The Creativity Challenge 4

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – CREATIVITY CHALLENGES

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This week I am facing the fourth one of those Challenges I found into Tanner Christensen’s book “The Creativity Challenge”. As what did for all previous experiments, I will try to provide a photographic interpretation of what asked so to challenge myself twice.

For this attempt, I randomly selected page 105, “Create a Mood Board”.

Activity’s description: “Consider the different elements of inspiration in your life and think of how you might gather and combine them in a digital or physical way. Grab photos, quotes of inspirations, colors, even sound bites or videos, and anything else you can use to inspire your brain, then combine them into a board you can reference for future ideas” (Christensen, 2015).

According to the Author, “Anything can spark your imagination” (Christensen, 2015) and this is why I decide, once more, to connect the experiment to my Major project at Falmouth.

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“Mood Board”, snapshots. Slideshow. ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

I have to admit that I interpret the word “Board” quite literally, as a wooden plank, but it was the most immediate way to display those objects and images I wanted to portray.

My Mood Board’s composed by three Polaroid films, from my project “I can hear you now – Objects and details”, that are part of a series I named “Rage on Polaroids”, created by directly scratching, rubbing and manipulating a package of eight expired Impossible Project’s films. Those images has been created out of my big frustration and anger in seeing that they were not working as they meant to do. Surprisingly, what sorted out was a perfect analog interpretation, in shapes and colours, of my feelings at that time: this is why I decided to include them into my work, somehow.

The object above, is a sculpture I own and that I portrayed for one of those mentioned “Details” photographed for my work: it represents who I am, what I feel and the fact that even if we have to handle a burden, it doesn’t mean that that “situation” can’t become a piece of Art itself.

Into the centre of the composition, there is a hand-made doily. My beloved grandma used to create many of them, and each time I see those handcrafts, they immediately brings me back to my childhood and its rare moments of true happiness. They recall in my mind those clumsy attempt to learn the technique she was using, her patience in teaching me and my amusement in trying, even if I used to fail all the times. I didn’t care. I was doing something with her: this fascinating and lovely woman. She was proud of each one of those deformed and ridicolous things (there is no other possible definition) I used to produce.

The three small images around that doily are small prints collected during the Paris Photo Fair. The one on the top is Jungjin Lee’s “Everglades #18 (Black Bird)”, the bottom one is Masao Yamamoto’s “#1027. Série Nakazora” and the one on the right is Ingar Krauss’ “Sans Titre, Jena”. These images have been created by artists who, for different reasons, have worked as inspirations for my project and that always can touch my soul each time I observe their productions.

On top-right of the “Board” there is a my phone, previously used to photograph page 71 of the French edition of Ransom Riggs’  “Miss Peregrine et les enfants particuliers”. In that image there is an hand-written inscription “Pour Jacob Magellan Portman, et les mondes qu’il lui reste à decouvrir”, that translated in English means “To Jacob Magellan Portman and those words he still have to discover” (Riggs, 2011). Into the book, this dedication was written by the protagonist’s grandpa and I feel it very close to my personal story, because I am sure that if my grandma would be still alive, she would wish me to go on discovering the beauty of the world. Moreover, this book has always been truly inspirational to me, since I would like to create something similar for my project by using those “Behind a scream” images I am currently creating.

The last object is a small old turnip pocket watch I bought in Hong Kong while living in China. Hong Kong is a place I constantly miss a lot, because, during those long two and a half years in Asia, it was the only place it always made me feel at home. Being a manual charge turnip pocket watch it’s not very useful to be used every day, of course, but still it has its importance in terms of “memories”: vital elements for the creation of my imagery.

 

References:

Boni Maurizio, Untitled, Handle on Rock, 2016, Sarzana, Liguria, Italy.

Christensen Tanner, The Creativity Challenge, 2015, Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts, USA. pp- 105.

