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Tuesday, 22 February 2011


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This is utterly vile,...why use photography to make up 'artwork'??....there's coloured pencils and acrylic paint and watercolour and even oil paint,...they all worked well for this in the past. Dump the camera and get sketching, you'll be happier and get to call yourself 'artistic'

Why wouldn't you link to Mrs. Corinne's website? It's just one search in Google away, all the images are there, nicely linked using a plain old URL (as opposed to some Flash thing), accompanied by some further reading.

I just don't see the point in following countless links (ok, it's just one click in this case, but a well-hidden one) just to get to the original data, where I can find further work of her, which by the way is quite interesting by itself.

It's not just tourists - you can even see this at art fairs, were I would hope some unique art is on display. Last time I had a chance to walk round Art Fair on the Square in Madison, I was struck by the (relatively) high number of photographers with broadly European images - they seemed to meld into one another. in fact two photographers had almost identical images.


A friend sent me this yesterday and it led to some very heated discussions regarding copyrights. Given her statement that, "it is without their knowledge" also implies that it is "without their permission". What do the rest of you think? Is she selling any of these images? Personally, I hope she's using only creative commons licensed photos and not any of my photos.


PS I happen to have many photos of Niagara Falls so I do have some personal interest in this whole story.

I would also like to say that I really enjoy the idea although I don't know if I consider it "art". There were other projects aimed at the "average" face and the "average" person from a given country. I find the results interesting ... just not that nice to look at :-)

This is about the fourth time I've seen a story on this so far in the last couple days.

Frankly it has me a little peeved. Is it just me or am I missing something here? Why is this person getting praise and credit for these works?

"Corrine combines between 200 and 300 similar images found on photo sharing sites to create her artworks" ... excuse me, but this "artist" is using the work of others (amateur or not) to "create" he own works? This is nothing but derivative work. She clearly states on her own website that the use of these pictures is unknown to the original photographer.

Of the 200-300 photos that she grabbed off the internet, how many of these are actually "free for public use" or licensed as "derivative works allowed"?? Did she actually research the copyrights of these thousands of photos? She makes no mention of that... just because they are on the internet does not make them free to use whenever and however.

As a photographer myself, I have extremely similar photos of Niagara Falls - what if one of the photos she used in her "work" contained one of MY photos that she "found" on the internet??? There is no way to tell. She clearly does not credit ONE person for the use of ANY of these photos.

Deplorable... for such a well-known artist to do such a thing, in my opinion, is outlandish.

Oh, and isn't she selling small postcards of thes images as well? Profits off of others' photographs, most likely without permission (until she can prove otherwise)?? Even MORE outlandish.

Whenever I find myself at a famous/popular vantage point, I have developed the habit of turning 180 degrees on principle. Sometimes it is very interesting and photo-worthy. Other times, it simply reinforces why the famous vantage point is so popular. :-) Mike

We live in the age of "meta". It reminds me of the Spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Fontcuberta), who has make a career reflecting on what one may call the fictional essence of photography. This is his last work (http://acvic.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=272:through-the-looking-glass-joan-fontcuberta&catid=59:projectes-expositius-eng&Itemid=88), wich he did just taking pictures from the web. He says there's no longer the need for producing, "why take more pictures of Barcelona when there are millions in the web?, it would be better to give value to the ones that are already there".

Also reminds me of Alec Soth: ""It's not about making good pictures anymore. Anybody can do that today - it's about good edits...".

Always a pleasure to read your site.

"Corrine combines between 200 and 300 similar images found on photo sharing sites to create her artworks."

So does she get permission to use the works of others or is this more "appropriated" art?

Hard to police this one. Anybody else have a problem with this or is it just me ?

It's perfectly post-modern.

The Photo Tourism research project at the University of Washington, with Microsoft, uses large collections of independently captured photos of tourist sites and stitches them into a 3D environment or large panorama. ( http://phototour.cs.washington.edu/ ) It is both proof of and a counter example to the idea that everyone takes photos from the same spot since they are able to reconstruct accurate 3D models of buildings, which requires close but not exactly the same viewpoints, as well as covering an entire area for heavily visited sites, which requires photos taken from different places.

