Photography studio, gallery and training complex

rights

Prude Or Rude?

There’s been a great deal of controversy over the last year or so about the apparent gender-biased censorship by Facebook. This largely centres on the alleged hypocrisy in the way male nudity (or partial nudity) is treated more leniently than female partial nudity by Facebook’s censors and their lack of a coherent explanation for this.

For example, post an image of a topless woman on Facebook and there’s a fair chance it will be reported and removed fairly quickly but if you post an image of a topless man, or even extreme violence (such as beheadings or beatings) and it will stand a greater chance of being left alone.

If this also strikes you as a bit unfair, perhaps you’d like to join me in using the image below to cover the “offending” bits of any photos you fancy posting…

WARNING

Just right click and save it onto your ‘puter for future use – go on, you have my blessing.

This is how it looks in situ on an actual image I posted on Facebook of the stunning Rosa Brighid

 

 


Tumblr: Thief or Pirate? A Cautionary Tale

Here’s a nice story to warm your seasonal cockles – not.

Imagine this: a friend emails you and sends you a link to an image on popular site Tumblr saying “This photo just looks like one of yours!”. So you look, and it is indeed one of your photographs, except the one that has been posted has been (badly) converted to black and white, and your logo has been clumsily removed.

You are understandably a tad disgruntled and contact the person who posted the image as well as host site Tumblr to complain and… NOTHING IS DONE!.

The stolen and apparently "photoshopped by a chimp" version of Andy Wayson's original image.

The stolen and apparently “photoshopped by a chimp” version of Andy Watson’s original image.

So a bastardized version of one of your own carefully crafted images, of the sort that you as a professional photographer sells to various magazines, has been used without your permission on a major website – and, you are given to understand, may also have been submitted to publications by the person who posted it, passing it off as their own.

Well this is what happened to one of Birmingham’s best contemporary fashion and music photographers Andy Watson of DRW Images (http://www.drw-images.co.uk/ and http://www.facebook.com/drw.images#!/pages/Drw-Images/280703695157).

My copy from Andy Watson's original image

My copy from Andy Watson’s original image

By the very nature of Tumblr with its re-posting and recycling of images and information, there’s no way of knowing exactly who is responsible for the hatchet job on Andy’s image, but this particular person seems happy enough to sit back and allow praise to flood in for an image that isn’t theirs with little or no attempt to establish its provenance which is just as bad in my book.

In the spirit of fair play, and as a gesture against increasingly widespread copyright theft on sites such as Tumblr – perhaps you would join me in contacting the thief of this image by following this link and leaving an appropriate comment…http://cookiepuffy.tumblr.com/post/18445061746

Thanks to Andy Watson for bringing this to our attention and for permission to use these images.


A Law Against Photographing Traffic? And Hospitals? Really?

You may remember my reporting that I was confronted by a park warden in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park for taking pictures of a (fully-clothed) model at around 8pm in the evening. And that I was told by a Birmingham WPC that I needed a permit to photograph the buildings in St. Paul’s Square. Well, here we are again.

Twice in one week, I have been told by my students that they have been stopped by police or security staff when taking photographs in the street for their projects. On the first occasion, a student was photographing “light trails” made by cars in the area near the new Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham when security staff pulled up in a car and asked him what he was doing and told him he was not allowed to take photographs which included the hospital. Fair enough, you might think. After all, he had the hospital in his viewfinder.

But what is wrong with that? Is there a law against photographing hospitals now? Even if we assume he was within the boundary’s of the hospital grounds (which I’m not sure is the case), what is the problem? Don’t we, the taxpayers of the West Midlands own that hospital? What exactly are they afraid of? It’s not exactly a high security politically or militarily sensitive installation. A moment ago, I did a Google image search for “Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital” and it threw up 440,000 results, most of which, one assumes, are pictures of this hospital that the security guards are so keen to prevent from being photographed.

On the second occasion, another student was again photographing car light trails near Quinton on the outskirts of Birmingham, accompanied by her partner. A police car pulled up and officers (from West Midlands Police) asked her what she was doing. She told them, truthfully, that she was taking images for a photograohy course. They wanted to know what course and where it was held. I understand that my student’s partner did much of the talking as she was quite frightened. As she told me, “I’ve never had anything to do with the police before”. They must have picked up on her unease because they ended on quite a friendly tone, telling her not to look so worried. She felt obliged to give up at that point and drove away.

Again, what crime was she committing? Or even could have been contemplating committing? Did she really have to answer questions about what course she was taking the pictures for? What business was it of the police?!? Why do they need to know? Doesn’t she have the right to take photographs on a public street? The very nature of this type of photography means that the cars are rendered as mere blurs, and so the police’s reasons for concern couldn’t be based upon “data protection”, “invasion of privacy” or any other similarly spurious cover-all excuses for heavy-handed harrassment.

Remember the Eurovision Song Contest a few weeks ago, and the claims that Azerbaijan was an unsuitable host because it is an oppressive dictatorship with a history of human rights violations and persecution? One thought: The UK hosts the Olympics this summer. Are people harrassed by police for photographing cars in Azerbaijan?

Please, folks – know your rights: http://photographernotaterrorist.org/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Im-a-Photographer-Not-a-Terrorist/128534046017