posted Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 7:00 AM EDT


Reality television personality Kylie Jenner has her own cosmetics line, Kylie Cosmetics, which recently launched their holiday campaign. You would think that with the money behind the brand, they could afford to be original with their photography. This is apparently not the case as Kylie Cosmetics has essentially stolen an idea from photographer Julia Kuzmenko and makeup artist Vlada Haggerty.

This all started in September when Kuzmenko and Haggerty got together, as they regularly do, to collaborate and create new work. They ended up using a "See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil," theme. For the "see no evil" portion of their project, Kuzmenko shot a close-up image of a model covering her eyes with gold fingers and vibrant red lips, which you can see below.

It's a very neat image. Additionally, it's an original idea. Over this past weekend, Kylie Cosmetics posted the image below. Notice anything?


A photo posted by Kylie Cosmetics (@kyliecosmetics) on

Sure, the lipstick is different, right? Yes, it's different from Haggerty's work in Kuzmenko's image above. However, Vlada posted the image below ten weeks ago.

The story becomes more interesting because the photographer behind the Kylie Cosmetics campaign that ripped off Kuzmenko's image and Haggerty's makeup work, Marcelo Cantu, was tagged in the image posted to Kuzmenko's Instagram page directly following the image in question. Cantu was tagged as part of the team responsible for an image that Kuzmenko had been hired to retouch. Making the situation even worse is that Julia's original image, which has been on Instagram for eight weeks, garnered an impressive 1,906 likes at the time of writing, but this still pales in comparison to Kylie Cosmetics' massive social outreach which has seen them attract over 200,000 likes in a couple of days, all while attracting considerable attention to photographer Marcelo Cantu.

Coincidences are one thing, but given Cantu's familiarity with Kuzmenko's photo and the extensive similarities between Julia and Vlada's work and the Kylie Cosmetics image Cantu created, this is no coincidence. By the way, Kylie Cosmetics has been "inspired" by Kuzmenko and Haggerty before.

It's important to note the distinction between inspiration and imitation. There's nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else's work, and surely there will be times when that inspiration is very evident. However, as you can see in the side-by-side comparison below, this is a case of copying someone else, not being inspired by them. 

Please read Julia Kuzmenko's blog post here for her take on the situation and for additional information. If her name sounds familiar, you might have seen our coverage of her tutorial about reducing skin highlights through your lighting setup.

(Seen via SLR Lounge)