Photographer Jingna Zhang posted on social media that a painter ‘ripped off’ her photograph and won a cash prize in addition to exhibiting her painting at a prestigious international exhibition.
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Zhang wrote, “A guy really ripped my photo off, won a €1,500 price, exhibited as part of a biennale supported by the Luxembourg government, then tried to report copyright infringement to me. Where can I find a Luxembourgish speaker to help me? Unbelievable.”
She uploaded a side-by-side photo of the board and her original photograph, which features a pale Asian model with red lips. Her hair is in a bun with loose streaks on the side of her face.
On the left, the alleged impersonator shows an almost identical figure with little modification besides being flipped, a change in the color of her clothes and an added earring.
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On Instagram, Zhang explained in more detail that the man had presented his work at the Commune of Strassen, a cultural center in Strasbourg, Luxembourg.
“When confronted with others about copyright infringement, he emails me a statement, telling me that as a figurative painter, it’s obvious he has need reference material. That he was inspired by someone else who first appropriated my photos (!!), and even though he was inspired by some of my artistic choices, he had “created an image handmade”, with different colors, flipped the photo, and added earrings and a sword. ???”
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Zhang described how the person then listed artists who used other paintings or photographs as references, insisting that her case was not copyright infringement.
The author concluded his article by tagging people associated with the Commune of Strassen, including the royal family of Luxembourg, to whom the painting was presented during the event.
Several other artists and talents echoed his outrage.
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Photographer Kirsty Mitchell commented, “I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit,” adding, “It’s so accurate it looks like he used yours as a base outline for the paint, even up to to the double strands of hair in the front. . It is absolutely outrageous. I would pursue that.
Mitchell added another comment suggesting that Zhang should label the alleged copycat art school: “I doubt they’ll find that good press either.”
On Twitter, a user replied that he discovered that the same person had also copied his work.
“So fucked up! Thanks to your IG post, someone alerted me that they did the same thing with my own work. Hope there will be some repercussions.
In a side-by-side image, the alleged impersonator had posted a painting that looks identical to the user’s photograph, except they had replaced a flower the woman pictured was holding with a cigarette and a pocket watch. They also added a tattoo to the woman’s arm.
In a recent response, Zhang informed the wire that the organizer of the Commune of Strassen had deleted the Instagram post announcing the winners but had not yet contacted her.
“I don’t know if that means they basically plan to do nothing,” she said.
Zhang recently photographed actress Michelle Yeoh for Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2022 profile. She was previously featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list.