Today when I opened up Facebook I saw a fashion story posted by Lillian Lightbourn. The spread was for Papercut Magazine and was inspired by the late contemporary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. You can check out the spread here. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152121291760151.923676.538855150&type=1
Basquiat is one of my favorite artists. I watch his documentary ‘The Radiant Child’ at least two times a month. (You can watch it on HULU)
Why didn’t I think of that?
I kept asking myself that question over and over. The idea is genius and Lillian with her natural curly hair was perfect for the role of Basqiat.
I love the photographer’s idea but I think I would have approached the shoot differently. The hair, makeup, wardrobe styling, and location were great! I think I would have processed the images in post a little differently. I also think that most of my photos would have been in black and white. (I am still going through that black and white phase.)
There were a lot of great images from the spread that really stood out to me. The one with the red crown was awesome. I also favored the series of images with the boxing gloves. I thought those were genius and brilliantly executed!
This brings me to a book I read called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. The book explains how there is nothing new on this earth and everything we see created by human hands has been done already. Being a good artist depends on how well you can hide your sources.
Is it ok to copy someone else’s idea if you feel that you can do it
I mean, how many times have you seen different versions of Jesus on the cross? Is there a certain point when an idea becomes so common that it is ok to duplicate without the artist becoming a thief?
Execution is everything. I always say that an effective shoot is 10% inspiration and the rest is execution. A good idea can become real corny real quick if you’re not careful.
As much as I would like to attempt a shoot like this. I have decided to leave this Basquiat idea alone. If I did shoot it I would use Lillian and I think that is cutting it way too close to the original photographer. The best thing I can do is keep my mind open so that I can be the next
photographer artist to come up with a great concept that others may want to steal.