Krauss Ingar, Sans Titre (série “Garten”), Jena, 2014, related web page on ParisArt website http://www.paris-art.com/garten-nature-morte/

Lee Jungjin, Everglades #18 (Black Bird), 2014, project on the Artist’s website http://www.jungjinlee.com/everglades/

Marconi Dayana, I can hear you now – Rage on Polaroid Films, project created in November 2016.

Riggs Ransom, Miss Peregrine et les enfants particuliers, 2011, French Edition, 2016, Librairie Générale Française, Paris, France, EU. pp 71.

Yamamoto Masao, #1027. Série Nakazora, 2003, limited edition, in sale on Artsy website https://www.artsy.net/artwork/masao-yamamoto-untitled-number-1027

The Creativity Challenge 3

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – CREATIVITY CHALLENGES

Hereafter, another one of those visual experiments I am randomly picking up from the book “The Creativity Challenge”, written by Tanner Christensen.

For this third Challenge, I selected Activity no.9 on page 20 of the book: “Flip it around” a very interesting activity since, as Christensen himself stated, “Doing so allows them (viewers) to see flaws and other easy-to-overlook details they couldn’t see after looking at the artwork right-side up for so long” (Christensen, 2015).

Challenge’s description: “Find a way to flip your work or perspective upside down today. Use a camera to shoot upside down, draw things upside down on paper, or physically sit upside down for a short amount of time. See what stands out as a result of the altered view”.

All my previous experiments linked to this book have been also linked to my Major project, somehow. With this one I opted to do the same even if in a more symbolic way. I decided to take a photograph I shot a few weeks ago and flip it upside down in post-production. I opted for a landscape since, in my opinion, natural environment can easily provide a completely different result by simply rotating a related image. In my project “I can hear you now” I want to portray the inner world of individuals by portraying their externalized emotions: the outside to show the inside, the tangible to portray the invisible. In this case I opted for the same procedure: by flipping the landscape around, I created a completely new world, a sort of hidden but parallel universe in which nothing is what it seems, like what often happens with human emotions.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset“The Upside-down”. ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

The final result is completely different from the previous one: sky becomes an ocean, clouds become waves, grass and plants become a sort of green cloud, almost a green ceiling, everything linked by the sea in the middle that seems a deep blue sky. It is like watching something into a mirror in which all details are the same if compared with the original image, but the final result is almost distorted, seeming almost slightly different in its parts.

 

References:

Christensen Tanner, The Creativity Challenge, 2015, Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts, USA. pp- 20.

Settimio Benedusi Photography to solve problems

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – INDIPENDENT RESEARCH

I recently bought three books of the collection “Maledetti Fotografi” that contains all their 2014, 2015 and 2016 interviews to famous international photographers: this is actually a great resource to me since it allows me to read their opinions related to different topics.

Into the 2015 book I found and interesting interview to the Italian photographer Settimio Benedusi, who was discussing the idea of Photography to solve problems. This was definitely something important to read in relation with my current practice, due to the fact that I am using this medium as a way to enhance a more open discussion about psychological and social problems, such as anxiety disorder, social anxiety, negative emotions and depression, in order to help myself, my sitters and, potentially, my viewers in overtake those feelings and situations through a “visual dialogue” that might generate a deeper sense of empathy among individuals. To me this is a way to help to solve those problems.

Benedusi is not only a commercial photographer, “to maintain myself” (Benedusi, 2017) as he says in his Bio: he is a journalist, a Photography professor at the IED Institute in Milan and successfully manages many workshops and seminars. In his 2015 interview he said that on Internet there is a lot of Photography, but that he is annoyed to see it used for futile reasons, just for aesthetic purposes and nothing more. He stated that being a commercial photographer his opinion might sounds strange, but that he believes that Photography founds its meaning when it serves a scope, when it is used to investigate the world: unless it becomes meaningless. Basically, he stated that also in his more commercial works he tries to provide viewers with the deeper meaning that he is portraying: no matter if he is shooting a beautiful model, an actress or a sport-professional.