The number of photos available on the web of certain places and things is just huge. Statistically, many of them will be similar. Add in physical constraints around tourist sites, traffic patterns, and then some lack of creativity and yes, there is a lot of sameness. There are also a lot of place and things that are not popular subjects at all...


"Why wouldn't you link to Mrs. Corinne's website?"

Because the photos on her site are much smaller, and I don't think they communicate very well even at the somewhat larger JPEG size. I'm sure the ghosts / shadows of the many photos that went into them show up better with even larger versions.


"...why use photography to make up 'artwork'??....there's coloured pencils and acrylic paint and watercolour...."

That would completely miss the point, wouldn't it? The point is that 200 to 300 people have taken very similar pictures from very similar vantage points at the same tourist spots. That point wouldn't be communicable in colored pencil or watercolor.


OMG she didn't get permission from the copyright owners. I can imagine the upset this will cause.

For the record I think they are quite beautiful.

Microsoft Photosynth is working the differences as well as the similarities of photos people turn it loose on, which is sometimes quite interesting or useful. It would be a very interesting way to browse for a photo of a location, if it synthesized a big enough range of photos.

And the "Kodak Photo Spot" idea has been around for decades. (I remember it as "Kodak Picture Point"; maybe there have been different programs, over the years?)

Checking, my 1964 photo of the Parthenon is not from anything like the angle in Corrinne Vionnet's combined image. From what I can see in her image, most tourists are picking a better spot than I did in 1964 (I must point out that I was 9 years old then).

Does combining hundreds of bad photos make a good photo? More to the point, does it make art? I vote no.

If you are interested in this you should check out work by antonio torralba: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/vision/TinyImages/

IANAL and have no comment on copyright in this case, Mr Mills's comment implies that Creative Commons images are free to use as one pleases and without attribution to the original content creator (ie. photographer of each photo). This is not the case.

There are multiple Creative Commons licenses. Most popular ones prohibit commercial use but require attribution. In fact, all CC licenses require attribution.

The only widespread "license" in use which allows (almost) all use without attribution is public domain. Almost meaning some usage is proscribed, such as demeaning or offensive use of recognizable people.

More information at http://creativecommons.org/

Ms Vionnet's composites are very beautiful, even haunting. They remind me of century-old photographs taken with some very soft glass which has barely survived the years.

I confess, the thought of the whole copyright issue had not passed through my mind. Worth a debate, although I have nothing worthwhile or experience to contribute.

The single image of Stonehenge in her portfolio is possibly forgiveable for the 2-300 tourist snapshots she used to composite her image: it is taken from about the one single place that English Heritage allow you to take an unobstructed picture. Honestly, a photographer at Stonehenge these days is like a plate of sushi going around on the little conveyor belt - quick quick, there's another coach load two minutes behind (we had a good discussion about this on the Taos Church post a couple of months ago).

ATTENTION! Reading this post we're agreeing to terms and conditions listed in postscript. If you do not agree with any of those terms you must not read this post.

I don't care (well, I do care but not in this post) on legal stuff re copyright - I just would like to say that it's an excellent idea to publish those merged photos! Damn I love it! It's pretty obvious that most tourists make about the same pictures, but seeing the proof... Seeing is believing and a picture is worth a thousand words - indeed!

And I'm also glad to find out that I DID NOT take those pictures of Giza pyramids when being to Cairo, my shots are out of the mainstream. Nor I ever shoot Saint Basil that way you (Moscow guests) do. Yo, I'm cool!


I authorize those, who read this post of mine, to quote it and freely reproduce on other physical and/or electronic resources as is with the following exceptions allowed:
- that last exclamation mark can be replaced with a question-mark
- some amount of smileys can be added, but not more then a teaspoonful
- this post can not be reproduced in a commercial (profit-oriented) product of any type


I don't know, it looks like someone mounted a lensbaby backward and then shot it through a coke bottle....

