Thursday, May 21, 2009

What do you think?

I'm really interested to hear what other artists (and non-artists too) think about this:

The following has happened a couple of times in the last few months. I've taken pictures while hanging out with other people. Because I know that I'm really slow about posting pictures (they sometimes sit on my camera for months and months), I've just given people the photos directly--transferred them from my camera to their computers.

Then (this is the problem part) they've posted the pictures to Flickr, Facebook, etc. They are not jerks deliberately taking credit for my work. These are awesome friends who are excited about showing other people the fun stuff we did together, which is great! And the photos, for the most part, are not artsy, they are vacation-type photos.

But some of the photos were taken with some amount of artistic intent. As an artist, it is important to me that I get credit for my work. My success depends on people recognizing my abilities, so when my work is out in the world and people are appreciating it, I want them to appreciate the fact that I made it.

In my mind, the proper thing for these people to do is ask me if it's ok to post the photos, then give me credit. When I want to use someone's photos, I ask permission then add a tag, copyright statement, etc. If I can, I link to their website. I benefit from the images, they benefit from the publicity.

So maybe I just need to be more clear about my expectations when I share photos with friends--ask people to give me credit if they post the photos online. Or maybe I need to be more on-the-ball about posting them myself and not hand over the files at all. By giving people a batch of files, am I implicitly giving them the right to do whatever they want with the images? Is this just an unavoidable part of digital photography and social software?

I'd like to know if anyone else has had a similar experience and if you have any thoughts about it.

1 comment:

  1. Important word that you used in the second paragraph is "give". When I take snapshots of friends and I post up the stuff, I expect it will be used by whomever with no stipulations. It's not art, they're just snapshots. If I have deemed my snashot as art then I will probably not post it up in a public forum with free access. I have some of my concert shot on a local singers webpage. She credit them as mine, but they are easily right clicked. I have seen my photos used as avatars, etc....but I was able to have a couple of people ask if they could buy my work from this exposure. I was able to sell a couple of prints. So it's a give/take. Some people will take and others will give for the artwork.

    If your friends would be so nice to credit you as photographer, great, if not I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you have deemed the selected works as "your art".

    Good luck, tough call.