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Friday, 29 June 2007


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Well it's a nice shot, but that's because it's presented up-side-down. I don't think it's an aerial shot either, if by "aerial" you mean taken from an aircraft. It's simply a high angle shot from a nearby, tall building.

Rotate the image 180 degrees and it's much less dramatic.


Aerial doesn't mean "from an airplane," necessarily, it means up in the air, at least according to AHED.

And who's to say what's right-side up if not the photographer?

Anyway, I like it the way it is.


Interesting discussions and opinions on copyright. Certainly, getting mentioned on your site is one sure way of getting traffic to one's own site. Another way appears to be registering with a site such as www.photographysites.com
However, as part of the registration process this site wants my e-mail address - that's understandable, and the password to my e-mail account - not understandable!
Why would I give any stranger my e-mail account and the password to access it, thereby giving them access to read my e-mail and send messages via my e-mail account. Just recently I decided to add a hit counter to my blog and guess what, the first two free counter sites I looked at also wanted my e-mail address and my password. Am I just an oversuspicious old curmudgeon or does this smell of something crooked.
Regards, Beaumont

Sorry Bob, but you're wrong.

This is one of my favorite photographic images. Vincent Laforet is one of the most talented and creative young photographers today.

This is, indeed, an aerial shot that he captured from a helicopter. (Here's my poor-man's attempt from a building: http://www.pbase.com/tanakak/image/39015550 ) He has spent quite some time chasing such images over New York and, more recently, over the ruins of New Orleans.

Humorously to the copyright mania in which TOP seems to be languishing, take a look at Vincent Laforet's Web gallery: http://www.vincentlaforet.com/ .

"....Well it's a nice shot, but that's because it's presented up-side-down."

How do you know he did not hold his camera upside down, and therefore it is presented right-side up (in terms of how the shot was exposed)? And if he did, what does it matter? (Which is my point, I guess.)

"Rotate the image 180 degrees and it's much less dramatic."

Yup. Rotate almost all of my shots 180 degrees and they look awful. In fact, they look upside-down.

>Rotate the image 180 degrees and it's much less dramatic.

Yeah, I'm sure you're right,
but WHY the hell should I rotate this image and make it less dramatic?

I love it and
I won't do that,
I won't desaturate Burtynsky's work either, to make it less dramatic!

Bob, I first saw this photograph as part of a presentation by the photographer at an Apple store in NYC. It is an aerial shot, he had a large number of them in the presentation. There are no tall buildings close enough to the rink to get the shot, it is in the middle of central park. Given that is taken from above how do you determine top and bottom?

Taken from a news helicopter I think it's a great shot and is a longtime favourite of mine. I first discovered it at www.robgalbraith.com

The full story of how it came to be taken is told here


Thanks for bringing it to more people, Mike.

Two more in the same vein:



I think I like the Laforet one the most, though.

"However, as part of the registration process this site wants my e-mail address - that's understandable, and the password to my e-mail account - not understandable!"

I've never heard of anything like that. I would never do it. Does anyone else know anything about this?

I'd say you're wise to be very cautious.


Reminds me of that great photo of camel shadows by National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz, "Illusions of Arabia" (www.georgesteinmetz.com).

I think your picture should be titled "Eight Skaters and a Bear."

As for VL's website...uh-oh!

(I *swear* I didn't take the picture from there....)


With regard to photographysites.com, I have been part of their service for some time, and have never been asked for an email password. I agree that a password should not be requested, but suggest that something other than photographysites.com is the culprit.


Laforet has made a specialty of doing aerial work for the last several years. Nice to have a budget like that!

I was going to say earlier that the subject of the photo is clearly right-side up: the skater's shadows. There's certainly nothing sacred about the direction.

Beaumount: anybody who asks for your password is trying to steal from you. Not even the help desk at your ISP should do that (they should just reset it).

Friend of mine sent me a link to something somewhat similar to this with an aerial of camels in the desert dwarfed by their own shadows. I think it appeared in National Geographic and one an annual award from some organization (probably a prestigious one). Sorry, don't pay close attention to or retain these sorts of details well. I'm sure someone here will know exactly what I'm talking about. In any case it was wonderful shot. I like this one too. In reference to the not quite dead discussion I'm all for protecting people's right to be payed for their work if they so choose but having a hard time seeing the downside of free exposure on a site like this one for amateur or up and coming professional photographers.

Er, Beaumont, the password they ask for is apparently the password for your account _with them_. You know, "pick a password, any password."

You're right to be suspicious, but not there, it seems.

I appreciate your writing, Mike, but I swear, sometimes the comments that follow many of your articles are the most entertaining reading on the web. The back and forth on the copyright question was a scream. I applaud your decision to go with the flow and hit back with more satire with "Keep Your Freakin' Hands Off My Picture". That was excellent!

Now I get to this post with all the debate about if it's "aerial" or not, what exactly qualifies as "aerial", "but if you turn the photo this way it kinda sucks", etc. I've learned the hard way not to be drinking any beverages while reading the comments section of your blog - the inevitable spray from laughing is too hard to clean up. Keep up the good work!

Beautiful little glimpse, upside down or not. It's orientation is unimportant to me. This is one of those shots that made me feel giddy when I first saw it.

Great post

Mike, I'm reminded of your famous "Great Photographers of the Internet" series, even though the my interest here is the response to the comments, rather than the critique itself. What happens on these photo critique sites is that someone leaves a criticism that suggests that the image is less than magnificent, whereupon the next dozen or so comments focus on the wrongheadedness of the analysis. The mantra is usually "it's wonderful just the way it is", followed closely by "I don't care what he did or how he did it."

Here's my favorite aerial portfolio:


I'd be happy to tell you why I prefer most of his images to this one, but I know from experience how well my critique would be received.

This Laforet photo was taken in 2004. I wonder if he had ever seen Fan Ho's "World Upside Down", taken in 1960.


Yes, it's a fantastic picture.
Another one of my favorites of Vincent's is another aerial shot, showing streets of NYC, snow-covered roofs, and a single yellow cab.

What about Vincent's site? What did I miss? Many copyright warnings?

By the way, I recently found out via his "making-of" video (re the Canon 5D2 video) that Vincent and I are practically the spitting image of each other. He even has the same concentrated look on his face when he's working.


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