Posts by: A Photo Editor
Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing fame has a story in the Guardian (here) yesterday about distinguishing between cultural and commercial uses of copyrighted material. He makes a good case for creating an exception in the law for low end cultural use of copyrighted material, stuff that goes on everyday that’s tolerated by everyone because there’s really no benefit to going after violators. Of course, this would never be a problem if we didn’t have the internet to distribute all this material to millions of people.
Through most of copyright’s history, we had two de facto systems: industrial regulation (governing what big companies did with each others’ stuff) and folk-copyright (the rules of thumb that most of us understood to be true).
[...] We need to stop shoe-horning cultural use into the little carve-outs in copyright, such as fair dealing and fair use. Instead we need to establish a new copyright regime that reflects the age-old normative consensus about what’s fair and what isn’t at the small-scale, hand-to-hand end of copying, display, performance and adaptation.
This makes sense to me for a couple very important reasons. Your average citizen doesn’t understand or care about copyright and when an overhaul comes in the form of either a vote or some type of legislation we’re going to have a hard time convincing people that they shouldn’t do what they’ve always done. Also, giving up low end fan violations will prevent the erosion of fair use and keep other less desirable uses from getting in that door.
It’s worth noting, then, that early in the history of photography a series of judicial decisions could well have changed the course of that art: courts were asked whether the photographer, amateur or professional, required permission before he could capture and print an image. Was the photographer stealing from the person or building whose photograph he shot, pirating something of private and certifiable value? Those early decisions went in favor of the pirates. Just as Walt Disney could take inspiration from Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr., the Brothers Grimm, or the existence of real mice, the photographer should be free to capture an image without compensating the source. The world that meets our eye through the lens of a camera was judged to be, with minor exceptions, a sort of public commons, where a cat may look at a king.
[...] A time is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted. The character of an era hangs upon what needs no defense. In this regard, few of us question the contemporary construction of copyright. It is taken as a law, both in the sense of a universally recognizable moral absolute, like the law against murder, and as naturally inherent in our world, like the law of gravity. In fact, it is neither. Rather, copyright is an ongoing social negotiation, tenuously forged, endlessly revised, and imperfect in its every incarnation.
The bottom line here is that it’s not going to be long before we see either legislation or a court ruling and photographers need to do whatever they can to achieve the best possible outcome.
So, the other day I cranked through 145 websites in about 3 hours for the consultation demo and then I had a conversation with a magazine art director friend about how we look at photographers websites in obviously different ways (design vs. photo) and I realized something: Design and layout has a powerful effect on me. Right off the bat, before I even look at the first picture, the design is working on my brain.
So, here’s the nut, I’ve looked at tens-of-thousands of websites and it’s very apparent that certain photographers (of a similar feather) hang together. If you’ve got a Travel & Leisure design happening like so many of the photographers that T&L assigns then I’m already putting you into that category. Take it one step further, if I’m the Photography Director at T&L I’m used to seeing photography surrounded by a specific type of design so if the photographs you present me already look like they belong in my magazine… voila, one hurdle down 99 to go.
Either that or the Arizona sun has completely baked my brain. Either way it’s all good.
Next month sees an exhibition of 150 of Vanity Fair’s defining images open at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
If Hollywood is a dream factory, then this magazine is its ethereal brochure.
[Vanity Fair editor] Graydon [Carter] commands a serious loyalty and that filters down to the photo department. They are so down to earth and straightforward.
To all intents and purposes, Vanity Fair is not just a window on the dream, it is the dream.
Via, The Independent (here). Thanks John.
I just barfed on my shoes.
… heads to Colorado (here). Sounds familiar.
Good luck Gallery Hopper.
Update: This Qtrax announcement appears to be a hoax (here).
… are photos next? TechCrunch is reporting on a new free and legal P2P downloading service (here) with 25 million songs (itunes has 6 million). It’s called Qtrax and they’ve signed all 4 of the major music labels to somehow allow free music sharing in exchange for advertising (They missed their intended launch time of midnight last night so there may be problems with the labels).
A quick read through the comments and it looks like there will be ads playing before or after the music… not unlike how radio works. Will the same eventually happen to photography where photos download with ads loaded around them just like in newspapers and magazines?
I know Mochila, Jamd (Getty), Britepic, PicApp, and others are experimenting with this idea but I’m almost certain it benefits the advertisers, distributors and not the content creators so that will certainly limit the quality of material available.
I’ve got no problem looking at ads or paying a fee to receive content but I refuse to believe that the future of content distribution will be the same as it is now with middlemen controlling everything and consumers paying them for access. Why wouldn’t the more efficient model where content creators reach the consumers directly become the eventual solution?
Joerg Colberg of Conscientious is offering very inexpensive portfolio reviews (here). I actually can’t believe how cheap they are ($75) and I’d grab one before the price goes up. Who wouldn’t want a review from someone who’s spent the last 5 years cataloging the finest photography on the planet? Hell, I’d throw 75 bucks down a well if I thought it would make me a better photographer.
NY Times Story (here).
Via, the Jackanory (here).
Thanks to all the voters and no thanks to my lousy server for timing out many times during the crush. It certainly was informative and entertaining for me to watch the lobbying; a few of the participants harnessed the power of social networking, a few posted notices on their blogs and a few sent out emails soliciting votes.
I’m excited for the consultation because I think Clay’s work is strong but I’m confident that Leslie can make it more appealing to buyers and I think we will all gain valuable insight into the process and glean a few tips off the improvements.
I’m open to ideas about what to do with the other participants and I liked Robert’s suggestion in the comments that collectively we could give some pretty good advice. I wouldn’t mind making that a weekly feature and open it up to more readers, only with more of a random selection process instead.
