Jeff Bark vs. Mert and Marcus
I remember a while back discovering and really liking the work of Jeff Bark. Particularly I remember loving his Woodpecker series.
I hadn’t looked at Jeff’s work in a while when a friend showed me some work by Mert and Marcus. They do some really great stuff and I liked it right away. Looking through their work we came to their What Lies Beneath fashion story and, feeling like I’d seen it before, I spoke out about how I recognized it and liked it.
Thing is… as we looked through it, something didn’t seem right to me. I didn’t like it as much as I remembered. I did some further research and found that I was wrong. The thing is, as it turns out, I had never seen What Lies Beneath, but I had seen Woodpecker.
You see, What Lies Beneath basically is Woodpecker. And Woodpecker came first.
Here are some visual aids:
Jeff Bark’s Woodpecker:
Mert and Marcus’ What Lies Beneath:
I wanted to do this post to open the discussion on what has gone on here. I’m curious to hear peoples thoughts on this sort of appropriation. Some people seem to think it’s just fine, happens all the time, etc. Others are outraged, claiming Bark should sue. I personally think Bark’s work is superior.
Where do you guys stand?
Things to consider:
Bark created this work years ago as fine art, producing and funding it all himself. Mert and Marcus, I’m assuming here, got paid plenty well for their 46 page fashion story. Bark himself has a fashion career. The photo editor for Love magazine that hired Mert and Marcus had hired Bark in her past, so was obviously aware of Bark’s work. Also, this isn’t the first time Mert and Marcus have been in the hot seat for appropriating the work of other photographers.
Also, I posted the images from What Lies Beneath with the Art Partner watermark on purpose. Irony anyone?