Very interesting his 2009 work “Amnios”. It represents a sequence of nine images of a model emerging from the water, connecting concepts like sea, water and amniotic liquid to recreate a sort of rebirth. He exposed these images into a dark room, asking his audience to illuminate them with a flashlight: in this way viewers had an active role, transforming a simple exhibition into a more “collaborative” process. By enlightening those portraits they actually made the model rebirth, looking for her into the room, almost “re-photographing her” (Benedusi, 2009).

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Settimio Benedusi, “Amnios”, sequence of nine images, Slideshow, Exhibited at Fotoincontri, June 2009, 70×100 prints.  ©Settimio Benedusi, 2009.

Looking at this series I wondered how I would have faced the sequence and I realised that I would better represent what I am currently doing and myself, at the same time, by reversing it, by making the model disappear into the sea, probably photographed from behind. Something that I might consider to portray in the future, even if with a completely different style since Benedusi’s does not represent me as practitioner and individual. At this stage, I think, it is important to have a strong visual identity and these images would not absolutely match with mine.

He also made an interesting analysis related to the use of texts to support the photographic image since, he said, “We appreciate only what we understand” (Benedusi, 2015). He basically explained that a text can better define the subject matter, what the author has in his mind. I absolutely agree with his position, this is why I opted to support my imagery with texts to provide a stronger context of consumption to my viewers and allow them to deeper analyse what they are actually observing.

Lastly, he made and interesting observation: to photograph means solving problems, a photograph it is not simply a photograph itself, but to create such a thing we need a proper cultural background, to properly plan and to have a strategy. We need to understand what is behind a fact to represent it. Why do Benedusi words mean so much to me? Because he ultimately defined those intents behind my project “I can hear you now”, the research that supports it, the path I am undertaking, its collaborative approach and those meanings behind my collaboration with artists, psychologists and other professional to analyse and represent its subject matter.

 

References:

Benedusi Settimio, official website http://www.settimiobenedusi.com/

Benedusi Settimio, Amnios, Settimio Benedusi Photographer-Blog, June 2009 issue http://www.benedusi.it/blog/amnios/

Ratto Enrico, Settimio Benedusi: fotografare è risolvere dei problemi, Maledetti Fotografi, October 2015 issue  http://www.maledettifotografi.it/interviste/settimio-benedusi/

Ratto Enrico, Settimio Benedusi: fotografare è risolvere dei problemi, 2015, Maledetti Fotografi, 2015 Interviews’ Collection, Maledetti Fotografi, Italy, printed in Poland by Amazon Fulfillment. (Maledetti Fotografi: All rights reserved) pp. 17-22.

The Umbrella Revolution: when Social Media are used to fight for Civil Rights

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – REVOLUTIONARY MEDIA

During these weeks, we had the chance to discuss the power of Instagram, and Social Media more broadly, as tools for self-promotion. Online, there is plenty of examples of how successfully they worked to promote projects, artists or ideas.

Among others, one of the best model of an effective use of Social Media platforms used as a tool for self-promotion is the one made, in 2014, by the “Umbrella Movement” in Hong Kong. The Movement, formed by the pro-democracy groups Occupy Central, The Hong Kong’s Federation of Students and Love and Peace, and symbolically lead by the 17-years-old teenager Joshua Wong, started to fight the decision of the Chinese Government of placing limits in relation on who could have run for HK leadership in 2017 election. Hong Kongers have been promised with an Universal Suffrage and when they discovered the actual decision taken by the Mainland Government they started fighting for their civil rights by marching in the streets of Central area in the Island. Very soon, activists and students have been joined by thousands of citizens and the so called Revolution started.

