Can I use that picture? No. Well… I’m going to. Street photography and copyright infringement.

An issue every photographer struggles with, sharing their work with the world while protecting intellectual property, has a new high-profile case.

Humans of New York, the blog of street photographer Brandon Stanton, is a hugely popular blog featuring posed and candid images of the many unique citizens in America’s most populous city. According to The Guardian, clothing company DKNY offered Stanton $15,000 to use 300 of his photos. Feeling $50 per photo was inadequate compensation from a wealthy company Stanton requested more, which DKNY denied.

A fan of Stanton later brought to his attention that DKNY had in fact used many of his images in a window advertisement in Bangkok. Taking a very admirable path, Stanton asked DKNY donate $100,000 to his local YMCA, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In what was a simultaneous act-of-kindness and backhanded swipe, DKNY donated $25,000 in Stanton’s name.

So how do photographers, and artists as a whole, attempting to establish their name protect it at the same time? There’s no fool-proof way. Watermarks, finding websites that don’t allow downloading of images and small file sizes are all techniques.

Personally, I size my images small enough they wouldn’t make a decent print and hope people will at least ask if they want to use it. I have found out this isn’t an adequate approach.

The topic will only continue to brew confusion and controversy, as popular image-sharing software Instagram has recently been sued over inadequate protection of users photos.

Today I will share some of my street photography from Seattle.

© Robin Wood

Street1_small

I didn’t have much reaction time when I saw how the orange of the man’s shirt and child’s stroller complemented the orange accents on the posters.

Street3_small

Here I was simply interested in the smooth curvature of the drinking fountain and the bike-lane indicator in the street when a pedestrian came to quench his thirst. Again I had to quickly step back to get a more inclusive image before he continued on his way.

I dig his tall, white socks with black shoes.

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Weekly photo challenge: Solitary

Solitary: being, living or going alone or without companions. The word instantly conjurs images of some distant wayfarer or contemplative individual. For this installment of the Weekly Photo Challenge, I will show you three of my interpretations of solitary, images I believe convey the mood through subject matter and compositional elements.

First: a very literal interpretation of solitary. In Denali National Park, a lone-grazing caribou is seen in vast tundra. I wont even begin to speculate on the distances, however it was shot with a 300MM telephoto lens on a Canon 7D. The importance of the 7D is the smaller APS-C sized sensor increases the 300MM lens to an effective focal length of 480MM! As focal length increases, the depth of a picture is flattened, making the relationships of everything seem closer.

In short, this caribou is very alone.

Please click on the images to view full size.

Lone caribou in Denali National Park, Sept. 16, 2012

My second image is more metaphorically solitary. The model and her shadow are all the viewer has to dwell on. I think her gaze off the edge of the frame, often deemed poor composition because the viewer wonders what the subject is looking at, gives the feeling that there is nothing besides more wall, adding to the solitary feeling. Also helping is the edge of the 4×5 film, terminating any curiosity about what else there may be.

Crystal at Creamers Field

Finally a somber event that would leave anyone feeling solitary. A woman walks past a cutout to honor a victim of domestic violence. The plaque reads,

“Nancy Tegoseak, Age 40, April, 2004. Nancy was born in Tanana and the loving mother of five children. She was beaten to death by her boyfriend. She leaves behind three children.”

Suvi and her Lynx transformation mask.

As part of my art minor I’m taking a Native Arts of Alaska class. It’s emphasis is in wood carving, and masks are a very popular form of Native art. A friend of mine and Finnish exchange student made a Lynx transformation mask out of Birch. I had to do a shoot, a transformation shoot if you will, with Suvi and her mask. You will likely instantly understand why I wanted to, but her long, red dreads offered the perfect gateway between mask and creator.

Please click on the images to view full size.

Pre- and mid-yawn cat diptych

The title pretty much says it all. I was just shooting a few frames of my cat Carlos sitting in the sun when he opened wide for a yawn. The two frames were mere seconds apart. I feel it’s hard taking pictures of pets that are not simply snapshots. One way to change the aesthetic could be trying different gear, editing or processing techniques. Much of my aesthetic comes from shooting film. Another way is to turn it into a study with multiple images. In this case a study of a cat yawning. Of course I couldn’t have anticipated his sudden inhale, but also would’t have caught it had I not just taken the preceding picture. It could be argued only one picture is needed, but I think the combination of the two paints a more complete picture, allowing the viewer to get an idea of the cats appearance.

Spring, snow melt and cattle

Record temperatures in Fairbanks means snow’s melting, fast. I’ve been photographing the farmer who is raising Black Angus cows some more. Here water drips off a fence highlighted by sun with a cow in the background. 100 speed film means not a lot of grain, but on 35MM it still comes standard, shallow depth of field just because I can.

Please click on the image to view full size.

Raindrops and Spirits. One of the spirits.

It’s only four days until my first solo show, I’m excited and busy, but feel it should come together nicely. There are already things I wish I had done differently, but it’s not in my nature to worry, so I’m chalking it up to lack of experience.

As I said previously, my show is to deal heavily with the role of people within place. Even when people take a a large portion of subject matter they are meant to complement the surroundings. Such is the case with today’s image “David in Kennicott,” A large, strong figure in a commanding environment. Also worth noting is location, most of the images are paired, some in multiple ways. This is at the same location as my title piece “Rain Apparition,” Kennicott in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. With pairings the viewer is allowed to view locations with many more meanings; the ability to step back, taking in the scene, then moving in closer for detail.

Please click on the image to view full size.

David in Kennicott

A first, first Friday. “Raindrops and Spirits.”

After a few years of persuasion from local photographers, April 6, 2012 I will be holding my first solo show at Frank’s Menswear, downtown Fairbanks, on 2nd Ave. The show, titled “Raindrops and Spirits” will be around 15, 8×10 in. silver-gelatin darkroom prints, taken at various locations around Alaska including Fairbanks, Homer and Kennicott. It’s very exciting to know my work will hang on the walls of a business for a month, and hopefully it will lead many more shows at many venues, as well as a few print sales.

People play an important role in the theme of my show, the absence of people equally important as the inclusion. The title is derived from the following image, which features a blur in the lower left-hand corner. People often ask me what caused it, and I reply with “A raindrop on the lens.” But having a vivid imagination I often like to think it’s something more, in this case the apparition of a forgotten worker from the mine, wandering the grounds he calls home.

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Rain Apparition