23 September 2008
The Lines Of Inspiration
I have come to the conclusion that it is simply a crime that Lula Magazine is not available (or at least not available without a very hefty price tag) where I live, and that it is truly a mini-tragedy that I am repeatedly deprived of such great art and fashion. Thank the heavens for people with Lula mags on hand and a scanner to boot. Because what can I say? Lula is simply inspiration packed!
And inspiration itself happens to be my topic for this entry. I guess I'm particularly interested in discussing the subject of inspiration, because yesterday I came across someone who had a blog entry that eerily mirrored a previous entry of mine. The images where yes, different, but of the same type and topic, and the text, though the wording wasn't an exact copy, essentially repeated what I said. Even the entry's layout was precisely done in the same Polaroid picture-couple lines of narrative-Polaroid picture-couple lines of narrative ... format.
I know for a fact that this person reads my blog (they list my blog in their blog roll), though I will refrain from calling them out by name. After all, I don't mean to be cruel or come off as bitter... more so, I suppose I am a bit confused and conflicted on how to react.
I know it's often said that when someone copies you, it's really just a form of flattery. And those people will often defend themselves and their case by shrugging, and saying they were simply inspired by you. But where does one draw the line between inspired, and "copycat", to use a children's term. And are there situations in which one's copying nears such likeness to the original that it could almost be labeled as plagiarism?
I must confess, that when someone asks permission to recreate something I've done, or when given credit for inspiration that results in someone creating something undeniably like something of mine... I feel much better than when they copy and act naively like they have no idea where the inspiration came from.
I think it's all about how you process the inspiration you receive. For me personally, I am frequently and easily inspired, however I exude much effort to ensure prevention of direct copying. I seek to put a distinct spin on whatever I am inspired by. The lovely part is when your inspiration is a "what" not a "who", because in my opinion, everyone has free reign of object-inspiration. You don't need to fret that nature, or other non man-made/human sources of inspiration, will sue you for copyright and creative infringement.
There is though, subconscious inspiration, which is a tricky little thing to tango with, because you might be unaware, whatsoever, that you even have a partner in your creation. So to say, occasions in which you are inspired and aren't even consciously aware that you have been. Usually subconscious inspiration is unknowingly stored away in your mind, and later, may slip out in something you do. You realize you've been inspired, but can't recall the source of inspiration.
Really though, in regards to this "copying" situation, I hope I'm not coming off as a snob about it. Because I actually am delighted to to hear people say I or something I've shared has inspired them. I suppose I just expect them to cultivate that inspiration in a fresh way, thus producing a whole new crop of inspiration. I believe one has a duty to take care of how they use their inspiration, so as to avoid ripping off others, and even, in some cases, law suits. When used correctly though, inspiration can be like a gift that keeps on giving.
Photo Credits: Selected images from "Love Letter", issue #5 of Lula Magazine, scans by kissmesweet @ www.thefashionspot.com