Archive for the 'Photographer Rights' Category

My first photo books available for pre-pre-order

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

I have been working on producing a book of my photography for several years now. Organizing and curating your own work is a tough task of critical self-examination, second guessing, and pattern recognition. In the end I actually have three collections of photos centered on three themes. The titles are:

  1. Motion and Distortion
  2. Reflection and Distraction
  3. Isolation and Repetition
Each hard cover book is 32 pages and is divided into 2 chapters. I have written an intro poem for each chapter. The books each contain 29 of what I consider to be my best photos over the last 15 years of experiments, accidents, and triumphs. If you are a reader of this blog then you can appreciate the assortment of cameras I use in my work, from pinhole to handmade to antique. Needless to say, I am proud of the work and I hope you are interested in ordering a set for yourself.

Which brings me to the part where I tell you how to order the books. The books are ready to be published. Right now they are printed digitally, which is less than economical. If I can connect with a publisher I can get the price down, but right now the set of 3 books will cost $165. If you are interested in ordering a book please contact me. Let me know if you would like to order the first pre-edition of the book or are interested in being notified when the first real run of books is available. I really appreciate your support. For a few more photos of the books, click here.

Photo Skepticism: Friend or Foe?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The latest news photo hoax has me thinking about authenticity in photography again. In the most recent case, a chinese man doctors an image of a train and a bunch of antelopes. You can read the article to get the full story, but the image they show explaining how the fake was spotted is pretty interesting. I expected evidence such as cloned animals or something much more obvious. For example, one explanation depends on an antelope that kind of looks pregnant. Another says that the antelope would be more scattered if they were running from a train. One explanation is just flat wrong. It says that the train should be blurred and the antelope should be more in focus because the train is going 60 mph and the antelope are running slower. This explanation doesn’t hold up because the train is several hundred meters away. The antelope may not be going 60 mph but I bet their legs are and they are closer to the camera. I am not saying that the photo is real, but can’t we get an explanation that holds up to scrutiny?


Luckly, there are real professionals working to scientifically disprove the authenticity of photographs. There is an interesting article on that talks about methods that companies like Adobe are developing to spot altered photos. Adobe seems like the last company you would turn to lead the hunt for photo hoaxers considering they have made a fortune off of convincing everybody how easy/safe/fun it is to enhance and manipulate our photographs. Nevertheless, as the industry leader in photo manipulation they have to address a growing concern about the authenticity of photography. So Adobe finds itself in an interesting conundrum. How do you use a technology that is meant to alter photography to identify the people who are creating hoaxes? Where does harmless photo enhancement end and illegal photo manipulation begin? How do you convince a skeptical population to trust photography as the truth? They have a quote from Kevin Connor, who is senior director of product management at Adobe. He says,

“There’s much more awareness and much more skepticism when (people) are looking at images. That’s why we think that’s something we need to get involved in. It’s not healthy to have people be too skeptical about what they saw.”

Not healthy to question what you see? That is a shocking statement when you consider what he is implying, that it is healthy to accept what you see as real without questioning. Yikes! The article closes without really giving much hope that there will ever be a trustworthy way of telling whether or not a photo has been altered. While that may seem like a tragedy, it is a side effect of an advancing civilization. Think about the past when photos represented the “truth.” That was a more dangerous time because it ignored the editorial nature of photography. Think of all the manipulation that happens to an image in camera. Somebody has to pick the subject matter. The photographer isn’t an emotionless bystander. He composes his shot with an agenda. He choses the exposure and controls the focus. These are editorial decisions. You can make the same old lady look like a saint or a witch just by how you choose to take her picture. To accept an image as “truth” regardless of how it was originated is dangerous. Defense attorneys, law enforcement, news organizations, protective governments, conspiracy theorists, traditionalists and photography purists will continue to find ways authenticate and de-authenticate photos. I can’t blame them, but I firmly believe that a skeptical population is a better alternative to blind unquestioning masses.

Security Guard Intimidation

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Through_City_Window_small.jpgI have had people chase me and my camera away before. Usually it is easier to keep walking and avoid a confrontation. But last night I wasn’t in the mood to be intimidated. I was walking back to my car in downtown Denver after attending a lecture by Chip Kidd when the interior of a building caught my eye. I took out my Sony cell phone/camera and snapped a quick shot. I didn’t realize that the man in the long black jacket was an undercover security guard. The conversation went like this:

Guard: You can’t take pictures here. Me: Why not? Guard: The owner of the building doesn’t allow anyone to take pictures. Me: This is public property. Guard: No. The red sidewalk is private property. Me: I can see it, I can take a picture of it. Guard: Do you want to tell that to the owner? Me: That’s the law. Look it up. Guard: I can give you the owner’s name and you can tell him that. Me: He can look it up, too. Guard: What? Me: That’s the law, he can look it up too. Guard: I can’t hear you. If you want to talk to me you are going to have to come back here.

By this point I was already walking away from him and decided to give up on the conversation. The guard snuck through the building and watched me from the other side. He gave me a dirty look as I proceeded to my car. I should have took his picture. Oh well. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you have the guts to stand up for your rights.

A Copyright Protected Area

Monday, October 16th, 2006

copyright.jpg You already know my thoughts about your rights as a photographer, but I thought I would share this story with you anyway. The sign on the right was posted at a fair in a booth where you could pay to get your picture taken with some birds. You can read the entire story here, but the absurdity of this company’s understanding of copyright law is obvious. No, you can’t copyright a location.