What definitely “fueled” the protests has been the use made of Social Media: very soon on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter images of the protests started to circulate and while at the beginning only those posts containing words and tags like #hongkong, #umbrellamovement and #occupycentral have been blocked by the Chinese Firewall that controls all those contents that can be visible to Chinese citizens (Mainland only, not in Hong Kong, Macau or abroad), after one week all those platforms have been blocked in order to have the full control on the related news. Thanks to the great amount of images shared online by those protesters, the Revolution became more and more known in all the world and many articles have been written about the Movement and Wong, especially after he has been arrested for a short period of time. According to USA Today, in three days, September 26-29 2014, there have been more than 1.3 million of tweets about the protests and in the October of the same year, Wong became “The face of protest” on Time Magazine cover.

hk_2010wangcvr.jpg w=225&h=300

“The face of protest”, Time Magazine Cover, October 20, 2014 issue. ©Time Magazine, 2014.

As The Wall Street Journal said into an article published at that time, “Temporary tightening of social media censorship is common in China during protests or other politically sensitive events, such as the recent 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Some Western social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are blocked most of the time” (Rahman, 2014). So this is how powerful Social Media can be.

At that time I was living in China and since Facebook was already blocked, I was making a large use of Instagram to keep my family and friends updated about what was going on with my life there. I was surprised, then, when I realised that Instagram was not working anymore and so did Twitter. I tried to find out the possible reasons by searching on Bing.com (Yes, Google was blocked as well!), but I couldn’t find any: the only way I had to understand what was going on was to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to bypass “The Great Firewall” and to obtain those information. I had to admit that, as a western citizen quite “new” to that Country, I was absolutely surprised about what was going on there and I didn’t know how to react, even because all online communications inside China were monitored and everyone was basically panicking as soon as someone mentioned what was going on. Some friends coming back from Hong Kong have been blocked at the border as suspected protesters, every information was absolutely exaggerated or minimised: there was no chance to understand what the reality could have been if not having access to foreign Press. After a couple of years in China, now I understand more the need of the Government to monitor and control the information flow into the Country which is populated by billions of people and has a fast-pace economic growth: maintaining the social order with those given condition and the Chinese mindset might be “tricky” sometimes and this is why, I guess, they opted for a sort of iron hand.

Anyway, this is not the only example of how Social Media had a fundamental role in different contexts and to promote ideas, but I think that this is also a brilliant example of how powerful these tools are: both in the right or wrong hands.

 

References:

Bing, website https://www.bing.com/

Fern Tay Huey, Umbrella revolution: News stories buried, social media censored as authorities try to quell Hong Kong protests, ABC News, October 2014 issue http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-01/media-crackdown-on-umbrella-revolution-in-mainland-china/5783686

Perloff Richard M., The Dynamics of Political Communication: Media and Politics in a Digital Age, 2014, Routledge, New York, USA. pp-38, 41, 42, 43.

Rahman Abid, Instagram Blocked in China as Pro-Democracy Protests Continue in Hong Kong, The Hollywood Reporter, September 2014 issue http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/instagram-blocked-china-as-pro-737100

Umbrella Revolution, most popular posts on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/419244666/

The Creativity Challenge 2

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – CREATIVITY CHALLENGES

This week I decided to proceed with another visual experiment randomly picked up from the book “The Creativity Challenge” by Tanner Christensen. I linked the previous one, “Think Big to Small”, to my major project so, this week, while working on my tasks for my MA Photography at Falmouth, I decided not to do so but to portray something more linked to those problems behind its creation. My idea was to challenge myself in following instructions avoiding to look for a specific result, but to create something out of what it was already there.

Today I selected Activity no.69 on page 102 of the book: “Capture a moment of motion” and I found it ideal for what I am currently doing, since Christensen analyses those moments of motions as something that makes ideas feel alive. What the author is asking to the reader, with this exercise, is to focus on those moments of movement and see how static ideas connect with other ideas.

Challenge’s description: “Using your drawing tools of choice, try to capture all the details from a moment of motion. The moment you choose to draw can be anything, as long as it symbolizes the motion of action: cars driving by, someone running, the wind through grass, or something else” (Christensen, 2015). As previously defined writing about Challenge 1, I decided to use Photography in order to accomplish this task, also to experiment how the use I make of this medium can properly convey a message: this could be vital for the realisation of those images related to the project “I can hear you now” that I will insert into my Portfolio.

