A Photographer Plagiarism Experience… What Goes Around Comes Around!

Vanity © Benjamin Kanarek

A few years ago, I was seeing an Art Director with whom I had worked with frequently. It was a well known French fashion magazine. As you may already know, in all magazines the credit to the photographer is often on every second page either in the gutter or along the vertical edge of the page. As Paris is one of the major centers for fashion and beauty advertising in the world there is a huge influx of photographers coming in to try and get some fashion or beauty editorial work for their portfolio that may eventually generate advertising revenue from the exposure garnered in the magazine. Photographers will come in with their book and show it to the Art Director in the hope of getting a gig.

On this day while visiting the Art Director he said the following to me…”Hey Benjamin, I saw a photographer today and his work was very nice…” and I said “Yeah..OK..So..And..?” Well he came in to the Art Director’s office and presented himself as so and so. He was from somewhere in the States and had only arrived in Paris about a month or so ago. Now, it is difficult to determine the source of “tear sheets” (pages ripped out) of a magazine unless you are familiar with the layout, font etc.. Now if you cut out the pages, you can cut off the photographers name without detecting anything too disproportionate.

The photographer proceeded to introduce himself and went through the standard formalities. The Art Director said

“OK let’s have a look at your work.” The photographer presented his portfolio and the Art Director very deliberately started to go through it taking his time as he leafed through the pages. He got to the end of the book, closed it and said,

“Very nice, just one thing…” and he re-opened the portfolio leafing through the pages to a specific story buried somewhere in the photographer’s book. He looked intently at the photographer and said “I really love this story, where did you shoot it and for whom?” As the magazine had French text the photographer said that he shot it in New York at a studio for a French magazine. The Art Director again looking intently in to his eyes and said,

“Very nice, but this is very embarrassing..” “Why is that?” the photographer asked. “Well I don’t remember working with you on this shoot, in fact if you were the photographer I would have known that and recognized you and as I was the Art Director and Benjamin Kanarek was the photographer, it couldn’t have been YOU!”

Without saying a word, and in total deafening silence, the photographer picked up his portfolio, put it in it’s bag and walked out of the office, never ever to be seen or heard of again…

And that is what happens when you steal from other artists…

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…