Plagiarism, Imitation or Inspiration?

Red, White & Blue water drop collision ©2011 Susan Candelario SDC Photography

If imitation is the best form of flattering… then consider me flattered. ;o=) It is my sincere hope that my blog post today will inspire some to get out of their comfort zone and push themselves to think a bit harder.

There is a fine line between inspiration and imitation. Sadly enough I see more occurrences of  people crossing this thin line lately. I say sadly because I have always felt that it is a good thing to be inspired by someone else’s work, but imitating  and trying to call it your own is just wrong. Aside from simply inhibiting your own personal style, creativity and the potential to unleash the true artist within.  If it is truly within you. Also what joy can be found or  how can one genuinely feel proud of themselves by conducting themselves in this fashion?

Even if you are devoid of any true artistic talents and choose to imitate, you should ethically give credit where credit is due. I even see this in recent articles & tutorials that I have read, that are just filled with plagiarisms. No mention of the sources are given credit. They make it sound like their own work or ideas. This is ridiculous!  The entire world is not blind or ignorant. With these practices one can only expect to fool a handful of people and probably only for a short time.

I have found myself with little inspiration at times when I have an assignment to complete. Sort of how writers get writers block. With deadlines to meet I have glanced at websites and thru the many books in my library searching for an idea to set my foundation. And whenI have gotten that spark ignited, I begin my task at hand and almost always end up with a totally different take on it. Why? because as a creative right brain person that I am, all I needed at the moment was inspiration and motivation, not to emulate someone else’s work.

I like to put my own personal style and twist into what I do. Although everything in life has already been done or created by many others and very well done may I add, just adding some originality into it helps to deviate from the norm and it is much more satisfying. If I however do not produce something different or original, I like to mention and give credit to the source. After-all it’s the right thing to do.

Finding our individuality can be a tough process for some and may take time, but in the long run, it’s what sets us apart and allow us to be recognized by our own individual unique characteristics.

So when you see something you like, admire it and take the time to be inspired and think of how can you add a piece of yourself into the mix. Remember to do and create what works for you and not for others. Never think that by trying to replicate you will the gain the success that others have worked hard for years and rightfully earned. Fads come and go but being true to our individuality & uniqueness will always remain.

I posted this as my status in FB this morning because I can truly identify with this famous quote: “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”  -Pablo Picasso

I can identify with the quote because I am always 2-3 steps ahead of myself thinking of something different, new & challenging to explore.

And here are some other favorite famous quotes & proverbs of mine regarding the subject of my post:

◊ Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those who we cannot resemble – Samuel Johnson

◊ To equal a predecessor, one must have twice their worth. – Baltasar Gracian

◊ By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter – Chinese Proverb

◊ It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation – Herman Melville

So get inspired and put a little bit of yourself into what you do.



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  • Nick Palmieri - I couldn’t agree more Susan! I know you continue to motivate me and many others. I am the first to admit it..and proud of it! It’s a matter of self-respect and lack of self-confidence when others stalk your work, copy it then take credit. Just don’t let it get you off your game…Technology has really propelled photography but it has also opened the doors for the less than talented to produce better than average work and in their minds eyes call themselves professionals. I thank you for all your help and motivation. There are several people in each of my images and you are certainly one of them!

  • CATHY MILLER - You go GIRL, we can always depend on you to speak your mind!

  • Blaire - Thanks for using the time and effort to write something so interesting.

  • anthony candelario - I hope that others will appreciate and understand, what you have conveyed in your statement.

  • Phil Echo - Susan, your vision and ability to execute are truly are spectacular. As always I am impressed with how you truly understand what we have before us as well as the tools at our disposal. Determination and hard work are absolutely evident in the work that you produce. Please continue to raise the bar for all of us.

  • Marcos - Hi Susan,
    Totally agree with your post and I am glad you wrote about this. I see this happening all the time. It’s pathetic!
    Keep inspiring us and keep up the good work that you have consistently been doing for years.

  • Roman Kurywczak - Great observations Susan! You have been on the leading edge of PS and other filters for a long time! It is a shame some people are claiming some processes as their own without giving credit! Not surprising in todays digital age. These people will be exposed as what they are: frauds…..stealing others ideas and work while claiming it as their own! This has gone on for a long time with these type of persons always looking for a shortcut. Like you said in your post……there is no substitute for hard work and coming up with your own ideas! You are a leader in this area who has always given credit to those who inspire you and drive your vision. People aren’t blind and just need to see your work to see that you are on the top of your game and always coming up with new things that inspire even me! The people who copy or follow…..are just that….followers……not leaders like you, who are blazing a path that many of us will emulate and draw inspiration from! The plagarists are always exposed in the end!

  • David Mills - Hi Susan, lots of good points here and agree with everything stated….

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