I came across an interesting spat on Instagram yesterday when the world-renowned photographer Rankin posted a defence of his make up artist collaborator Marco Antonio. It seems that an Instagram influencer, Jazzelle Zanaughtti (@uglyworldwide) had accused Antonio of taking her idea of sticking egg shells to a model's face for a striking image. Zanaughtti seems to have edited the original post, and it is not clear what she said.

Antonio rejected the allegation, and Rankin weighed in on his side, both claiming to have clear evidence of prior creation. Antonio and Rankin both pointed to the "scathing" nature of the attacks by Zanaughtti and her followers.

It is an interesting case for a few reasons. One, it shows how an allegation of copyright infringement, even where it appears unfounded, can lead to significant unpleasantness online. Second, it appears to be an example of two different artists coming up with the same idea independently. Finally, it is also a good reminder of the benefits of preserving evidence of creation, including inspiration. Rankin posted the original RAW files and details of shoot dates which he said evidenced that there was no copying. It is easy to say a work was created independently, it is quite another to prove it.