Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fair Use Doctrine

As an artist, I am seriously troubled by a local restaurant's choice to host a particular artist.

Clarification: I'm bothered by the artist's choice to present original art protected under copyright law specifically Hollywood characters. For those of you not in the know, these are the characters themselves in full makeup & costume: Jack Nicholson's Joker, Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, Clint Eastwood's Man w/ No Name, Gerald Butler's King Leonidas, & a couple others.

Some, like Shepard Fairey in the Obama "Hope" poster where he used a copyrighted AP photograph w/o proper attribution or royalties since the work is a derriative, will argue that it falls under "the fair use" exception in the copyright code (Title 17). However, I do not share that intrepretation. The keys to the exception being in the context of "criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research."

But even if that weren’t the case, I am doublely concerned that the artist made no attempt to create a "significant change”. In the art world, that small change is enough to constitute the reinterpreted work as a new original. Marcel Duchamp’s “L.H.O.O.Q.” is such an example. He painted a mustache on a postcard sized Mona Lisa, retitled it, and put it in a gallery setting. Because the Dadaist movement questioned traditional notions of art AND because he took the time to make it his own, the work and its message was become accepted.

As an artist w/ an academic background, I see it as the equivalent to artistic plagiarism.

We artists have enough problem with people intentionally ripping off our works w/o our permission. It breaks my heart knowing that the restaurant owner who is a supporter of local arts scene is unintentionally helping intellectual property theft.

I'm struggling how to tactfully broach the issue w/ the restaurant owner. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

In other news...

I'm choosing the following image because there's an interesting rip story that goes w/ it.

Some brainiac approached the model asking to work w/ her. Since he didn't have any work on the site, she asked for samples to get an idea of his quality. Low & behold he choses this one:


Little does he know that the shot he chose is one of her favorite images...of me. She reported the rip to the site administrators who were all happy to boot the bugger from the site.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Rabbi Credentials

I've been called many things in my life.

"Pornographer" because let's face it, if I photograph adult women in various states of undress even if the R-rated parts are covered, its automatically porn. A "predator" because adult women have chosen of their own free-will to shed their clothes in front of my camera. "TNT", you can thank my brother for that. A "bigot" because (as my old Marine Staff Sergeant used to say), "I'm an equal oppurtunity bigot, I just hate everybody." The "Flash" because I "move like a bolt of lightning" (the complete opposite of its context, LOL).

I'm even a self-described "fallen Catholic" because as a "smut peddler that exploits women", I'm surely going to burn in Hell. Better to laugh w/ the sinners than cry w/ the saints, I guess.

*cues evil laugh*

However, I don't think I've ever had any names given that had anything to do w/ my piety. That changed while at work a couple weeks ago.

As the story goes...

I was plugging away at the computer, minding my own business when a fellow coworker from another department comes over. She sits next to me & asks in a hushed tone, "I don't mean to be rude but (pausing) are you a rabbi?"

She was lucky & wasn't drinking my coffee because it would have sprayed out of my mouth in shock. Instead I repeated the question only louder but laughing. Still in seriousness she hushed me down again.

Once I was able to recompose myself, she explains about a swearing incident the previous day. Apparently a member of her own department & I were in the stock room moving boxes when a swearing incident came up. I never quite understood if I was the one flinging the expletative deleteds or the other guy. But she said, according to him, he was absolutely convinced I was a rabbi because of that incident as well as "how (I) carry myself."

Not quite sure what that means, is it my body-language? My Jack Webb "just the facts, ma'am" straight-laced demeanor because I'm focused on getting stuff done? W/ the beard, I could even see the Alec Guiness's Obi-Wan Kenobi thing. I dunno.

Anyways...I informed her that no, I went the complete other way, the proverbial drinking, whoring, carrowsing route.

Feeling conflicted, she next asked whether to set him straight or string him along. I of course told her to string him along. The man better pray that I never find out who he is because, oh boy, am I gonna have fun screwing w/ him. LOL


This is what happens when people automatically assume things w/o taking the 2 seconds to verify said information (something that I hate). Though this is a light-hearted, I've been on the receiving end of others where the effects were not so comedic.

Whatever, life goes on.

In other news...

This here is Brooke. She & her mom were gracious enough to indulge me w/ their participation in my ongoing abandonment series.

While shooting, Brooke accumulated a lot of dirt on her hands & then randomly started rubbing it all across her arms & face. It was one of those bizarre moments that fit what we were all doing & where I would never have planned it in a million years. It worked, so I just ran w/ it & we all still laugh about it to this day.


Feel free to comment, if you so choose.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What I Do Versus Who I Am

Deep down a part of me has always known this but its been hammered in lately. Photography is simply something that I do & enjoy, its not who I am.

This has been really hit home in a variety of ways.

- being uninspired by a person's look
- a person's inability to follow freakin' preparation directions
- a subject's primma-donna'ish
- bringing outside drama which I don't need
- changing what has been previously agreed upon in advance the day of the shoot
- content being all about them & not enough giving on what I want or need

But most importantly, if you don't have a sense of humor & are overly particular about being shown a certain way, then I'm sorry, I don't care how hot you think you are, working together is just not for me.

I'm not saying all the people I have worked w/ fell in the above category, Its likely just a numbers thing. By this time last year, I'd worked w/ close to 25 people. This year (as I write this) its closer 6 or 7, so of course the usual 10% of not-so-great shoots only SEEMS more prevalent.

This funk however has extended far beyond my people photography. I haven't shot any random junk stuff in over 8 months & I haven't practiced my sports photography in longer than that. Nor have I not gone out & wandered shooting landscapes or whatever. The explorational wonder just hasn't been there.

Whatever, life will go on.

In other news...

This here is Sapphire. She's one of those people where having never met her previously (setting aside the less than 15 minutes sitting at the scrumpicious down-home family dinner after her sister's wedding ceremony). Yet working together simply "felt right."

That's a notion that's becoming more & more important lately (or at least it is in my own delusional mind). Quality over quantity. Doing something because I want to, as opposed to doing something just for the sake of habit.

Anyways, there are two versions of the shot below. The other version may argueablely be better but I'm choosing this one because I'm an admitted sucker for a pretty smile.


Feel free to leave comments if you so choose.