Recreations of Famous Photos Sweep the Internet (Kind Of)

A photo "inspired by William Eggleston's Guide," seen in the Alec Soth Flickr Project pool on Flickr. Taken by Dennis Stewart.Dennis Stewart

Trying to re-create a famous photo and putting it online to me kind of seems like the photographic equivalent of planking: it might only be worth a quick glance, it only exists to be seen on the internet, and it's all a bit of a show. But a couple of notable websites have started up group challenges where users can submit images that either take inspiration from, or try to outright copy famous images from photography's history.

A challenge set up by the blog Booooooom encompasses all forms of art, but Alec Soth has launched a photography-only challenge for Flickr users in conjunction with his upcoming exhibit, "From Here To There," at Minneapolis' Walker Art Center. The three winners will receive a signed copy of the exhibition catalog.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Soth says that he felt "burned out" by serious art work. "So I started experimenting. I made little videos and used disposable cameras. I played." Clearly, the photographic remakes also fall under this category. So while remakes may not the most serious photography out there, they're unlikely to cause as much harm as real-life planking.

Dan Abbe is a writer and photographer working in Tokyo. He writes a blog about Japanese photography, Street Level Japan. On Twitter he's @d_abbe.