An artist named Arabella Dorman is profiled here. She claimed to be embedded in Iraq, where she paints soldiers and faces firefights. This 2009 article claims her war paintings were exhibited in London.
Did Ms. Dorman ever go to Iraq to meet these soldiers? We don’t know.
But we know Michael Yon, an independent journalist, did. Mr Yon took the original photographs that Ms. Dorman incorporated into her paintings. We’re not talking a little swipe here and there, we’re talking wholesale appropriation constituting the major element of a final work.
Ms. Dorman’s sketch.
Michael Yon’s original photo:
Take a close look at the two center figures.
Ms Dorman’s work:
Taken from the figure second from the right.
Another of Ms. Dorman’s works:
She’s standing in front of a piece copied from Mr. Yon’s photo.
Have a closer look at those war weary boys from Mr. Yon’s photo, both used in Ms Dorman’s paintings.
Ms. Dorman’s narrative, which she used to sell these pieces, clearly promotes her as an artist who spent time with these soldiers, and her work’s merit was based on that context. Prints of her work are for sale on her website for $200 and up.
At the Ministry of Defence website, the sketch from Mr Yon’s photo is displayed, along with the claim that the model sat for Ms Dorman.
If she did go to Iraq, there is absolutely no reason she needs to be plagiarizing the work of a photojournalist for her reference sources.
I’ll refrain from comment on the quality of Ms Dorman’s works. Except to suggest the Ministry of Defense might do better to hire some cartoonists I’d be happy to point out to them, if they want quality portraiture and lively visual narratives.
This whole thing leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.
These photos are © Michael Yon and used for purposes of commentary. Mr Yon’s FB page is here.