging this set all over Africa, become even more annoying.

May 12, 2011  
Blogger Mark Tucker said...

Personally, I think it might have been nice if you'd found out all the facts about the story before you published this, in this way. Who knows what really happened, behind the scenes.

But when you present it in this way, it's sorta like the old story of asking the guy whether he's stopped beating his wife.

When you pose a question, rather than providing a full story, I'm just saying you can potentially send the wrong message, and someone looks bad, when it might not have been their fault. Who knows, till the fully story is told.

The whole thing just seems a tad inflammatory to me. Since full context is not provided.

Just one subjective opinion.

May 12, 2011  
Blogger Mark Tucker said...

Is there a reason that my comment was not published?

May 18, 2011  
Blogger Stella Kramer said...

No reason, Mark. I've had a problem with Blogger. Please resend the comment if you will and I will publish it. Also, stay tuned tomorrow when I will be blogging about this again after talking with Fast Company.

May 18, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well in that case Miller Mobley from Redux also copied that style. So long as its not the exact same picture surely its fine, un-creative, but fine, Jason would be flattered that his style inspired someone else - I would be.

May 21, 2011  

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