Interesting idea.... for a moment there I thought I didn't have my contacts in!

I would never have imagined something like this would stir up such anger.
I find it a bit precious that anyone would bother with protesting these images based on copyright. Do they look like any other photo you've seen? No? Or yes, they look like 300 other photos taken from the same spot?
You can borrow parts of other art to construct new art. That's moral.
I have more of a problem with some photographers shooting other artists work and not really leading the viewer to a better experience of the work (be it sculpture, paintings, sketches, magazines etc).

Jeez, a number of those who commented have very fixed ideas about what may "legitimately" constitute "art." Forget for the moment whether you love or hate the images presented here, do you think that the overall work is different than or identical to any one of the images used. It seems quite clear that it is different. As such doesn't this qualify as an original work? It seems clear to me that it does. I've have tourist shots similar to a couple of the images. Fine with me if Corrine used one of them. The final result is entirely different from my intent and actual photo. The cases on derivative versus transformative art fall on a vast continuum, but this one seems to clearly fall on the far end of the transformative end of the scale.

Voinnet's images are art. In fact they're great art, because great art provokes and this project clearly has.

I think the objections of some commenters, "Copyright! What if the artist used one of my photographs without my explicit permission?!" demonstrate how successful the work is. I suspect those dismissing these works feel defensive in the face of one of the points the work makes, that we live in a culture of homogeneous experience and imagery. Being reminded how ordinary most of our existence is is never comfortable and can threaten our sense of our own value (in defense of which, we defend our photographs!).

We sign up for similar tours, get herded around the same landmarks, and take the same pictures. It has always been thus, since the days of shrines and pilgrimages. This is how mass society works. Flickr just makes it easier to see, as does Voinnet.

Aside from the environmental effects of global tourism, I think the plethora of photos taken of the Parthenon and the Taj Mahal are a wonderful thing. These are great pieces of architecture that represent great human achievement, teach us about history, and about other cultures. We live at a great time, when so many can experience the power of such places themselves.

Mike, your featured comment reply about "fair use" is spot on, and I wish more people would read that over and over until they get it.

I find this type of work often fascinating, provocative and sometimes beautiful. I rather like these examples. As to the copyright issues raised, my non-expert opinion is that these would fall under the fair use category. Here is some information about it.
From the web site: http://www.onlineartrights.org/issues/sampling-and-appropriation/basics

"The fair-use defense is built into copyright law to allow creative people to build on others’ work without having to obtain permission. This defense is complicated because the court is required to consider four separate factors on a case-by-case basis to decide whether a particular use is fair, meaning that it may be difficult to predict the outcome of a case ahead of time...."

[John went on to quote such a long passage from the cited website that it is probably a copyright violation and not Fair Use. I have opted to err on the side of caution. For the complete explanation, please go to the link. —Ed.]

Whether or not Ms. Vionnet's images are art is up to the viewer. I found them more an interesting comment on tourism and the way people take tourist photos as almost a subconscious rite of passage, than aesthetically captivating images.

They did bring to mind another artist who does something similar; Idris Khan's work comprises digital photographs that superimpose iconic text or image sets into a single frame. At a group show at Contact Photography Festival (Toronto Canada) I came across a few of his prints including: “every… page of the Holy Koran". He scanned every page of the Koran and then combined them into one image.
This is a very interesting concept which seems to almost bring together the idea of motion film and still photography unto a single point of time and space.
Some of his other work involves combining multiple images from the iconic architectural work of the Bechers.
Here is a link to some of his images:



On the topic of tourist photos repeated to infinity, a number of years ago I was walking around the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and I kept finding these signs -- sponsored by Kodak -- with a camera icon on them. The idea was that the signs indicated where to stand to take a photo of the stadium. I was horrified! Talk about reducing photography to the level of paint-by-numbers!

I'm like Mike Allen; I turn 180 degrees from that stuff.

