Image ownership

Posted by on Feb 14, 2011 in Art, Blog, Photography | No Comments

I wish I didn’t feel compelled to write on this particular topic but I can’t get it off my mind. The subject is image copyright. This could have a little something to do with someone claiming complete ownership over several thousand of my images.

The basis of the claim was that I simply took photos of performance art. Performance art that incorporated the culmination of a number of brilliantly, talented creative artists in the realm of performance, lighting, sound, costume, set design, etc (which is all true). Apparently all I did was press a button on a mechanical device which does not constitute art in any way.

(Even though photographers who work in the field will tell you the combination of extremely low light and fast, leaping bodies make this style of photography one of the most difficult, not taking into account the feel, timing and artistic interpretation skills required, nor the thousands of dollars of specialist equipment needed).

Seemingly it was only the content of the image that made the photos “stunning”, “gorgeous”, etc. And, furthermore, this is “just how it is” in the industry of performance art – the company presenting the show automatically owns all the images because of this theory of ‘art’ versus ‘mere capture’. This may be shocking news to any photographers out there who have undertaken similar photographic projects?!!

The good news is that these claims are incorrect (and, to be honest, I found them a little offensive, though apparently this is just because I am overly-sensitive??). Thankfully, the Australian law in this situation is pretty straightforward. The person who takes a photo has immediate, free and automatic copyright over the image taken.

There are a few exclusions such as wedding photos and personal/family portraits (unless the photographer and client negotiate otherwise). And, yes, if the photographer and client (or subject of the photo) have a prior written agreement establishing copyright and usage licensing outside the law then this obviously becomes the agreement.

And that’s pretty much it folks. Though it’s perhaps not as simple as that. Photography and the use of the resulting images also involves a hefty dose of trust, by all parties involved.

The photographer should be mindful of the subject represented in any images and use/exhibit/publish them respectfully with credit, where appropriate. Likewise, if the subject of the images (or ‘client’) has copies of the images they should respect the wishes of the photographer and copyright laws and only use the images as licensed, agreed or at the very least in a respectful manner (ie. crediting the photographer).

So where does this leave me with my dilemma? I’m not sure as yet. I’ve been more than reasonable and generous with my offerings to the client and explained the basic copyright laws and I can only hope this is enough – I hope to hear back from them soon.

Whatever the result, it is a lesson learned in ensuring an agreement is signed before any images are taken…because trust is clearly not always enough.

Yours signed on the dotted line…

x Andy

Paint Permit

Art Support

Posted by on Feb 8, 2011 in Art, Blog, Goals, Life, News & Events | No Comments

Tonight I’m going to a gig at The Basement. To see a guy who’s been around since the 70′s singing the blues with dark humour. With a penchant for 90′s acid jazz, techno house, sweet girly folksongs and a decent dose of black funk, it doesn’t really seem like my thing.

I’m also getting up at 5.25am in the mornings to jog so the thought of staying up until the wee hours to see a gig is a bit beyond my level of circadian-rhythm coping. And how do I make my way into the heart of Sydney city and back from Bondi at that hour on my own?

There are many barriers to my going but I’m going anyway. And I’m excited. Because I have a good friend who is in the band and I’m going to see him doing his thing. He’s an exceptionally talented musician and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He has a day job but he’s stuck with his passion of music with regular gigs throughout his life and that’s something to cherish and applaud.

I have many friends who are singers, musicians, writers, painters, jewellers and true artists of varying kinds who have let their talents and passions fall by the wayside due to the pull of regular life. I don’t blame them, it’s hard. But in some cases it is just a plain tragedy.

One has a voice that’s pure and strong and joyous that I rarely get to hear; there’s one who brightens my day, every day, with her beautiful, colourful painting hanging on my wall (but oh to have another!). There’s another multi-talented fellow who can bring me to tears with a song but its always way too long between such moments of sweet surrender. I only have to spend half an hour with another gal who constantly inspires me but I don’t own any of art to marvel at. Another should be writing novels, the stories only she can tell with such depth and beauty but she’s so busy with life  (but at least she’s writing).

But my friend Phil is getting out there, again. Banding together with a bunch of no-doubt wonderfully talented musicians. Getting on a stage and performing with all his might. He’ll be smiling gently, as he always does, and pounding away on the keys with his usual flare. And I’ll be positively bursting at the seams if he pulls out his accordion!