Swallowed_DSM-web

“Swallowed”. ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

Why did I chose to create this image? The challenge was to create a “static idea”, this is why I opted for a still image but, even if unrelated to my project, at the same time it can show what an individual might experience during a panic attack. Sometimes it is like being swallowed by the ground, the visual field starts rotating or waving while the body is basically paralysed. It is an unpleasant, almost nauseating, sensation and it is something often difficult to explain to anyone who never experienced such a feeling. This is why I decided to use photographic image to do so, because I think that visually communicating those perceptions might be crucial in order to open a more constructive dialogue around Anxiety Disorder and its consequences and related conditions. Of course, to properly represent this situation more than one image would be necessary, but since I had to complete this task I decided to start from this photograph and, eventually, reflect on how this point of view can be expanded in the future.

Using Photography to follow the provided instructions did not allowed me to modify the portrayed reality (while drawing it I would have provided a completely personal interpretation of what I was seeing), but, in the meanwhile, by moving my body re-experiencing that sensation I provided my personal point of view of what it was already there in front of my eyes.

What concerns me the most in creating images related to personal conditions, shared by other individuals, is how the message can be perceived. Can an image convey an univocal message? As Susan Sontag stated in her “On Photography”, “Socially concerned photographers assume that their work can convey some kind of stable meaning, can reveal truth. But partly because the photograph is, always, an object in a context, this meaning is bound to drain away; that is, the context which shapes whatever immediate—in particular, political—uses the photograph may have is inevitably succeeded by contexts in which such uses are weakened and become progressively less relevant” (Sontag, 1977). What does this mean? That my image can probably convey a message when a precise context is provided, when that context does not support my photograph anymore, there we have a potential lack of understanding and different interpretations can be provided. Personal and cultural backgrounds, the contexts of consumption, information provided all these and other elements can be crucial in the way we observe an image and, subsequently, how we perceive its meaning. This is why I opted to apply texts on most of the images produced for my project, because providing a starting point in the interpretation to give of a photograph might help the whole perception-related process, even if, sometimes, can be not enough.

 

References:

Christensen Tanner, The Creativity Challenge, 2015, Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts, USA. pp-102.

Sontag, Susan, On Photography, 1977,  Penguin London, UK. pp-91

The Creativity Challenge 1

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – CREATIVITY CHALLENGES

Throughout this module we will be asked to carry out activities from The Photographer’s Playbook. All of these activities are selected with the aim to make us think about our practice and where it might be positioned in a professional context.

The process started with the experiment titled “From Friday to Friday” in which I portrayed one week of my life in seven photos that represent who I am and, after I created them and wrote the related article, I realized I needed to challenge myself more in terms of creativity. I decided , then, to expand this creative experiments using the book “The Creativity Challenge” by Tanner Christensen. Christensen is a designer and creative strategist, founder of CreativeSomething.net in which he discusses the science and philosophy of creativity. His book contains a series of Creative Challenges that can be used when a creative person might experience a lack of inspiration, giving him/her the chance to analyse his practice, his life and the surrounding environment from different, and sometimes unusual, angles. There is no order to read this book: readers can browse it in the usual way, back to front or even picking up activities by opening a random page, which is what I am currently doing. What I applied to his book, then, was the use of Photography only to complete those tasks I will have to face from page to page: in this way, my practice would be more involved in the creative process and, maybe, some of those things I will create might be also used for my project “I can hear you now” in the future. As agreed with my Tutor Paul Clements, I will publish these small visual experiment as a Contextual Research that I will conduct during these weeks of Module 4 and that, in the future, could also be applied to my major project.