I think we're following in the path of network television. Photographs of even the most exotic subject matter is now so cliche that we've turned to "reality photography" for something new. We've become the subjects. Photography *about* photography. We're a self-indulgent lot, making heroes of successful practitioners of our hobby, so why not ? First it was pictures of photographers carrying ludicrous kits, but now photographs of people taking snapshots with cell phones are part of every good photographers portfolio. So why not photographs that illustrate, via collage, what we shoot ?

More seriously, I agree with others who say the concept is clever, and I think it's well done; I also agree that the aesthetic element is lacking. The resulting images (photos ?) prove their point, but then so what ? And I don't think I could look at many of them. OTOH, I don't get tired of looking at Chris Jordans photos, which are based on a strong theme, but are individually more interesting to look at. (As an aside - how great is google ? I can never remember Chris Jordans name, so I typed in "photos of quantity showing consumerism" and the first hit gave me what I was looking for).

It took me a while, but it's as if I'm seeing the centuries of history of these glorious structures pass by in a blur.

Going against the grain, I actually think the image of the Parthenon is quite aesthetically impressive. I'm sort of extrapolating from the thumbnail, but I'd bet a full-size print of that image could reward quite a bit of concerted attention.

I like the image of St. Basil's quite a bit less, and I think the difference is in the choice of "anchor points," or points that all of the constituent photographs have in common. The Parthenon image is loosely anchored to the top leading corner of the building, and the ghostliness overtakes the structure in a sort of pleasing fan shape. The St. Basil's image, on the other hand, is very strongly anchored to the topmost dome and the cross. This makes the blurring increase in a much more bland and linear fashion as the eye moves down the image.

I'd be interested to see the same technique applied to other cliched perspectives. One could probably layer 200 Flickr photos of the Lincoln Memorial on top of each other without any appreciable blurring, while 200 layered shots of the Jefferson Memorial might just produce a pinkish blur of cherry blossoms.

I like the images a lot. I can feel traces of people posing in the foreground, accidental bystanders, and the shifting vantage points. I find the images very interesting--my eye searches for details to hang onto, but never quite finds them.

The techniques reminded me, by way of opposites, of Hockney's Pearblossom Highway, which is filled with exquisitely crisp details but has no famous landmark in sight...


I'll chime in on the side of thinking that these are fantastic, artistic derivatives of the hundreds of pieces she constructed them from. I find them both fascinating and beautiful - I wish I'd thought of it!

I too, am entirely convinced by Ms Vionnet's concept. It makes you think about many things, not least the position of the digital photograph. At the risk of inducing barely stifled yawns and the rolling of eyes, I also think there is a link between this and Susan Sontag's ideas about the photograph becoming a substitute for reality. Here we have the idea of shared reality/memory as well. And the iconic views are perhaps even more familiar than the straight versions. Curious for someone like me who has only personally visited one of the places on show - and yet recognises all of them.

I actually quite like the images visually, mainly because the technique seems to have manufactured a visual style, reminiscent of multiple transparent watercolour washes. That however is all beside the point.

Copyright and fair use as explained by Disney's own animated characters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJn_jC4FNDo

'Fair use'.

What a strange use of the word 'fair'.

On flickr many photographic artists create 'textures' for the specific use for others to incorporate into 'collages'. They usually ask that they get an acknowledgement for this. Some of them actually specify that the 'textures' must not be used for any commercial work without specific permission.

But is the consensus here that 'fair use' means such requests can be ignored and the 'textures' used with impunity?

Even if this is the case then any Artist failing to respect the wishes of the original Artist loses my respect.

The law may be the law but morals are something else.


Fascinating - the pictures as well as the discussion. I am convinced in this case no copyright is being violated. Apart from that, I must say I have always found it a bit presumptuous to copyright photo's that are really not more than a standard xerox of nature, monuments & cetera. But I realise that is a very large subject and a minefield as well ...

Jesse's photography feels like a modern-day permutation of the Dusseldorf school. Very cool!

