Posts which are either about or contain photography (by me or others). Incidentally, if you’re interested, I regularly post photos to Flickr.
Jan 10, 2010 29
Every now and again, something happens which reminds you that the internet isn’t the respectful, creative, collaborative place that we rather naively hope it is, but is actually infested with people who seek to exploit, destroy and undermine the work of others.
It’s not that surprising, unfortunately, but it is a bit disappointing.
Take my 2006 camphone photo taken on the tube, of a girl reading a book:
Or rather, don’t take it. Admire it. Link to it. Comment on it. Favourite it. Tell me you like it, you value my work, you think it’s funny/clever/well-composed if you like, but don’t take it and pass it off as your own work.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen this (hasty and rather crap resolution due to being taken with a camphone) shot being included in emailed & blogged collections of “great trick photography photos” and the like. Here are just a few of the places it’s been spotted over the years. Without exception in these circumstances, the image is used without permission, with no credit or link to me (therefore falling foul of Flickr’s terms of service as well as my wishes as the creator of the work). Sometimes it even appears with someone else’s watermarked copyright notice on it, which I think is a bit fucking rich, to be honest.
This evening, it happened again. It was brought to my attention by a friend that a “photographer” – Rob Jarvis was passing off the Geisha image as his own on his site (which seems to be hosted on Facebook.
Here’s the email I sent him via Flickr:
Hi Rob Jarvis
I got your link from a friend, who recommended I check out your photos of people, via robjarvis.co.uk.
I’m very impressed with the quality and diversity of the images in that gallery. Such excellent pictures.
However, it’s a shame that they’re not your work – in fact, one of them is mine, which you appear to be claiming as your own, and accepting kudos and compliments on.
This one: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=796237&id=26284825698#/photo.php?pid=796224&id=26284825698&fbid=27063715698 [note: since removed, mysteriously] on your site, is actually my photo, taken in 2006 and originally posted here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meg/216773377/
And this one: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=796237&id=26284825698 [note: also vanished] is originally by Ed Scoble and findable on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edscoble/454167410/
How many other images in that gallery – and your entire site – are actually stolen from others? Taking others images and passing them off as your own work by putting them on your site with no disclaimer or credit, and stamped with your own copyright notice, is extremely irritating and demonstrates a total lack of respect for other photographers’ work.
I want you to remove the image from your site immediately and replace it with a public apology, explaining that the image was taken without permission from another photographer, and providing details of where people can see the original. That’s the very least you can do, considering the circumstances. I expect others you have infringed will ask you to do the same.
Whether he got this message or otherwise had a coincidental and sudden change of heart I don’t know, but the two images I mentioned above have been taken down from his site now. Many others remain.
UPDATE: see end of post
Now, I’m not seeking to make money from this image, and nor am I particularly ferocious about traditional copyright. In fact, I’m a big believer in the power of creative commons licenses which offer a variety of ways for individuals to assert specific rights, while making content available to be used, remixed, shared and so on, in accordance with their specific wishes.
But this Geisha experience over the last three and a half years, (and it’s not the first time someone’s ripped off my work as their own) makes me want to pull all my content off the internet entirely and never share or publish again. It’s certainly enough to make me restrict who can see larger sizes or download my photos on Flickr.
Ironically, the fact that some people are unable to respect other people’s creative work makes me become more closed and black and white and less likely to share things using creative commons licenses. After all, if people can’t be trusted to understand “simple” copyright, what hope have we got of getting them to understand a more complex (albeit more flexible and open) license?
It’s a shame that this is the result.
I wish we could encourage people to praise, link to and credit each others work when they share it.
I wish it was as cool to be a curator as a creator of things.
I’d like people to think it was enough to introduce others to things they like or have found (I find Tumblr is particularly good for this), and not have to pretend it was their own work. Perhaps then we’d see a bit more respect for origin, and more people would be inspired to create and share.