Next week I’ll post the consultation.
Poll Closed, Thanks for voting.
I spent 3 hours ripping through and narrowing down the websites submitted for the photo consultation demo (read about it here) but instead of just picking a winner I decided to put it to a vote. As unscientific and ugly as a photographer popularity contest probably sounds to everyone it’s no better than me just choosing one from the 16 finalists (plus, I’m on a mission to test every blog add-on feature I can find).
This is a very strong group of photographers which in my mind will make the consultation even better for everyone. The advice given will be at a fairly high level so everyone from beginning to emerging photographers can get a little something out of it.
In an ideal world people would vote for photographers that have as much in common with their own style as possible so they can learn more, but this is the internet so let the popularity contest begin:
David Degner- Reportage, Photojournalism
Clay Stang- Commercial, Staged
Brady Fontenot- Environmental Portraits, Hip
Nick Onken- Lifestyle
Jose Mandojana- Environmental Portraits, Athletes
Robert Wright- Environmental Portraits, Modern Urban
Jeff Singer- Environmental and Studio Portraits
Noah Kalina- Hip and Cool, Surreal
Melissa Catanese- Modern Landscape, Fine Art
Kathy Quirk-Syvertsen- Lifestyle, Kids
Andrew Pinkham- Conceptual, Illustration
Jennifer Loeber- Environmental Portraits, Americana, Fine Art
Dustin Fenstermacher- Quirk, Modern Americana
Lisa Wyatt- Environmental Portrait, Lifestyle, Kids
William Brinson- Food, Travel, Still-Life
Whit Richardson- Adventure, Action
Any freelance photo editors or people looking to find freelancers here’s your resource. I’ve used them many times and you’d be astonished at the high level of talent they have on their mailing list. Over 400 freelancers.
Note: This service is for Photo Editors to find Freelance Photo Editors and researchers. Sorry if there’s any confusion Photographers.
Picture Jobs Network
He sometimes advises young photographers, “If you want to be a photographer, you have to photograph. If you look at the photographers whose work we admire, they’ve found a particular place or a subject, dug deep into it, and carved out something that’s become special. And that takes a lot of time and a lot of work – that’s not for everyone.”
Via, PDN (here)
Michael Lewis has been on my list of photographers for a long time (He must be on everyone’s list because I see his credit all over the place). Click on the list to see proof.
He’s hard working, low maintenance, subjects enjoy him and he has a distinct style I can rely on. I posed 5 question I thought you might like to hear the answer to:
1. I really enjoy the email promos you send out from recent photoshoots that show you in the scene you’ve just shot sometimes standing next to celebrities. How did you get started with that and what has the response been?
It started as a way of collecting an ‘autograph’ from the celebrity shoots I did. Instead of a signature, or a picture of me simply standing next to who I was photographing; I decided it would be fun if I incorporated myself into the shot which I had composed. Soon, I wanted a souvenir from all the places I found myself, and all the people I was meeting in my shoots; so every shoot became fair game.
The reaction has been terrific! People seem to dig it. It has provided me a way to give my friends (both in, and out of the business) a chuckle, while keeping everyone up-to-date on my photo-excursions.
2. I’m sure it wasn’t a “eureka” moment but can you describe the chain of events lead to you becoming a top editorial photographer?
Dad bought a Nikon camera while in Vietnam (while my mom was pregnant with me) >
I was always into ‘arts and crafts’ >
Started college >
Parents sat me down; asked me some big ‘life’ questions >
Transferred to art school :>
Dad gave me that old nikon >
Found photography came very naturally to me >
Assisted in Philadelphia >
Grad school (MFA) >
Was selected to be in a book ’25 and Under’ >
Doors opened >
I kept my foot lodged so that those doors didn’t close >
Always treated every shoot as if it was the most important photograph I was ever to take.
3. In my mind you have a very unique style of photography so, your name is on the top of my list of environmental portraitists who can make pictures with a lot of depth and a bit of humor in them. How did you arrive at this style?
Coming from a fine art background; my interests were in what a picture suggests and the tone that they convey. I studied photography as a means of personal expression; and less as a way of documenting. With an interest in narrative film and mise-en-scene,I didn’t see photography from the journalistic philosophy. Instead, I felt it was tool to construct and suggest reality; rather than a commitment to capture it. When I began being commissioned to photograph people whom I had never met; I always handled my subjects as equals. I photograph celebrities, ‘real’ people, and myself all with the same eye.
4. Are there any career choices you that you either regret or turned out to be the best decision you ever made?
I still wonder if leaving LA (where i got started commercially) and moving to New York City helped, or hindered, my career.
5. If you were an insect what kind would you be and why?
A king bee.
it’s good to be king.
Here’s a Recent Promo.
These are from his Website.
This comes from James Danzinger’s blog The Year In Pictures (here).
Tonight marks the opening of The Sartorialist’s exhibition at Danziger Projects. (6 – 8 pm. 521 West 26th Street.) All are welcome.
The idea for the show began when I landed on The Sartorialist’s blog for the first time this past July and was wowed by the quality of his pictures. Here was a highly accomplished photographer with a uniquely personal point of view taking pictures digitally and then posting them on his blog. There was no connection to the art world evident – but I felt that here was the first real fine art photographer of the digital age.
“First real fine art photographer of the digital age” is a pretty big statement to make but I can certainly get behind someone who takes decent pictures but has excellent taste in subjects and has created a very narrow body of work.
VII adds a handful of of new photographers (here) who are not members but associated and distributed by the agency calling them “network photographers.” I’d say that’s a pretty awesome association to be in. Three of my favorite PJ’s were added: Ben Lowy, Stephanie Sinclair and Balazs Gardi.
Via, PDN Newswire (here).