Shooting Challenge: Steal

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Steal

If "good artists borrow, great artists steal"—I just made that up by the way—then for this week's Shooting Challenge, I want you to steal. And steal shamelessly.

The Challenge

Choose an iconic photograph of any era or style and do your best to completely duplicate it, like our lead photo by Mike Stimpson stole from the original Dali Atomicus by Philippe Halsman...

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Steal

...who in fact stole from Salvador Dalí's Leda Atomica [quasi NSFW link to photo] (and stole pretty well, as both Dalí and his painting appear in Halsman's photo!).

The Method

There are just too many possibilities to cover here in terms of method, but I will say that there are three pretty obvious directions you can go:

1. You duplicate the photo as earnestly as possible, matching its tone or particular draw as authentically as you can (the most noble route, and I hope a lot of people go this way).
2. You can duplicate the photo with a few elements swapped out for others or even updated for the modern era (most likely, what many without costume and prop budgets will need to do).
3. Or you can try to simply go for a parody (which is kind of like option 2 but soaked in hyperbole).


I'm not looking to limit your inspiration here, so know that all of these submissions are fine by me. I just ask that you push yourselves technically and creatively to get a great stolen shot.

The Rules - READ THESE

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 800px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. (The 800px image is the one judged, so feel free to crop/alter the larger image for wallpaper-sized dimensions.)
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Monday, November 15th at 8AM Eastern to with "Steal" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameSteal.jpg (800px wide) and FirstnameLastnameStealWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences ALONG WITH A LINK TO THE ORIGINAL PHOTO. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

When I'm not running Shooting Challenges, I'm curating my new site, Life, Panoramic. Also, I tend to eat, sleep and watch TV a lot.


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Ummm. This contest appears to be at least flirting with promoting copyright infringement. "Stealing" someone else's expressive work as the basis for your own work would seem to generally qualify as copyright infringement (see the Shepard Fairey case for the dangers of basing your work on someone else's copyrighted work). Of course, you might seek refuge for your derivative work under fair use, such as through it being a parody—but there are requirements for that refuge which might not be met in many cases.

Parody is a powerful refuge, but it isn't always clear what qualifies. Some interesting cases involving an "appropriation artist" named Jeff Koons went both ways ("appropriation art" is pretty much what Giz is asking people to make here):

Rogers v. Koons

Blanch v. Koons

Of course, if you choose a source image that is no longer subject to copyright protection, you should be fine (I think the original Mona Lisa qualifies, but a more recent photographic print of it might not).

It also seems to be rather unwise for Gizmodo to be encouraging its readers to do this. Inducers of copyright infringement can also be held liable for the induced infringement, and Giz's announcement of a contest based on "stealing" other artist's copyrighted works would probably be Exhibit A in an inducement showing.

That being said, I am sure the results will be entertaining.