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Is Photographic Imitation the Highest Form of Flattery or Just Shady Poaching?

As photographers, we frequently find ourselves shoulder to shoulder with another photographer focusing on the same subject, but what if that subject is the other photographer’s model? Is it ok to stand close enough to take the same or similar shot, or is that cheating, or worse, theft? Just how much photographic imitation is ok? A member of a local photography Facebook group I belong to recently posed this question. A heated discussion inevitably ensued.