Plagiarism of 19-S photos by Daniel Aguilar
Aguilar could see that his images had been signed by “Sol Lara,” and they both had a small sign that read “sold" - Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Aguilar

Plagiarism of 19-S photos by Daniel Aguilar

05/09/2018
18:50
Montserrat Peralta
Mexico City
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An impostor called "Sol Lara" sold two plagiarized photos by Daniel Aguilar at an expo in Mexico City

Mexican photographer Daniel Aguilar captured the aftermath of an earthquake that shook central Mexico on September 19 last year. The natural disaster caused the loss of human lives as well as buildings in Mexico City and the states of Chiapas, Morelos, and Oaxaca.

A few days ago, less than a month before the tragedy’s anniversary, Aguilar attended a photography expo on the subject of the earthquake at Mexico City’s Museum of Memory and Tolerance. Upon exiting the event’s premises he realized that two of his photographs had been put on display at a different event organized by the Mexico Strength Trust Fund, which was created to raise money for reconstructions.

“I was coming out and suddenly, I turned and saw a series of photos (from a different exhibition) and… what a surprise! I saw my photos there,” stated Aguilar, who has won several famous awards such as the World Press Photo, the International King of Spain Award, and the National Journalism Prize.

After approaching the pictures, Aguilar could see that his images had been signed by “Sol Lara,” and they both had a small sign that read “sold.”

One of the images that he claims were plagiarized shows a rescuer from the back, with a clenched fist held up high. The photo had become a vital symbol during the rescue missions last year. Rescuers started holding their fists up high whenever they heard a survivor under the rubble so that people around them would keep quiet.

The second photo portrays an agent of civil protection holding a mallet in company of his dog. They both stand in the middle of a collapsed building. The image was part of a series that was published by EL UNIVERSAL on September 27, 2017. It was also featured in Carlos Loret de Mola’s internet portal.

Daniel Aguilar arrived home and searched for further information online. He found that the Mexico Strength Trust Fund had called for photographers to participate with images meant to raise funds for reconstruction projects. The pictures were even put on display at Zona Maco, one of the most important photo galleries in Mexico City.

In his Facebook account, the photographer posted: “Plagiarism. Last night I found out that two of my photos from the Mexico City earthquake of September 19, 2017 had been stolen. A person that calls herself “Sol Lara” downloaded said images from the internet and sent them to a photography competition held by a Trust Fund, in which she obtained a recognition and MY pictures were sold. SHAME.”

Both the Trust Fund and Zona Maco Photo Gallery publicly apologized for the misunderstanding, offering their support to the artist. Since the pictures were copyrighted works, the photographer is likely to proceed legally against the perpetrator.
 

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