Seeing Double

I love seeing Gwen Stefani on magazine covers.  She is an icon for females everyone.  She embodies a strength and boldness that is equally matched by femininity.  These characteristics are what influenced my post Style Lessons From Gwen Stefani of No Doubt a few months ago.

Doing it all can’t be easy- something Gwen addresses in her Marie Claire UK January 2013 cover interview.  As she explains a lot of it has to do with “delegating” – a powerful lesson, no doubt. (ha!)

But what really captured my attention when it came to this article was the actual cover shot.  Of course Gwen looks great— but that wasn’t it.  I have seen this photo before.  In fact, I’ve seen it more than once!  This was the cover of both Elle Serbia and Elle Vietnam from June 2011.  However, neither of those covers were the original source either…

This Dusan Reljin photograph was part of the Elle US May 2011 spread Gold Dust Women, which honored “the women in music sounding off in 2011.”

This isn’t the first example of magazines reusing photos from other publications.  In fact it is a pretty common practice.  Though, it did get me thinking about the practice.

At what point does it become too much?

I understand that it may be challenging for the editorial team of Elle Vietnam or another smaller title to get the photographs they want/need.  And let’s be honest, as a blogger I often talk about photos that appear other places first (although, I would argue that this is slightly different, given that the inclusion of these photos are often commentary on the original source— much like this post!).  But should a title like Marie Claire UK be reusing a photo from an article in Elle US?

Who knows, maybe Gwen had planned to do a cover shoot, but had to pull out because of her insanely busy schedule.  However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this occur and it probably won’t be the last.

And I for one can’t help but feel a little cheated.  But then again that may be my own insatiable love of a great photo shoot…


So tell me, what do you think of the reuse of photos over and over again in different magazines?  When is it acceptable?  Is it ever?


  1. Of course it is. This is business and they have a right to do whatever they want. It’s economical and smart, and I think this blog pots is a bit presumptuous. Who are you (or anyone) to make demands on a business, especially when you don’t know the inner workings of the business?

    • Alexis Grace says:

      I really appreciate your opinion. Frankly, if you read my post you will see I am just asking questions- personally I can make arguments either way.
      As for “who am I to make demands?” — I am a patron, a source of income for a business, and by choosing whether or not to spend my money on their product I directly impact that business. That is the basis of a market driven society. Businesses rely (of course not singularly) on my purchasing/using their products in order for them to stay in business.
      So, in this case if I deem the reuse of photos unacceptable (and everyone else does as well), then the business will suffer.

      Again- I am not saying that it is unacceptable! I am simply posing the question.

    • Never mind us! Silly consumers, Always complaining about this and that. We should just shut it and accept mediocracy. Right?
      Except we don’t, and then the print industry faces hardships because less people buy the product. Alexis isn’t being presumptuous. She’s a customer, unhappy with a magazine for a good reason, bringing the issue to her readers attention. She has a good point, and we have every right to discuss it.

  2. It’s a great photo, I’m uncertain if it bothers me too much, I don’t seem to mind it. Although, it would have been nice to see another image of her, especially for a different mag cover. I agree with you … hhm, you would think that they would have had another few great images that they liked as well. :)

  3. She’s gorgeous, fierce and successful. A real role model for girls and women alike!

    Yamari (@yourgotogal)

  4. Also.. having worked in the mag industry myself I can see from a budget standpoint why this works. They’re lucky they picked a picture in which she’s dressed in a very timeless outfit otherwise it wouldn’t have work.

    Yamari (@yourgotogal)

  5. The practice of reusing photo shoots is pretty common in the case of smaller magazines in a franchise. I understand the cost issues, as it’s cheaper to use a previously published photo shoot than produce a new one, but especially if it’s the case of Elle Romania, let’s say. I didn’t quite realise that big magazines like Marie Claire UK does it too. It’s enough that we see the same designer clothes on ‘n’ magazine covers in a season, but to buy a few big name magazines and find the same editorial in them, I might have a problem with that, yes.

  6. Why oh why would they use and reuse the same image of Gwen Stefani!? She is an incredibly beautiful woman with some kick ass fashion sense and this industry is doing her, her fans, admirers, and general fashion lovers everywhere such an injustice by reusing images. It’s a shame, really.

  7. I’m not big on re-using photos for cover shots, but if it had to be someone, then I’m glad Gwen got the extra play–I’m a huge fan, partially because she DOES do it all!

    xo Mary Jo

  8. With the magazine serving different markets it makes sense and doesn’t bother me. The average magazine buyer isn’t going to notice. Now if both magazines were available in the same market I think that would definitely be a business mistake.

  9. As a consumer, I don’t like seeing the photos over and over, but hey,… I guess they don’t care what we think.

  10. I love Gwen! Thank you for entering my giveaway! I am following you back on fb!

  11. Not a fan of reusing photos, especially for covers of magazines. However, with a shot, like the one above of Gwen Stefani, I can see why they have reused and reused it! It is a gorgeous shot of the No Doubt singer!!

  12. Pretty awesome that you recognized where it came from though 😉

  13. Gwen and I are the same age, so I kind of feel like anything she can pull of fashion wise I can probably pull off too, and I do love her style. She is beautiful in a rather unorthodox way, which I love. And what a figure! As for the photo I’m surprised a big publication like Marie Claire would use an old image. I didn’t realize this was an issue, but now that I know I’ll be sure to notice. Here’s the thing for me, as much as I like Gwen I don’t like seeing celebrities on the cover of fashion magazines. A model can show off the newest looks, bit the celebrity is always pushing her own career, agenda, whatever. (Not in a bad way necessarily) by using an old photo the fashion mag has chosen celebrity news over fashion news, which makes it much less of a fashion magazine.

  14. I would be annoyed a bit to be honest. Once a Greek magazine used a photo with a Spring 2011 Prada dress (the striped one) on a cover or March 2012 (that’s a whooole year apart) and of cource I found it annoying! I wrote them an email but never replied.

  15. I’m not a fan of magazine reusing photos, though if it is a small magazine with limited staff, I can see why they would do it.

  16. I love Gwen Stefani! She’s always so classy and I think she’d be like an awesome best friend.
    Shasie of Live Life in Style
    Enter my Jewelry Giveaway

  17. THE-LOUDMOUTH says:

    I think it depends on the situation. Is it a smaller magazine with a low budget that can’t afford a new photoshoot? I’d say it’s acceptable in that case. But Marie Claire is HUGE. I don’t think they have a good excuse.

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