The first activity I decided to face is “Think Big to Small”, on page 19. “Pick something in your life that seems simple on its face. Make a list of everything that makes that thing what it is: list all the smaller parts, then the smaller parts that make up those smaller parts. See how microscopic you can get with the details” (Christensen, 2015). To complete each task, I decided to use the re-photography technique we experimented during Module 3 and to connect the images I have created to the one of my current practice, named “(In loving) memories far, far away”.

nonna2-montaggioscritte-web

“I can hear you now – (In loving) memories, far, far away”. ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

I decided to go closer to that image “of me as a child with my grandma, the woman who raised me since my mother was working very hard all the day to provide me with everything I needed” (Marconi, 2017), that portrays us with one of her beloved brothers. As required, while shooting I went closer and closer until, from a photograph placed into a domestic space, we can observe another domestic space; until from a family photograph we can observe the relationship between me and my grandma who was holding me with love and care. After this step, I decided to go further and focus on her figure, her face and, at the end, her smile: a present she always gave to me and one of those things I missed the most.

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IMAGE

“Creativity Challenge No.1, slideshow”. ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

As said into my previous article, analysing “(In loving) memories far, far away”, I usually bring this photograph everywhere I go each time I move from City to City, from Country to Country, this is why I tried to create different layers of realities and a subject matter into another. I decided to analyse not only “home” in its more general and common meaning, but also as the amount of experiences and feelings we collect during our lives, as a person who deeply loved me (and who I loved and still love her back) and the relationships we build, a smile, a symbol of that love that makes me a bit more comfortable everywhere even now, during my adult life.

 

References:

Christensen Tanner, The Creativity Challenge, 2015, Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts, USA. pp-19.

Marconi Dayana, Details, article on this CRJ, into the Sustainable Prospects – Project development section, October 2017 issue https://daybydaydayana.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/details/

Copyright infringement and derivative/transformative works

SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS – INDIPENDENT RESEARCH

During this Module, we started analysing concepts like “Copyright” and “Plagiarism” while discussing the trial case “Patrick CARIOU v. Richard PRINCE” related to the copyright infringement accusation claimed by Cariou Vs. Prince and the Gagosian Gallery. Most of us agreed that even if Richard Prince basically won the legal battle, his behaviour is far from ethically correct, since no matter if his work must be considered derivative or transformative: the fair and constructive way to create a work related to Cariou’s one should have been through communication. Prince should have had asked Cariou the permission to use his work and, over all, he should have had respected the original subject matter.

Said that, I made some researches and I could read that, according to Stanley Rowin, former President of the American Society of Media Photographers, “Although every original photograph you create is automatically copyrighted the instant the shutter is clicked” (Rowin, 2008) we absolutely have to protect our work and, again, “Whenever you take an existing image and modify it to create a different image, you are making a derivative work… The law holds that there can be original authorship if the derivative contains a significative amount of new material or is sufficiently different that it can be regarded as a new work… Even if your derivative work is entitled to its own copyright, you must reveal the work’s ancestry (Section 6a of Form VA, http://www.copyright.gov)…” (Rowin, 2008).

According to Richard Weisgrau and Victor S. Perlman, “The owners of copyrights in photographs and that are part of the bundle of rights that comprise a copyright have exclusive rights”, among others “To prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted photographs” (Weisgrau/Perlman, 2008).

Generally speaking, in my opinion if the original author believes that the original meaning of his/her work has been “disrespected” it’s his/her own right to do everything is in his/her own power to protect the original work, because even if we cannot copyright an idea, we can copyright our realization of that idea.

As said discussing the case mentioned above, I would be happy if one of my projects would work as source of inspiration for another artist but, at the same time, I simply think it would be unfair to copy an idea or a technique used creating something very similar but that does not respect those important aims and topics behind my work. I might not be a famous photographer, but I think that my work deserve enough respect to be, at least, indicated as source of inspiration for a derivative or transformative work made by another photographer.

