I came across an interesting spat on Instagram yesterday when the world-renowned photographer Rankin posted a defence of his make up artist collaborator Marco Antonio. It seems that an Instagram influencer, Jazzelle Zanaughtti (@uglyworldwide) had accused Antonio of taking her idea of sticking egg shells to a model's face for a striking image. Zanaughtti seems to have edited the original post, and it is not clear what she said.
Antonio rejected the allegation, and Rankin weighed in on his side, both claiming to have clear evidence of prior creation. Antonio and Rankin both pointed to the "scathing" nature of the attacks by Zanaughtti and her followers.
It is an interesting case for a few reasons. One, it shows how an allegation of copyright infringement, even where it appears unfounded, can lead to significant unpleasantness online. Second, it appears to be an example of two different artists coming up with the same idea independently. Finally, it is also a good reminder of the benefits of preserving evidence of creation, including inspiration. Rankin posted the original RAW files and details of shoot dates which he said evidenced that there was no copying. It is easy to say a work was created independently, it is quite another to prove it.
I can verify that Marco did not copy @uglyworldwide. He brought me this idea in August 2018, when we tested it for his book. At the time we decided not pursue it. We then resurrected it to shoot the 2nd half earlier this year in January. The kind of comments he has suffered are the worst example of how social media can be misused to ‘air’ a grievance. One message or phone call to me or my office would have cleared things up. Between the two shoots, there were more than 30 people involved in the production. Each can confirm the dates of the shoots. I have made the images available to download in my bio as raws. Please feel free to check the metadata on them. Repost from @marcoantoniolondon