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Published on Sep 22, 2012
On July 28, 2012, from 5 - 8 PM Eric Doeringer held a photography workshop at Printed Matter in New York City. There he invited the public to join him in "re-photographing" a Richard Prince's famed "Cowboys".
Armed with a camera, tripod, and cork board, Doeringer asked participants to question notions of authorship and copyright as they make their versions of the work. Adding another layer of complexity to the photographs Sam Abell said had "very curious lives."
Very curious lives indeed. In a 1940s Life Magazine advertising campaign photographer, Leonard McCombe planted a seed of inspirations that would germinate with creative director Leo Burnett in 1954 as he directed photographer, Sam Abell in the now iconic campaign The Marlboro Man.
The Marlboro Man would go on to capture Richard Prince's attention in 1980 as he began taking pictures. He would crop the images to eliminate all advertising copy, and enlarge the photographs, transforming commercial photography into fine art, and ultimately converting a sales pitch into a romanticized narrative.
Eric Doeringer created his 2011 rendition of the Cowboys by obtaining vintage magazines with the same advertisements that were used by Prince. Then, much like Prince, he photographs the image, cropping and printing the pictures at the same scale as the originals.
The subjects of both Prince and Doeringers' "re-photographs" are not their own. They are absolute unauthorized copies. But they beg the questions, who's unauthorized copy?