Magic Monday: Copycats.


“Bad artists copy.  Great artists steal.” -Pablo Picasso.

I was prepared to write a great response but stopped myself.  I’d love to hear what you have to say first.  I’ll write a post about my response after I drum up some conversation, because surely there must be something inside of you that is reacting in one way or another 🙂

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She grew up on a little dirt road on the outskirts of town with no neighbors.  This minor detail likely explains a lot.  Like why she doesn’t know how to play night games, why having friends is a big deal, and why the use of imagination is king.  Now that she’s grown up she finally has real neighbors and lives on a real city street.  But deep down, she’s still the little red haired girl who grew up on a dirt road.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as seasonal photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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7 Responses

  1. Every artist is a thief. A painter makes a photocopy of God’s sculptures. An author plagiarizes other people’s life. A photographer steals a moment and a memory….

    Stealing is taking something with the intent of making it your own. Coping, in its very essence, is a cheap deception made to be discovered–like the knock-off you buy from the guy with the trench coat who mumbles, “hurry before the cops come,” while you peruse his merchandise.

  2. First of all, great interview over at Me Ra Koh’s site!

    About this quote. It’s all in the heart. There are some people who copy because they have no artistic tendencies themselves and are profiting off stealing anothers ideas. Malicious. Then those are are inspired and make an idea their own, which I would be flattered. Then there is the case of it’s all been done before. I get ideas then stop and say, “bet it’s been done” It usually has. I hate that!

    The ultimate goal should be a healthy balance of giving and taking inspiration from the creative community.

  3. I once asked the most gifted man I’ve ever known if a certain innovative, industry changing idea had really originated with him. His reply:

    “You know, we all get our stuff from somewhere….”

    Interesting response. But really, whether something we “copy,” “steal,” or total inspiration, I believe this statement really does hold true. Call it what you want, but we all get our stuff from somewhere.

  4. To me, this quote has always been about the difference between copying and stealing. I think Picasso is trying to say that if you “copy” someone’s work, do it so well that the work becomes your own. Redefine the whole thing to be your own.

    Mozart wasn’t the first person to write classical music, but in a sense he “stole” the genre. Everyone who came before lives in his shadow. It really wasn’t until the genre was redefined with the romantic era that someone managed to “steal” any of Mozart’s thunder.

    As an artist who has worked in many different mediums, I consider art a “copy” if there is no difference, I consider it “stealing” if I add my own special flavor to the work. The best example I can think of is that I love your “Magic Monday” posts, so I came up with my own version “Tech Tuesday”. I know you were not the first person to create a themed day-of-the-week blog series. If I had started posting “Magic Monday”‘s then I would be copying.

    So yeah, to steal is to imitate and interpretative, to copy is just cloning someone else’ artistry and idea (ie, Lame).

  5. Sounds to me like a stolen opportunity. I don’t think he meant to say physically stolen, just beat everybody else to the punch in presenting the idea better and faster than anybody else.

    It’s not true art if it’s copied and not unique.

  6. If someone is a “learning” mode I understand copying as part of an information gathering mission. we all see things we like and want to try it on to see if it fits us or our style. But if you lack the experience or confidence to do your own thing or in your own way, you better not be charging people for your expertise if you’re not the expert!

    From one artist I’ve learned how to use textures & everyday objects as supporting backgrounds, from another master I’ve learned how to capture emotion using light & shadows, I’ve learned the value of camera angles, shutter speeds & knowing your equipment. But most of all, the importance of FOCUS! If you’re so focused on copying what someone else has done, you’re going to lose your own identity & potential for greatness!!!

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