« The Sound of Ansel Adams | Main | Would You Work for $13.70 an Hour? »

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I can't help but think that the concept sucks. I look at those photos and imagine the print, painting, whatever not being there and seeing a really intriguing, involving and interesting photograph of people in their surrounds. In so many ways, what an absolute waste of an opportunity.

here's a serious question for Mike and everybody else knowledgable:

Can painters generally get away with copying somebody else's photographs and sell it as original art? It seems to me a clearcut example of plagiarism.

(I guess the same goes for photographers, as with the guy who photographed the Marboro Man ads.)

Friedlander is one of my few heroes. He is one of the few working much more with the IMAGE than with subjects. His photos looking through trees have me breathless.

I was never a big Friedlander fan, until he took up the 2 1/4. He now seems a man afire doing the best work of his entire career- even his recent 35mm work on mannequins. And I had no idea, none whatsoever that he did all his printing!

I'm going off on tangent, since this comment is not about Friedlander, but your posting of the painter's copy of a Friedlander photo reminded me of the opposite: photorealistic painting. Take the work of Richard Estes (vimeo.com/99878549). He even simulates depth of field effects. Or Bert Monroy (bertmonroy.com) who does it all in Photoshop. I'm not sure what to make of it. The technique snd skill displayed are marvelous, but shouldn't a painting (or a photo) be more than about technique? I guess maybe if the images are engaging, that's all that matters; not how they are created.
Warhol, I think I understand.

Dear Eolake,

Under US copyright law, broadly speaking, the answer is no. The written law and the case law on this is extremely clear: simply changing the medium does not create a “new” work as defined by the copyright law–– it is merely a derivative. All derivatives are owned by the original copyright holder.

To create a new work that is not simply plagiarism, there must be something genuinely transformative in the creation. Exactly when that occurs is, of course, subject to judgment and debate, and there are 10 or a dozen different legal points one may “score” a work on to help decide if it fits the definition of transformative. A perfect example of a work that fell smack dab in the middle was the posterized Obama “Hope” poster. It would have been great if that had gone to trial, because it fell almost midway on the scale between wholly new and totally derivative, by those metrics. You could make a great case either way. A court ruling would have helped decide where the line was. Unfortunately, the artist tainted the whole process by falsifying evidence for the trial, thereby destroying the possibility of any useful outcome.

But, merely taking a photograph and rendering it as a painting (or sculpture, or silkscreen, or whatever) is absolutely not a new work––it is derivative and is plagiarism if not done with the permission of the photograph's copyright holder. And, no, in case someone wonders–– the act of rendering it in a different medium is NOT considered “commentary” or “critique” or anything else that might qualify it as a new work or protected as Fair Use. That one's been tried in court, too. It doesn't pass the sniff test.

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

13th Jan 2015

"Dulwich Picture Gallery experiments with 'fake' painting."


With my particular starting point for photography, there was a time when I didn't "get" Friedlander. Then I had a chance to see a few shows in a short period of time as some pretty good museums and it hit me what a brilliant see-er and wonderful wit he is.

Why is no one talking about the significance of the Wolf photos? About the Chinese cultural norm that copies every original thought produced elsewhere, from pianos to photographs? Mr. Wolf has documented a strange and intriguing aspect of this commercialized society.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007