GAH! I just had to tell a massively talented and creative photographer that the second-rate knockoff guy who is totally copying his style is not infringing. Style is not protected or protectable. There is nothing you can do to keep the copying bastards from trying to make work just like yours, unless they actually copy your individual image(s).

This totally sucks.

It sucks for the photographer who gets the creative inspiration and manifests it and puts it out into the world. But I also think it must suck for the copier. I mean, why be a photographer if all you do is someone else’s work?

I don’t know how any of you sleep if you are not doing your own work. It’s a hard damn business and if you aren’t at least getting the creative rush from making the work that comes from inside you, what is the point? You must really hate yourselves, you copiers.

If you think you are going to get rich by making work like that other guy, you are completely wrong. You won’t. The buyers with the big budgets will (gasp!) hire the guy with the original vision–not Mr. (or Ms.) Knockoff. You might get some low-end work, maybe, or maybe you might get a few RF stock sales, but the good work is going to go to the real creative photographer.

You will always be the wannabe, the copier, the guy (woman) who didn’t have the stones to make his/her own work. Sure, occasionally you’ll get a few sales from a few desperate buyers. But those buyers will be just like the people who buy clothes at Walmart when they have no money: they’ll never brag about how great those clothes are and, when they have the cash, they’ll go to the higher-end stores to get the real names–and tell everyone how they’re wearing a designer now.