Initially I planned to write a post about something else: on why we take photos and what’s there in photography that attracts us. I was going to discuss some ideas from Suzan Sontag’s essays on photography. But to be honest, I couldn’t eventually figure out what I wanted to say and got entangled in the rags of ideas.

So, I was about to give up writing a new post, but then recalled one funny thing. While browsing through my photo archive I often realized that some of pictures somewhat resembled photos by other photographers I’ve seen before.

IMG_3065A boy at the IDP settlement © Temo Bardzimashvili, 2009

A boy with a grenade in Central Park © Diane Arbus, 1962

Some of my friends even reproached me for, as far as I understand, this sort of plagiarism. I agree that some photos, twin to the well-known ones, are the conscious products. When a situation, similar to that on a famous photograph that lie on the surface of consciousness, occurs, it’s logical, that that very photo will come to my mind and, since I like it, first thing I do, is take similar photo.

Evening view on Adishi in the winter A dog near a highland village in Svaneti, 2010. As soon as I took this photo I realized that it looks very much like one picture by Ed Kashi (below), which I saw a couple of months before that © Temo Bardzimashvili,

© Ed Kashi, 2009

But it happens that you realize that a photo has its twin sister only months after. It could be a coincidence, if you haven’t seen the other photo before. But I often copied some photos I’ve seen before without realizing it. Only some time after I found out that some of my pictures and a photo taken by Steve McCurry, Elliott Erwitt or others are similar. Then it becomes clear that all this time this picture was present on the background of my consciousness and made me take similar photo at the right moment.

IMG_4801I swear I didn’t see the photo below before taking this one. 🙂 Istanbul, 2010 © Temo Bardzimashvili.

© Elliott Erwitt.

So, is this plagiarism? Yes and no. Yes, because it could be. If you intentionally copy a renowned work, chase the real situation, light and colors you saw on that photo, especially when you stage it, then yes, you’re plagiarizing it. But if you’re in the similar situation by the accident, and you want to get best use of it, then “a hint” from the masters could be of a great help. In such cases you rather use your lesson you learnt when looking at the photo of the Afghan Girl, Victory Day Kiss at the Times Square etc.

Georgia, 2010. Looking at these two drunk Roma kissing after a holiday feast, rather than thinking anything homosexual I immediately recalled the other famous scene (below) © Temo Bardzimashvili

breznev_honecker_kissingLeonid Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker.

4332636412_9b169e191d_zA satirical mural on the remaining part of the Berlin Wall depicting the famous photograph. Painted in 1990 by artist Dmitri Vrubel.

Some more “twin” photos:

Tbilisi, Georgia © Temo Bardzimashvili, 2009

Afghanistan, 2003 © Steve McCurry

On the second day every family should slaughter a pag for a feast table.Svaneti, Georgia. It’s funny that the moment I was pushing the shutter button, I had this picture below in mind (though it’s not very similar) © Temo Bardzimashvili, 2010

Nigeria, 2006 © Ed Kashi

Margo Qaldani is opening the door lock from inside in Adishi.
Svaneti © Temo Bardzimashvili, 2010.

© Elliott Erwitt


3 thoughts on “Similarities

  1. Pingback: In Memoriam: Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington « amanda rivkin, photographer

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