Posts by: A Photo Editor

Copyright Debate

- - copyright

Oh boy, a debate over copyright and fair use in the NY Times bits blog (here) between Rick Cotton, the general counsel at NBC and Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School.

RC: Fair use in the digital age is the same as fair use in the non-digital age. The fact that digital tools make it easier to use other people’s work doesn’t affect the analysis of whether that use is fair. Generally speaking, if you are making fun of, criticizing or commenting on a work (and not just reproducing or copying it), courts have found that you can use the work only to the degree necessary to make your point about that work.

[...] fair use is not a “right,” a misconception and misstatement frequently made these days. Rather it is an exception to the copyright owners’ exclusive rights to determine how their expression is used in new works.

TW: …it is time to recognize a simpler principle for fair use: work that adds to the value of the original, as opposed to substituting for the original, is fair use.

[...] We must never forget that copyright is about authorship; and secondary authors, while never as famous as the original authors, deserve some respect.

Here’s what I think, all these people, who wish for copyright reform, so they can practice their “art” will be begging for forgiveness when all the corporations get tired of trying to protect the works they paid to create and instead decide to step into the online world and stomp the living shit out of everyone by employing thousands of salaried creative people to repurpose every uncopyrighted piece of material into some entirely forgettable eyeball splitting video.

It’s beyond my comprehension why people wouldn’t want original material they created protected under copyright law. Maybe readers can show me a reuse of someone’s work that adds value to this planet?

Photography Consultant Demo

So, I’m curious how photography consultation works. I’m always giving my opinion and advice to photographers and I’d like to hear how a professional consultant handles similar situations. I’ll bet some of you would like to hear that too.

I asked Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua who runs a business called “Burns Auto Part” which is actually photo consultation not car repair (whatever, is there a difference?) to join me in a live consultation with a photographer. It’s not actually going to be “live” because that would be like watching one of those photo shoot videos… only while covered in fire ants. I’m going to reprint an edited version of the IM chat we have with the photographer selected to receive the free consultation. This will take place on the 30th.

If you’re interested leave your website in the comments. If there’s a huge group of people I’ll pick a few candidates and we can all vote to see who gets it and then I can see if other consultants will work with me on the runners-up at a later date.

Comments closed. Thanks to all those who volunteered.

Getting Your Foot in the Door

- - Getting Hired

A reader asks if it’s better to approach the Associate or Deputy Photo Editors for a book showing or for sending promos because the Director is usually too busy.

I’d say targeting the photo editors under the Director is an excellent plan of action.

I’ve always encouraged all the photo editors in the department to look at as many books as possible to develop their eye for photography so they can experience the process of discovering new talent and then hiring them for a shoot.

In many cases it was easier for me to drop in on a portfolio showing; to look at the book, grab a promo, shake the hand and get out. That’s how I saw a lot of books and photographers I normally wouldn’t have time for with all the stupid meetings I went to everyday.

Eventually, I would get lobbied by the other photo editors to hire photographers they discovered and liked and we always ended up pulling the trigger on a few to see how their discoveries worked out.

And, don’t forget the Creative Director in your promo mailings. Many times they came into my office with the promo of a photographer they were interested in—just don’t leave me out of the loop. I always like to already know who they’re talking about when they bring those in so I look like I know what the hell I’m doing “ah, yes Irving Penn and I go waaay back, I’ll IM him.”

Larry Lessig’s Free Book

- - Blog News

The Future of Ideas’ now available for free (here). Somehow he convinced Random House to allow him to give it away on his website. Sheesh, next thing you know people will be paying me to read their book.

Via Boing Boing (here).

Nick Cobbing

- - Photographers

This photo story called “Surface Tension” (see it here) by Nick Cobbing submitted on Photo Rank (here) is the kind of thing that absolutely sings off the monitor. It doesn’t hurt that Nick has the perfect interface on his website for viewing a photo story (intuitive, simple and the controls disappear off the screen or hide in the corners). I can look at photos like this all day on my computer. Way to go Nick.

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Ford Copyright Conundrum

- - Blog News

 Update: Clarification on what happened by Ford PR Department in the Comments.

Black Mustang Club members shoot pictures of their cars and make a calendar for sale on CafePress. Ford has the calender removed claiming all images are the property of ford. Stupid.

Via Adrants (here). Thanks for the tip Christopher.

A Couple Blogs I’m Reading

Thoughts of a Bohemian, first pointed out to me by Kim Taylor of 180mag.ca in the comments of a post, is written by Paul Melcher a stock industry veteran who happens to also be a bohemian, which I dig. He speaks my language as well. Here’s a good example on a post entitled “A Whale of a Story.

It is everyone’s understanding that the price of photography will continue to dip down. How soon and how fast, it is anyone’s guess. It would absolutely not surprise me if someone like Getty would take a deep plunge into bottom cheap imagery in order to get rid of any competition and clean the landscape, a bit like a whale plunges deep below to get rid of parasite fish, only to return to a new, stronger marketplace. Everyone knows that there is too much photography available, both in stock and editorial. It is time to force the medium and lesser photographers and agencies into a rapid bankruptcy in order to sanitize the offering.

Let me step back and explain: The market, currently, offers the false impression that anyone can make money in the photography field. Since it has become easy and cheap to enter, everyone and his brother is now either a photographer or a stock agent. Since there is no tangible market research on the size of our industry, $2 billion, $5 billion, $3000 billion, it is anyone guess on what the payout will be. If someone paid attention, I am sure that we would see that there has been more stock agencies of all type launched in the last five years then at anytime in its brief history. And it is only growing exponentially. More agencies, more photographers, more photographers, less relevant images. It seems that there is money to be made because of Microstocks and Flickr’s successes. And as much is there might be an increase in the number of images used in one year, there has not been an increase of revenue generated by this spike. It has been almost cancelled by the fall in pricing and Getty has been a witness to that.

The only way to really profit from that growth would be to get rid of the overflow of images. And the best way is to force as many people out of the market as possible, as quickly as possible.

A quick hit off the bottom could be exactly whats needed in this industry but I guess that depends on if you’re a whale or a parasite.

The other blog I’m checking out is called “The Business of Photography” and I discovered it over on Photo Rank (here) submitted by the author Ed McCulloch hisself. It’s sort of a “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School” for the photo school kids and seems to be born out of the frustration of an education that doesn’t teach business to photographers (ridiculous).

Anyway, there’s plenty of advice for photographers floating around but I always like it when I see someone with talent giving it out. Ed is a name I’ve been familiar with for sometime because he knows how to market himself and he’s a good photographer, definitely someone worth listening to.