UPDATE 11 January 2010
Rob replied to my Flickr message this morning, saying simply “never claimed to be mine, its now removed.”
When I tried to reply to thank him for removing it, I discovered that he has blocked me so I can’t send him messages.
Rob, if you’re reading this: Thanks for removing it from your collection, though with respect, you had your copyright notice on it, and were publishing it on your site, and accepting comments and plaudits on it. That looks a lot like you were taking credit for it. Nevertheless, thanks for removing it.
Rob has apologised in the comments below. The specific issue is resolved (thank you), so let’s not dwell on Rob or his particular actions any longer. Apology accepted. Let’s move on.
However, the general point about providing appropriate credit for curated work and being sensitive to other people’s usage wishes, remains. This is perhaps amplified by Piers’ rather surprising comment (also below). He states:
If you don’t want your work copied, you shouldn’t put it online. It’s that simple and it’s up to you not everyone else.
If that is indeed the case (and I don’t believe it is), then how utterly miserable and misanthropic the world must seem.
Oct 29, 2009 Comments Off
Oct 28, 2009 Comments Off
Part of the brilliance of a photographic observation game like noticin.gs (which I wrote about the other day in the context of synchronicity and gaming) is that – as the name implies – it encourages you to be observant and notice things when you’re out and about in the context of your everyday life.
Paul Mison wrote about noticin.gs recently saying that it’s “helping [him] to look around” and that’s absolutely the same feeling I have.
I’ve got a long history of capturing random spotted/found/noticed things and moments from my commute and daily wanderings, stretching back many years – and not just photographically, either. Sometimes with the camera, sometimes with words, sometimes just by making a mental note – it’s the habit of receptiveness to the world around that’s interesting.
This relates to something else I wrote a while back about super-noticing:
Super-noticing is something which happens a lot if you’re trained to be receptive and observant, but also if you’re thinking about a particular thing.
This in turn relates to another earlier post about the ethnographic discipline of pattern recognition:
Part of the toolkit of ethnography and anthropology in general is observing patterns. This could be patterns in behaviour, appearance, ritual, language or otherwise. The anthropologist’s job is to spot the patterns and try to understand what (if any) significance they have, especially in relation to social or cultural environment, or other prevailing conditions.
The discipline of noticing stuff is part of what makes receptiveness and observation useful in life, as well as in anthrolopology and social gaming. But it’s good to have a particular outlet (or should that be inlet?) for the activity. As I wrote in the super-noticing post,
“Flickr is great for developing a discipline around noticing, too, and Flickr groups in particular – if your eye is receptive, then every journey out into the world can be filled with potential squared circles and little fellas and malapostrophication and more.”
Well, noticin.gs turns that hyper-receptiveness up to 11, but inverts it – it’s not about seeing the patterns so much as the anomalies – the things you spot which shouldn’t be there, or stand out, or catch the attention because they don’t belong, or are otherwise notable. Noticeable. Noted.
Once you start playing noticin.gs, it’s very difficult to stop noticing things. Above and below are just a few of the things I’ve noticed while out and about, captured with my phonecam, and filed to noticin.gs.
Sep 22, 2009 Comments Off
Aug 19, 2009 2
Oops. It all went a bit quiet there for a while, while I was on holiday. Sorry.
We went to San Francisco to visit my lovely sister and brother outlaw, and spent a lovely week and a bit wandering around the city; meeting up for food and banter with various friends; watching unexpected 1940s-themed burlesque in a jazz bar in Haight Ashbury; exploring Golden Gate Park and Noe Valley and the Mission and Japantown and other areas both new and familiar; drinking margaritas the size of our heads and summer ales from local breweries; going to the baseball; clothes and art and sushi rolling equipment shopping; watching lovely movies (Up in 3D a particular highlight); picnicking in Napa valley (the wines (and views!) at Artesa are phenomenal, especially the Meritage, and I highly recommend the deli at V.Sattui) plus a night in Sausalito (nested holidays rock) and more pleasant pootling around the Bay area (eating at In’n'Out – I had my burger animal style, natch, but don’t ask how many calories are in the chocolate shake) and playing minigolf in the blazing sunshine.