I really like these images - reminds me of Winogrand's quote, "We know too much about how photographs look."

Mike, "Fair Use" is not a global copyright clause, it is US specific, so how does that relate to the global wide grabs that this artist is doing, who is Switzerland based? Just asking.

On the power of multiple images, then the work of Jean-François Devillers http://www.jf-devillers.com/ and in particular his flesh and Tchernobyl series should be of interest!

There's such a range of influences in his work, from Hockney to Idris Kahn.

Of course these photographs are 'art'. Whether they are good or bad art is much more subjective.

Many people don't seem to understand what good art is all about. It's not about what a piece looks like or how clever it is in its construction - it's about what it makes you feel and think.

For me these capture the idea that although the landmark buildings remain relatively unchanged, when you add the 4th dimension of time into the equation each individual experience of them is subtely different. And the 'reality' of that landmark is a sum of those experiences. It's a beautiful concept and to capture it so effectively is admirable.

It's amazing to me what some people have the time to get upset about, but I love any post that prods the shade-tree attorneys to chime in. I think it's a clever idea. We've all done what Vionnet is poking fun at. As photographers, I think we could all learn to laugh at ourselves a little more, and not always be so eager to jump behind the ethics podium at every opportunity.

Since this is conceptual art in that the explanation carries about as much weight as the actual work, think of how much more texture it would have if each image was accompanied by a list of all the photographers who participated and from where they came.

Lots of variations on this possible, same scene at different times of day, or week, or year, before and after construction, same street corner 5 years apart, etc. Neat stuff.

On photographers taking the same or similar images. Every one has seen photos from Bosque del Apache Wildlife Reserve. The hilarious photo is from the bird's point of view, hundreds of photographers, shoulder to shoulder, taking similar shots.

I'm a U.S. citizen based in the U.S., and not an expert on copyright. So my comments should be taken as reflective of my understanding of the rules under which I live and work, and shouldn't be construed as expert legal advice in any case.


A similar technique is being applied by photographer Mike Mike in his Faces of Tomorrow project. But instead of layering multiple shots of the same place, he's layering multiple portraits of different people into an 'average person' for each region that he visits. Interesting stuff.


At last! Photographs I can appreciate without hunting for my reading spectacles.

Mike, thanks for editing my comment so that I am not in violation of fair use while trying to explain fair use. Like I said I am no expert but you are for sure. One more thought about the type of art that started this conversation, I would't mind having a boring travel photo (something I have in excess) that merited no real discussion sampled/appropriated for use in creating something people were passionately examining. In this case it seems the artist was successful in getting people to look, feel and think. That is what art does and so many boring travel photos don't.

As far as the images themselves, I think this may be a case, in my aesthetic opinion, of a really, really cool idea which just doesn't work very well in practice. I think the idea is fabulously interesting and a great what-if. It's just that the answer to "what if?" in this case is, "Well, nothing much, for the most part." I can believe that this might sometimes produce something really cool, but it would be random chance, kind of like how even a mediocre photographer will produce the occasional stunner if you give him enough flash cards. (You lookin' at me? You LOOKIN' at me? You lookin' at ME?)

As far as the copyright issue, copyright infringement is always and everywhere a question of fact: as was pointed out, only a court can really determine whether an infringement has occurred and, if so, whether or not the infringement was a Fair Use. (If you take nothing else from this post, take this: Fair Use is a DEFENSE. If you have to cite Fair Use, you are essentially admitting that you have infringed.)

I'm an attorney who's administered both patent and copyright suits. Based solely upon what I read in this article, I wouldn't take a hypothetical case against the compositing argist, and I'd advise any potential bringer of an infringement case that they would be extremely unlikely to obtain any meaningful judgment against the compositing artist. (I wouldn't consider these collages, by the way. But we already had that argument.)

