Australian travel blogger sees double over fan's replica photos

Australian blogger Lauren Bullen discovered that her photographs had been recreated by another woman.
Australian blogger Lauren Bullen discovered that her photographs had been recreated by another woman. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/LAUREN BULLEN, DIANA ALEXA

Life imitates art imitates life, in a bizarre case of photographic imitation among the well-heeled, well-travelled social media celebrity set.

Australian blogger Lauren Bullen's Instagram account - under the handle @gypsea_lust - is dotted with decadent scenes of breakfast or sunbathing in farflung locales such as Greece, Spain and Morocco.

Ms Bullen, 23, wrote in a blog post dated Nov 11 that another woman had been deliberately recreating her online photos.

This photograph by Ms Bullen's boyfriend Jack was also allegedly imitated by another woman on Instagram. PHOTO: LAUREN BULLEN

The second woman, going by the name Diana Alexa, had visited the exact same places that Ms Bullen had, and took photos in similar outfits and poses. Some of Ms Alexa's pictures, which Ms Bullen shared on her blog, were dated in September and October.

Ms Bullen's pictures were recreated right down to details such as venue and outfit. PHOTO: LAUREN BULLEN

Ms Bullen subsequently wrote that she had been in contact with Ms Alexa, who has since removed the photographs.

Ms Bullen also took down her original blog post criticising the slew of replica photos.

"She just got inspired and liked the style of my work," Ms Bullen wrote, adding that she did not wish to speak to the media about the incident.

Ms Bullen, who has more than 700,000 followers on Instagram, denied that it had been a publicity stunt.

One photographer whom The Straits Times approached for comment said that while the copycat might not qualify as a straightforward plagiarist because she did not take credit for Ms Bullen's pictures, she still crossed a line in her actions.

"Instagram is an open field of creativity and sharing for photography. In a way, it's the kind of platform that flourishes that of seeing someone else's idea and referencing it as your own," said Singapore-based photographer Nicky Loh.

"To copy a picture wholesale is a big no-no even though Instagram is a non-commercial platform. As a photographer, copying something simply takes the joy out of photography."

He added: "Using inspiration without actually stealing the work of others and calling it your own is what can make you unique. Using inspiration to make you a better photographer is important (for) your original style."