Speaking of sunshine, everyone we spoke to before we went said in dubious tones “San Francisco in August? Better pack your thermals” and “don’t forget to bring a jacket” and “well, you can forget the sunglasses”
So we did.
And then we got there, and it was balmy and beautifully sunny every day and we ended up having to go shopping for more summery clothes (me) and sandals & sunglasses (P) plus silly hats to wear at the baseball (both, but you’ll never see the photos) and sunscreen. Phew!
Now, I’ll accept that we were staying on the traditionally “sunny” side of the city, but even our local resident experts had told us it was pretty chilly, and that the fog belt was heavy every afternoon. But the reputation for fog and summer chills wasn’t fulfilled in the slightest.
So it came as something of a relief when, on our last afternoon, we drove up to Sutro Heights for a picnic on our way to the airport for our flight home, and discovered the whole of Ocean Beach wraithed in white fluffy stuff. So that’s where they’d been hiding it all week.
Some photos here – more to come when I’ve recovered from jetlag a bit.
Anyway, I’m back. What did I miss?
Jul 23, 2009 1
Jun 17, 2009 2
A friend shared a link to the Freaking News celebrity photoshop contest with me the other day, and in case you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look. Basically, people have taken images of celebrities and then rotated their bodies while leaving their faces in place. It’s a little difficult to explain, but have a look at the examples in that link and you’ll get the idea.
Of course, everyone looks a bit weird, but the truly worrying thing is that some celebrities – Dennis Rodman, Elton John – actually look pretty good (or at least naturalish) with their faces on upside-down, if you can cast aside any lingering questions about what freakish accident might have caused them to end up thus afflicted.
So of course I had to have a go myself.
Aside from realising that it makes many of my male friends look like crazed Amish (above), or have heads that eerily work both ways up (below), I also discovered that even for a photoshop doofus like me, it only takes 5-10 minutes to do a passable version, and another 10 or so to polish it if you really must have it completely realistic (well, as realistic as a person with their face on upside-down can do, at least).
And here’s how you do it…
Read the rest of this entry »
Jun 3, 2009 4
Sometimes, there’s more beauty (or at least aesthetic interest) in removed or partially removed things than in what was there before.
This seems especially true with advertising.
They’re doing lots of restoration work in the bowels of King’s Cross tube station at the moment. These former advertising posters can be found in the entry/egress tunnels from the Victoria line platforms.
More after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »
Apr 3, 2009 1
Just spotted this little fella in the office emergency staircase:
He appears to be related to this little fella:
Who was spotted a few years ago on the staircase of the old derelict Midland Grand hotel over St Pancras station, just down the road.
I wonder if he survived the multi-million-pound facelift the hotel/station/area is undergoing at the moment?
BTW, there’s a whole load of Flickr groups dedicated to spotting faces in everyday things, including hello little fella, found faces and pareidolia (from the group description: “Pareidolia is when a vague or random image is perceived as recognizable. This group is for those pictures that look just like real life objects, but it’s all in your head.”)
Mar 29, 2009 3
Following up from the post I wrote a few weeks ago about how to squeeze decent photos out of an iphone, I wanted to share a few pics I’ve taken over the past few weeks using the same principals (more or less) but using the ultra-cheap and rubbish Vivitar Ultra-Wide & Slim camera, which I’ve started carrying with me everywhere, as well as the iPhone, mostly because it’s one less thing that craves batteries, but also because there’s a bit of me that likes the rather retro feeling of having to wait to see the results. How quickly we forget…
Anyway, I’m particularly chuffed with this latest batch, and I’ve got another film being developed at the moment, so more to come.
More after the jump…