i was at Chapters with a friend this afternoon and the cover of the new Triathlon Canada Magazine popped out at me. the cover has Canadian Olympic Team triathlete Kathy Tremblay. it wasn’t the fact that she was on the front of the cover, i actually had no idea who she was until later. what caught me was the fact that the picture almost looked identical to a picture i took earlier this spring. i have been photographing Canadian National Team duathlete Nik Vogler for the last 2 years. we had colaborated in April on some new images. one of the images was used for her website, and they caught a bit of buzz from her sponsors, Rudy Project inparticular. unfortunately Rudy wanted to use the images rights-free in all of their world-wide advertising. not even a hint of compensation, monetary or else-wise.
[side note: never give your images away for free to a big company, especially if they are going to be running it in advertising. licensing your work a big part of your photography business. Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua has a ton of good info on her blog about it, a couple podcasts too.]
anyways, the images come fairly close in rendition. and not just close in the way the picture was taken, but down to the styling, same hair and sunglasses style. they are both part of the same organization, Triathlon Canada, so i’m sure things get around. i am in no way accusing Mr. Jean-Francois Berube of copying, he is a fantastic photographer from Montreal and has a great folio of athletes. he also took a the picture of a little girl playing on a hop-scotch that’s drawn like a plane for Air Canada, it’s a great image… i digress.
i say all of this to emphasis the point that there is no such thing as a new idea anymore. there are new takes on ideas. new points of view. new ways of doing them. but, there are no new ideas. ideas flow. they’re just there. people tend to hold onto their idea so tightly. to a point where some people will ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement just to have a casual conversation about it. yes, i know, there are times where being hush-hush and tight lipped about a project is warranted. but come on, all of our inspiration comes from somewhere. and don’t tell me that it just came to you with no previous influences.
here is my only advice to you about new ideas, and i know that Nik will fully agree on this because, well, she’s the biggest advocate of it. just do them. create them. shoot them. and don’t wait. get your ideas down and solid. and if you see something similar, know that you’ve done it too. Mr. Jean-Francois Berube and i have two completely different styles of shooting, as you can see. his image of Kathy Tremblay is very commercial, where my images of Nik Vogler take a heavier fashion route. that’s how you make your niche in the industry. create and nuture your own style. believe in it, and sell it. and never appologies for it either.
Kathy Tremblay by Jean-Francois Berube
Nik Vogler by Me