This is a brilliant use of current existing technology. These images actually portray more closely how our memory works than any single image can. Our lives are simply an average of what we felt while we observed life around us. Details are important but our human storage device, our brain, simply cannot store and retrieve all of the sensory input we take in. In my humble opinion this is Art and Science collaborating in a most profound way.

By the way, I shouldn't have said "I wouldn't consider these collages" right after my law comments. This kind of thing is often called a collage in a copyright context. I meant in the more general sense of what is a "collage" versus a "composite." If you think those two terms are not exclusive in this sense then my distinction is not important.

To me if you can't identify the individual elements it's not a collage of those elements. If I take a comic strip, stretch it in one dimension and shift all the colors, then put bits of it on my artwork, it's an element of collage despite extensive transformation and a question of copyright may arise. If I take it and run it through a dozen random Photoshop filters and get some abstracted blurs that no human being could ever reasonably suspect was once a comic strip, it isn't and it shouldn't. The technique here, while its end result is much closer to any given element than my example, is more like the latter than the former in my opinion.

Wow! Thanks that was one of the best columns and comments you have wound up with in awhile.
I liked the work. For me it was a mix of an Orton effect and an impressionist painting all in one.

I would just like to add, that perhaps one should not put anything in the internet that you fear losing control of.

San Diego, Ca.

For those interested in the discussion of copyright infringement in this situation... If, instead of creating a digital composite, the artist had printed the images, made those prints into a paste, then sculpted a papier-mâché model of the original subject, would that have made any difference, legally? In both cases, no individual original image's contribution to the product is discernible, after all.

@ Adam Lanigan: "(Mike Mike is) layering multiple portraits of different people"

I'd forgotten all about this, but we did something similar in school in science. (This was in about 1972-4) 35mm slides were taken of straight on head shots, the eyes being positioned in the same place for each photo. Two or three weeks later the slides were back and with two projectors we superimposed pairs of pictures, sometimes to great comic effect.

We also did the trick where you take three prints of a straight on headshot, one of which is printed back to front. You cut the back to front shot and one of the others down the middle of the face, and swop halves round to produce three pictures. There's one made of two right sides, one of two left sides, and the original one you didn't cut up. You end up with three different faces. This also caused us amusement, but little things please little minds.

By the way, it was almost exactly a year ago that we were discussing the taking of similar pairs of photos by two professionals, in The Case of the Copycat Photographer:


Brooklyn photographer Dalton Rooney experimented with the same basic idea. he came up with some interesting shots. Most of these (all?) are compilations of shots found on Flickr from other photographers.

Thirteen Views of Yosemite Valley (this image is creative-commons non-commercial, so hotlinking it ought to be fine)

Wonderful stuff, especially as it is such food for thought and argument.

Having just come back from Yosemite over the long weekend and seeing all those tripods sitting in tripod holes waiting for sunset this hits a strong chord with me.

What does an image say when the photographer is just an 'operator' that stands in the same place as everyone else and just presses the button? Is it art? To me Corinnes images speak strongly about this weird social phenomenon of us all doing the same thing, yet thinking we are unique. I see these pictures as a kind of Martin Parr plus the element of time, where the activities are repeated endlessly.

To me her images are definitely transformations from snapshots to art, that says something. I think she even manages to make them speak louder than the automatic version by Photosynth. But this is all just my opinion of course.

Food for thought, as art should be.

Dear Steven,

Sorry, I am not enough of a copyright expert to have an answer to that question. I think it is a very good question, though, and no doubt there is a legal answer.

What the consensus here thinks doesn't really matter; Fair Use is a matter of law, not a vote by the visio populi.

I don't feel ethically obliged to follow all artists' wishes. I have known of artists who objected to their work being used for educational or critical analysis and commentary (clear Fair Use cases). So far as I'm concerned, they're being asses; I'm not bound by either law or ethics to follow their wishes.


Dear Hans,

You misunderstand something about copyright. In all countries whose intellectual property laws follow the Berne Convention (that includes yours), you don't act to copyright your photos. As soon as you make them, you hold a copyright on them; it's an inherent and inalienable right that comes with the creation of the work, no matter how minor or banal.

