We’ve certainly looked at allegations of photo shoots being a little more than inspired by other works before now, but this one is a little different. Photographer Steven Meisel is oddly being accused of copying himself. Which honestly makes no sense on the face of it, but becomes a little clearer when you look at the details behind his two photo shoots.
The staff of W landed a long-awaited coup for its September issue: Photographer Steven Meisel shot a 22-page black-and-white portfolio for the magazine… Meisel took 10 models and shot them in “before” and “after” shots — what they look like all dolled up alongside a more natural look.
The good feelings didn’t last long. In the last week, W staffers discovered that Meisel shot a nearly identical concept for the August Italian Vogue. Meisel did not inform them of this.
To make matters worse, this wasn’t something that could be swept under the carpet: Meisel’s portfolio was Italian Vogue’s cover story. One source said that some W insiders believe Meisel may have financed the Italian Vogue photo on their dime.
It mightn’t be so clear cut as the last allegation, however.
There are differences between the shoots: They were styled by different people (Karl Templer for Italian Vogue and Edward Enninful for W); W showcases different models (Linda Evangelista, Carolyn Murphy, Karen Elson and Jessica Stam, among others), while Italian Vogue uses only Zimmermann.
Of course, amongst this you’ve got to add in one large fact: for all their similarities, the concept itself isn’t unique. Before and after photo shoots have been done plenty of times before, and will continue to be done for eons to come. If anything this appears to be more of a moral issue than one of spending other people’s money.
You can see the W photo shoot by clicking on the thumbnails above, while Raquel Zimmermann’s Vogue Italia shoot can be seen here.