Still A Great Traveler, The Copycat
Uncategorized at September 29, 2017on
Not too long ago there was a pretty public case of an Instagram account that mimicked – to a T – the photos posted by the illustrious Lauren Bullen from @gypsea_lust and her beau Jack Morris from @doyoutravel. The two major travel influencers have a combined following of four and a half million on Instagram, and work with prestigious brands across the globe.
In November of 2016, Lauren wrote on her blog about a copycat of her work, an account under the name @diana_alexa (which has since had all the plagiarized photos removed and the account made private). The mysterious Diana was repeating the same poses in the precise locations Lauren had, even wearing similar outfits in all the pictures.
The story blew up over the internet, bringing thousands of sympathetic and outraged fans to voice their disapproval. Skeptics came forth to, claiming that finding the exact spots of each shot would be futile to accomplish without actually knowing where they were from Bullen, but with the amount of resources available online, and all the tags in all the posts, it’s not entirely impossible.
Despite all the criticism and disdain directed at Diana, one can’t help but to be impressed by the traveling feats the unknown account accomplished. Even Bullen herself reported to Cosmopolitan about having complimented the woman, in her original article about the ordeal (the article having since been removed from Bullen’s blog). Her attention to detail and execution of the photographs were precise and quite as beautiful as the original – some even voted them as better!
When we more closely examine each location visited and the experiences lived, we see how taxing it can be to accomplish what @diana_alexa did. Trips to Greece, Morocco, the Sahara Desert… they don’t come cheap. Add on to that elite hotels, brand clothing, and custom accommodations? These plagiarized photographs for social media were a small factor in the face of Diana’s travels. In reality, the woman still traveled to, and experienced phenomenal and life-altering places and views that most people only dreaming of achieving.
The subject of plagiarizing, especially when it comes to social media, is a heavily debated area. Consider for a moment the man that made millions on printing and displaying thousands of random photos from Instagram he liked, Richard Prince. Zero credit went to the original posters and one man cashed in on thousands of other peoples’ creativity. The actual definition of plagiarizing seems to make it pretty clear; “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own”, yet the Instagram Photo Thief didn’t face any repercussions for his actions because once it was printed, his lawyers debated it was no longer the original work.
While Diana very clearly plagiarized the ideas for every photograph, the work behind it is not to be so easily dismissed, and for that, she certainly deserves credit.