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Dealing with the inevitable

If you put your photos where they can be viewed publicly, inevitably someone will do something with them that you probably don’t approve of. The internet makes this easier than ever. You could hunt down and sue every infringer but frankly I think it’s probably better to pick your battles. Case in point: I was alerted this morning to the use of one of my photographs in a contest at a site called, ironically, PhotoshopTalent.com. Here’s the contest entry:

Contest entry

And here is my original photograph:

Road to heaven
Road to Heaven
(Click to enlarge)

I’d critique the artistic direction the contester took my photo in but I think it speaks volumes for itself. The sad individual who used my photo for this contest will gain nothing from it but a bad reputation. Honestly, rather than be upset, I’m actually embarrassed for PhotoshopTalent.com and the person who created this contest entry. (And a little perplexed that PhotoshopTalent.com would open themselves up to such a potentially large liability.)

One of the most interesting comments on the contest entry was from the artist himself responding to criticism from another member of the site about the source of the background photo. He wrote, “Who is going to find out?”

Some may look at this as another example of why they don’t publish their photos on the internet. Let me propose an alternative view: these same shenanigans happen to your photos no matter where you put them. But on the internet, I found out about it within hours of the modified version going online.

How do you deal with this sort of thing? And does your response vary depending on the use and who the abuser is? I’m not looking for advice. I’m just curious how you feel about the issue. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Update: As of this morning, the contester has changed his entry, but not out of any sense of wrongdoing or newfound ethics. He writes, “Well if you all give this entry low ratings because it’s copyrighted I might as well delete this one cause that wouldn’t make any sense.” Don’t be too hard on him though, I have a feeling he’s just a kid. It’s our duty to educate children, not attack them.

 

Quick tip: did you know you have a photo studio in your house?

The BoyOne of my favorite photo locations right now is our upstairs bathroom. The tub and toilet are separated from the rest of the bathroom by a door which can be opened or closed to let in varying amounts of sunlight from the window in the outer room. Combine that with a small flash and you get perfect portraits every time:

  • Just drape a cloth over the shower bar (or buy a nice looking shower curtain)
  • Turn off the lights
  • Point your flash at the wall behind you and to the left
  • Fire away!

If you’ve got a window, a little investigating may reveal that you get perfect light in your bathroom (or some other small room in your home) at certain times of the day just from that. Sure, it’s a little cramped but you can’t beat the price and you can’t argue with the results.

Photographer Gary Parker

I admit it—I’m smitten. Photographer Gary Parker is my man of the moment. An award-winning photojournalist, portrait and commercial artist, Parker’s work delighted me instantly.

His website is correct when it describes him as a photographer who truly captures souls. It states, “No one’s quite sure how he manages, but Gary elicits from his subjects – human adult, child, animal, four-legged or two-toed – the part of themselves most of us try to hide – the spirit within.”

Read more…

Google adds facial recognition to image search

Ars Technica is reporting that Google has quietly added basic facial recognition features to their image search. There is no user-interface for it yet and it can currently only be accessed by appending &imgType=face to an image search. Here’s an example (I’m on page 2): John Watson

Still in the experimental stages, this would obviously be a killer feature to add to Picasa and Picasa Web Albums, Google’s photo management application. It would be huge to be able to identify people in just a few photos in your collection and then be able to search for all photos with those same people. Riya.com has had something like this for a while with its “People” tab.

Google’s addition of this feature is a shot across the bow of every other photo sharing service out there. I can only speculate that Flickr, Smug Mug, and other photo sharing services are working on similar features. They’d better be because this is the sort of thing that will make sorting through thousands of photos of people much easier than it has ever been before. I for one would love to be able to sort out pictures of just my kids, for example, in all of my untagged photos.

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