When it comes to stealing photos, Instagram is really lacking in recourse for creators and, more often than not, there is little punishment for users that engage in this activity. While recent additions to Instagram have gone a long way towards making it easier to share another user’s work and credit them at the same time, there are some things even the most sophisticated program will struggle to stop.
Such is the case with American pop star Selena Gomez and the promotional campaign surrounding her latest album. Apparently the photos Selena has uploaded to her Instagram account to promote her music hew a little too closely to the aesthetic – the look, composition, and artistic feel of a creative work – of another Instagram user, artist Sarah Bahbah.
Specifically, Selena Gomez has posted a series of posed photos with text overlaid on top that hints at some narrative contained within the photo. When compared with Sarah Bahbah photos, the resemblance is fairly immediate. Further, Sarah Bahbah’s photos seem to delineate some kind of ennui and posit some question of existence in relation to others in a relationship setting, a theme repeated in Selena Gomez’s photos promoting her new album.
Sarah Bahbah started the caption series back in 2015 and has successively released photos in this milieu ever since. She often casts models as “actors” for her scenes and the composition is distinctly voyeuristic in its approach. That is to say, they’re unique and almost immediately so.
While not wholesale theft of Sarah Bahbah’s exact photos, the mimicry has fans on both sides riled up on the Internet, with Bahbah’s crew pointing out the ways that Selena Gomez is copying the artist and Selena Gomez’s fans saying that they are only captions on photos in an argument that either ignores the similarity in composition.
But you can judge for yourself. Check out Selena Gomez’s Instagram account by clicking here and Sarah Bahbah’s website by clicking here.
I have to go with Selena on this one. You don’t own the idea of placing copy onto a photograph.