Sunday, 4 September 2011

Problems with Creative Ideas

A post made by Alec Soth in his blog raises some issue with regards to creative ideas, basically a publishing company approached Alec to use one of his images for a book, he said 'no' and they designed something very similar which annoyed him.

His image....

Alec Soth Peters Houseboat

 The book cover....
Winter's Bone Daniel Woodrell

Lots of comments have been made backing up his annoyance whilst others say 'so it's similar, get over it, you said no.' Personally I side with the 'get over it' comments. Yes, it is similar, but so many images out there are.

Sworn to Silence Linda Castillo (publisher Panmacmillan 2009)

Snow huts.....huts's not so original...and there are more out there.

Another example of huts, ok no snow but huts and a washing line, taken earlier this year by a good friend of mine who loves Dungeness.

Dungeness Hut Mark Watts 2011

I don't know if Mark has ever looked at Alec Soth's work, I doubt it. He likes Dungeness, he photographs what is there. What is there are boats, huts and washing lines.... sorry Alec you don't have the exclusive right to photograph huts and washing lines ;o) As with any photograph many people will shoot the same thing, from the same place and the same angle. Or if not the same at least very similar. Only a few will decide to publish and even fewer will have produced something of a high enough quality to be accepted.

Drawing the line between copyright and inspiration or even matched ideas can be difficult. How many have come up with ideas they decide to patent or copyright only to discover that someone else beat them to it 10 years ago? The book cover is not a direct copy and sadly you can't copyright an idea.

On a visit to my local library to complete the exercise 'choosing your imagery' I spotted the book Still Life With Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer...creative concept look familiar?

Once home I searched for it on the Internet to show a comparison, and came across a different version which immediately sparked recognition, it looked very much like an image by Joel Meyeorwitz ......

Checking up, yes it was...I impressed myself! Originally published in 1979 in Cape Light. Reprinted in 2002 by Little, Brown Company.... the plot thickens!

Joel Meyerowitz Cape Light 1979

Maybe Joel Meyeorwitz should be cross because he took a similar photograph published in 1979, about twenty years before Peter's Houseboat, which Soth could be said to have copied? Meyeorwitz obviously didn't object to having a chicken added to his photograph as much as Soth did a young girl to his ;o)

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