So, if you’re out there and have a talent, a passion, please find the time to indulge in it, to keep it alive. There’s an audience out here who wants it. Who needs it in this life of routine and rigmarole.

x Andy

Ready to Shine

Source of inspiration

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Art, Blog, Life, Photography, Street Art | One Comment

You know when you find something that just clicks with you? In your gut, in your heart, in your subconscience – before it becomes an intellectual pursuit to work out why?

I felt that way when I saw the Flash Life paste-up in the streets of New York, which may be why it has become the title and centrepiece for my current exhibition. It was the words Flash Life and what they represented to me, alongside the image of a camera and then how they were presented together…representing a flash of life, captured on a camera…an instant in time.

That’s how it all resonated with me. With a fine bottle of wine and a lazy couple of hours I reckon I could prattle on even more about the conceptual and artistic merit of the image and what else it means to me.

Funny thing is, that’s not actually what the image was really all about. The camera, yes, but the rest of it had different roots of representation. And how do I know this? Because, finally, amazingly I have come into contact with the Flash Life artist himself!

Having used their work as inspiration, I acknowledged as many of the street artists that I could in my exhibition but was unable to track down who was responsible for my favourite piece. I googled, scoured the various street art websites, contacted a couple of people who had posted other photos of Flash Life on Flikr…all to no avail.

And yesterday, out of the blue, I received an email from the man himself. Even after posing the question I still have no idea how he found me so I’ll just have to live with the mystery for now but, the great news is, we have connected! And he is cool. I really like him. And he and his partner “have a feeling we will maintain a freindship”.

Here’s what he had to say about Flash Life…

“It has many meanings but 2 core meanings..

1 Being to Honor the camera for it being one of Mans best creations to be able for us to Capture Moments…. Which always still amazes me. The 2nd being a symbol of the feeling u got when u grew up poor in the NYC streets and u first obtained a new outfit or new sneakers bcuz u know NYC is and always will be the most fashionable place.. So we represent that “feeling” that no matter how poor sometimes the “Success” is really just a feeling not neccesarily having all the riches in the world. “We just try to bring that feeling back”!  You see the feeling u got… The one that inspired a name for a gallery exhibition, that’s Flash Life! Inspiration threw art and life…”

How awesome is that hey! I love this guy. All I want to do is head back to NYC and meet with him and his partner. They are starting up a t-shirt company based on Flash Life and already have underground HipHop MCs wearing them. He’s going to send me some pics – I can’t wait!

And that, my friends, is what art is about. Connections. Inspiration. A Flash of Life.

x Andy

Flash Life

Spaced out

Posted by on Jan 28, 2011 in Art, Blog, Life, Photography | One Comment

I spent nearly the whole day yesterday cleaning and clearing. I was tired, oh yes, so I took it slow and easy and caught a few tennis games on the TV along the way but, essentially, I worked on my space.

Space is a fascinating thing. I could go on for days about what goes on out there in the universe but equally fascinating is the space around us. The space in my home was messy and stressing me out. Once it was clean I felt huge relief, calm and satisfaction. How can the clearing of lego, discarded dirty socks and over-ripe nectarines make such a difference?

And how does the space in which art is hung make a difference to its worth? Surely art has intrinsic value, no matter where it is? Perhaps it does and perhaps it doesn’t but I’m here to tell you that where you hang your art does seem to make a difference.

I held my exhibition in a proper gallery this time. A fairly new gallery but nevertheless a really lovely one in one of Sydney’s flouncily established suburbs. I wonder if my artworks would have held more value if they’d somehow made their way into a posh paddington gallery. What would their perceived worth have been in a dinky cafe in Newtown? If I’d shipped them to an artistic Parisian paradise would zero’s have been added to their price tag while crossing the wide open seas?

Yes, space makes a difference. Is it the physical space though? Probably not. More likely it is the fact that a world-renowned curator in Saint Germain thought my work was brilliant enough to grace his gallery space (wild and crazy dreams here people, I know).

I’m considering what space any unsold artworks will go to after they come down off the gallery walls. Will they still be worthy wrapped in plastic in my basement storage? Should I let them live and breathe for free on some lovely white walls in friend’s homes or places of work? Should I look for another gallery to hang them in later in the year? Should I consider popping them in a cafe in Coogee? Will my choices affect their worth? I don’t know to be honest.

One thing is for sure though, I can’t wait until at least one of them makes its way on to one of our lounge room walls. For both Dan and I they have become like loved members of our family and I can’t wait to decorate our home with them…there will be no other space in which they are valued more.

x Andy

The Gugg