Each photographer is different for a reason, as each human being is different. We are all unique, and that is one of out selling points. That one does not entirely think the same way someone else does. Which is why each photographer has something unique to offer. However, things change when your assistant decides he/she wants to be you, and starts acting as a Horse. And that can honestly break your entire career.
As a fashion photographer it is at times hard to work without an assistant, as there is so much to do. You cannot simply go back and forth after each shot. So you hire an assistant to help you, and you hope to teach them enough to help them develop their own set of skills. However, things get ugly when they decide they want to be you, not just like you, exactly you. Yes, this is crazy on another level, but as they see your success and lifestyle, it is easy for them to wish they had your life.
It can pan out in different ways, but in the end you are at a loss, as it’s not just the business that took a hit, it’s your trust level.
To help you get a complete grasp on the matter, let me explain what a Trojan Horse is. According to Greek Mythology a Trojan Horse is a person who secretly wishes to bring your downfall, so they can take over what is yours. And that is exactly what a Trojan Horse assistant does. They slowly start to take on more responsibility, and you let them in hopes of teaching them something that will help them develop their career. However, their secret motive is to take over your business rather than building their own clients.
I have been through such an experience, which is why I would like to warn others. As you might trust your assistant with everything, and show them exactly how the business runs. And you might wake up one day and find out that your entire working system has been taken over. Or you might get a call from a client, telling you that your Trojan horse assistant is asking them to hire him instead. It can pan out in different ways, but in the end you are at a loss, as it’s not just the business that took a hit, it’s your trust levels.
As when you take on someone as an assistant, and teach them, you do not expect them to pull such a thing on you. It would be the last thing you might have imagined, but it does happen. However, as I said in the beginning of the article that each human being is different, and unique they possess a unique ability. My unique abilities allow me to produce the images I do, and someone else’s images will be different, no matter how much they try to replicate my style. So instead of wasting your time trying to replicate someone else’s work, you should use that time to develop your own technique and skills, so you can make a name for yourself.