I think you're reading too much into it, looking at his stream he's got a fairly wide variety of styles, from holga to hassy. With a wide-ranging eye as shown in his stream, there will always be overlap with other's work. I agree there is a grey area - just think of how many 'long exposure of a dock in low light ala Kenna' you've seen [and here's my riff on Atget]... but this guy [tryred62] is - in my opinion - a lot more individual than that.
I think your making a very big stretch suggesting this guy is ripping off Hido. My comment on the 4 images given as examples are that Hido is doing nothing original and neither is the other guy.
Why bother obsessing with what someone on Flickr posts? Maybe the Flickr fellow looked at Hido's photographs, and did imitate the ones he liked. Big deal. Maybe all of them he thought up independently. Big deal. Is every photograph of a rose derivative or plagarized from the first photograph of a rose?
Less agony, more photography.
I find that most people's evolution in photography is simply that early on they find someone's work they really like that moves them or "fits" them.
Then they set about trying to copy it, firstly to see if they can, and secondly, it motivates them to learn and get better.
From that point a lot of people move on and develop their own style.
But some people never really get the copying right, which is why there are so many Ansel clones. They are stuck in a rut of trying to emulate, that they never develop a style, or else they like what that style is and stay there.
When I started out, I was drawn to faces and skin. I loved lighting and how it made faces beautiful. I found street photography too easy and it had no market. I found scenics too easy as well. But making people beautiful was hard. I started copying and learning and eventually that's the direction I took.
I'm not sure I ever found a style per se, just a way to make people beautiful, and that's what I stuck with. But I copied a lot early on and that's how I learned, as well as dozens of seminars and workshops.
So I have no problem with homage photography really, because I don't think there are many originals who started out doing their own style, without copying from somebody.
It's just a part of an evolutionary process of how artists work. And when you critique them, you are merely picking a point in their evolutionary progression.
Well said Blanksy, this video pretty much sums it all up, Everything is a Remix Part 3, by Kirby Ferguson:
When I was in high school a compulsory matter was disegno a mano libera, free-hand sketching with a pencil, the chiaroscuro stuff.
You obviously have to be born for the stuff or ten lives will not be enough to become decent. I think I would need twenty lives. Teachers were compassionate enough.
Anyway your task as a poor young man trying to draw was to copy some Piranesi tables about architectural details. The task and exercise here was to copy as well and as exactly as possible. Copying is a powerful way to learn technique. Personal style comes after.
I don't think there really is anything deeply wrong in what the photographer is doing, I only observe that:
- If he does it as an exercise in technique, this should better be openly declared;
- If he does it as a way to acquire some recognition, then he will just make a fool of himself because the other photographers published first and "exact imitators" only manage to make a fool of themselves.
- The most natural outcome in any case is that this photographer will learn from the copying exercise and he'll almost inevitably arrive to some personal way of seeing. Imitation will have been just a way to learn the technique one day.