In the past it happened that a photographer, who worked for me as assistant, published my project as her own and, thanks to witnesses and collaborators, I immediately discovered that fact and I firmly asked to remove her copyright statement on my work (which she did).

More recently, it happened to me to observe a work, that might be defined as transformative, a bit too similar to some images of the one I am currently creating and since, we can also read into the article “What is Plagiarism?”, published by the website www.plagiarism.org quoting Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “To ‘plagiarize’ means: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own, to use (another’s production) without crediting the source, to commit literally theft, to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source” (Plagiarism.org, 2017) and according to both US and EU Law the expression (and realisation) of ideas are Intellectual Property of their original creator (and according to the UK Law even a Photoshop technique, if it generates a too similar result due to a combination of precise elements, can constitute copyright infringement), I certainly did not appreciate the similarity to my project, which has a quite delicate subject matter. I have to admit that I felt disrespected as photographer and as individual and I also felt like, intentionally or not, my sitters have been disrespected as well. Would communicating what the intentions were while producing, and earning money in the meanwhile, have been enough to me? With some “adjustments” to make that transformative work, and its related research, a bit less “similar” and a bit more “transformative”, absolutely yes. I think that everyone should be free to express his/her own ideas, but in the full respect of others’, especially into an educational context such as an University. As we can read in the same article “Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources” (Plagiarism.org, 2017), so if more than simply in the technique used a work is too similar to another one, generally speaking, crediting as source of inspiration the original work would definitely avoid unpleasant situations.

Always according to what Weisgrau and Perlman, from ASMP, wrote in Chapter.5 of “Professional Business Practice in Photography”, “In order to prove an infringement, you need to show only two things: that the unauthorized user had access to your photo and that the unauthorized use bears a ‘substantial similarity’ to your photo” (Weisgrau/Perlman, 2008). What does this mean? That in a context in which it is easy to demonstrate that a photographer had access to our images (for instance, like on our CRJs, Photo-blogs, Discussion Forums on Canvas, working or educational environments or online Portfolios), like in both the personal cases I presented, it results also easy to prove that the artist who created a derivative or transformative work had access to those images and if that project, “potentially” inspired by ours, is too similar in its contents, argumentations and in the techniques used, then we have a potential case of copyright infringement and a more clear case of disrespect of our hard-work.

So what to do to protect out work? Personally speaking, I have been a bit “naïve” in the past, but now each time I publish an image, among other solutions: I write a very clear copyright statement that, alongside the date of publication creates an evidence, I never share original images, I always have analog or digital negatives, I always keep the SD cards that I used during the shootings which contains all needed camera-generated metadata, I always partially cut the original images before their publication (in order to have more pixels in the original file than in the one shared online), I use metadata to insert copyright information into the published images and, after I discovered there is no need to be an US Citizen to do so, I am managing to register my works at the Washington Copyright Office.

I think that in spite of what we can do to protect our work, there will be always photographers claiming that their work, even if very similar to ours, has been created with different aims and goals, but in that case, I think, it should be created with different techniques and details as well or, just for the love of the Photographic Community, crediting us as source of inspiration.

(A warm thank you to Mandisa Baptiste who made me buy the ASMP book: a very interesting reading that I recommend to anyone else who will read this article).

 

References:

Barrington D.B., Wallace J., United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. 714 F.3d 694 (2013), Patrick CARIOU v. Richard PRINCE, official Report, published online by Harvard University, 2013, USA https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/tfisher/cx/2013_Cariou.pdf

Rowin Stanley, Registering your work, in Professional Business Practice in Photography, Chapter 6, ASMP, 7th edition, 2008, USA. pp. 47-47.

(Unknown Author), published and credited as Plagiarism.org, What is Plagiarism?, May 2017 issue http://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism

Washington Copyright Office, USA, official website www.copyright.gov

Weisgrau Richard, Perlman Victor S., Understanding Copyright, Professional Business Practice in Photography, Chapter 5, ASMP, 7th edition, 2008, USA. pp. 33-46.