You can choose not to enforce those rights, but they automatically exist. No presumption on your part involved.


Dear MarcW,

For what very little it's worth, I agree with you. I think these are composites rather than collages, artistically. I don't think that makes a difference copyright-legally (and I could very well be wrong about that) but, yes, like you I was using “collage” for the sake of legal discussion.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

In an interesting twist on the recent discussions on survivability/preservation: Out of the two links supporting last years post on David Burdeny, mentioned in Roger Bradbury's featured comment above, none is still available...

I like Corinne's work. I know a French chap, one M. Monet, a bit of an artistic literalist, who's looking for a new take on a very tired view of Rouen Cathedral. Think I'll send him the link.

Mike, I am aware that you are in the US ;-) I think you were missing my point though. Quoting a US aspect of law is irrelevant when the artist in question and (most likely) a vast majority of the people whose photos have been appropriated, will be operating under other laws. Although it could mean that American tourists who have had their photos used wouldn't be able to sue i guess.

I'm looking at these photos in a similar way to Bruce Gilden's work, The output is interesting but I have issues with the way its created.


heads up http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/feb/24/sohei-nishino-diorama-maps#

A Japanese Photographer doing collages from his own photographs ... tons of them!

Difficult to appreciate the detail in the images here .... but they do look awesome.


Dear Mark,

So go look up the copyright law in Switzerland as regards collages and constructs. That would be the most relevant.

Yes, in some other countries, a photographer could sue in their home country. Good luck on them ever collecting. A pointless exercise in legal futility. Almost, but not quite, as futile as trying to prove that one particular photograph was used in her constructs. Really, I do not understand the folks who are acting like the copyright issue has any remotely practical import in this case. God knows, I'm a fiercer defender of IP rights than most folks… but ya gotta stay real. It feels like watching a customer pick up an ordinary penny from the floor in a restaurant and going all ballistic on them because they pocketed it instead of turning it in to the host in case the original owner came back looking for it.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Hi Mark, I guess there are quite a few of us doing that sort of work then. Here's my own : http://www.behance.net/gallery/Such-a-blur/832108


While everyone is getting distracted by copyright issues, no one seems to have hit upon the bigger conceptual problem here: the composite works are too perfect. The images in the composites have obviously been selected by a human for their similarity to some archetypal image---and then scaled/cropped/aligned accordingly. We've all been duped.

Rather than testing a hypothesis like "Most Tourists Take Pictures from the Same Spot" as either true or false, Vionnet openly admits to fabricating the data to support her hypothesis.

Exhibit A: http://www.google.com/images?q=parthenon
Exhibit B: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=parthenon&w=all

Of course Vionnet is an artist not a scientist, so this is OK, but it creates the false illusion of uniformity in order to...what? I'll leave answering that as an exercise for the reader.

Anyway, I think the final products would have been a lot more interesting had they been algorithmically generated. Or even just randomly generated.

But, when you go to these iconic places, like with the Acropolis, there is only one entrance and one entrance gate - both ancient and new. Walk a few yards up and, click, that is The shot. So, of course, we all take it. Same for many of these places. Wherever the camel, bus, or tour guide drops you off and if it looks iconic, the picture is taken.

A TED presentation from 2007 of the Microsoft effort mentioned by some others.


If you get tired by the computer talk - just jump to 4:00 into the video.

"This is a reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral that was done entirely computationally from images scraped from Flickr. "

and this:

Thank you for this nice article. We selected it as one of our "Five to Read" on the World Wildlife Fund Travel Blog this week (http://www.wwfblogs.org/travel/).

egal issues apart (which are boring IMHO), how refreshing this kind of imaging is! The world of photography is full of prejudices, and this is a breathe of fresh air.
I have been following the outstanding work of Pep Ventosa for a couple of years now. It can be seen here: http://www.pepventosa.com/gallery.html?folio=&gallery=the%20collective%20snapshot

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