28 October 2009

Global Focus: Media and Communication Technology

Last week I was asked to speak on the copyright laws and rights for new media to the Global Focus: Media and Communication Technology class in the Graduate program at Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies. Other than the obvious honor in being asked to lecture on such a relevant and contentious subject in these times, I was also a bit intimidated at such a task. Where to start? Where to end?

There is really a loophole to every single law that is out there. Register your work with the copyright offices though the US government (Something I have done with many series of my photographs). It is inexpensive and fairly simple to do, though once this task has been completed.. there are a few things that need to also be considered.

  1. The creator is not always the owner of the copyright. For example if this media was created on a school campus, or it was created at a company, the school or company may own the rights to this media.
  2. To actually take action, the first thing the owner should have is their work registered with the copyright office (this is where the ® comes from). They also they copyright information "copyright - year of publication - name". In my case.. ©2009 elisabeth neville and I may or may not add the ® depending on if the specific series HAS been registered with the copyright office yet.
  3. There is the "orphan works law" which is still pending, as of 2008. If someone uses someone else's media, and shows that they have made enough effort to look for the owner's permission but has not found them, they all bets are off. What is enough effort? That is an objective question. I could Google® somone's name, call the first phone number I find, realize it is a wrong number, write down 5 more Google® searches and that may be considered enough of a search.
  4. The laws that apply in the USA with copyright, do not necessarially apply in any other country. I may have all of my artwork copyrighted and registered in USA under the copyright office, but if someone in Iran surfs the web, finds an image, downloads it and uses it in a compaign, I could TRY to fight it, but chances are, our government will have absolutely no leg to stand on there.
YouTube is an entirely separate subject. This is a site where there is the capability to post video, audio and any number of other new media and link to it and repost it and add it to your own site. Should there be questionable content in this posted media, such as a recording that is already owned by a recording studio, then it is immediately pulled down and the poster is alerted to the reasoning.

Here is where, one of the loopholes comes into play. Should this SAME sound track be edited, or a certain about of time (possibly seconds, I do not know the laws of the Amer Music Assoc), or it is spun differently and it is put onto the same audio or video that was previously posted, it may be approved. Why is this? It is now.. LEGAL. Why? It has been edited, and it no longer is the same piece o new media that was copyrighted. (loophole). This would be why, upon surfing that site many times there are funny clips, for example the audio clip of President Obama supposedly calling Kanye West an idiot (or whatever he called or did not call him). As fast as a few people possibly downloaded it and heard it and passed it around and the White House intern was fired, the sound byte was taken down. Whatever office it leaked out of made the legal request, and YouTube as quickly took the link down. With this, they are complying. No legal action need happen.

So, long babling story short... yes, I am at the end.. What did I learn? Copyright laws scare the heck out of me and make me VERY paranoid about every piece that I put out on the web. Every peice I put in a show, and someone could bring a camera to. But do I assume that I am so famous, and good that they would be trying to sell it? NO. I am not so Narcicistic. But, I am finally beginning to feel the paranoia that others have felt for years.

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26 October 2009

Taking Stock in it

I have now found myself in a different place. I have moved to the world of Stock Photography. My work may be found for purchase. TheMedicalFile.com or PeterArnold.com will be selling my work for the next two years. (run a search for my name on either) How do I feel about that? That is a good question.

If it was badly, then I would not have done it. Purely and simply put. But, it is a strange idea to have people shopping on a site, mulling over images that I created as an art form in the same fashion one would a melon in the local grocery store. Nah.. that one is too firm at the navel.. that one is too soft.. I cannot smell the fruit.. and so on.

Why do I feel it is a good thing? I need the exposure. I am making a real go at the photography "thing". It has been in my blood since the first time my dental hygienist brought me in to "help" her process the images of my 4 yr old teeth. Ohhh Mary Jane. The days of playing with and sometimes jamming my father's cameras. This is what I want to do!

The contact was a woman I met through social networking.. Linkedin. I joined a group of Women in Photography, and asked for some feedback on my website redesign. From this I got a great critique. Most of which I worked on and made some changes and updates and I feel they will benefit me in the end. But, Social networking to the positive, one of the women from this group happened to be form The Medical Files site, and she enjoyed my "expecting" series on my site. I have to say.. Where I was VERY against social networking and thought it would never catch on, much like those new fangled microwave contraptions, I find myself eating my socially networked words.

If starting with stock, is where I start. With a company such as Peter Arnold and The Medical Files behind me, then I think that is pretty great. Which pictures did I use for this? See below.

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20 October 2009

Simple Color Portrait

A friend of mine asked me to shoot her portrait, and she wanted a simple image. I got my lights and white background and went down to my little "studio" and set up. A couple of things I needed to work on was shooting on a white background and also shooting in color, and also not going for the moody lighting. I so enjoy the moody lighting.

One of the things that I have found to work the most with my portraits is having the model there while I set up. During this time I am able to talk and get to know them more and get more of a feeling for what they really want. In
this situation, it was actually a friend of mine so I set up prior to her arrival. This was a shoot working on color more than the capturing of the being, since I know this being.

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Eugene Richard

I am very excited to be able to hear a wonderful speaker, Eugene Richard. Since joining the ASMP New England. (American Society of Media Photographers) I have had many opportunities to go to artists' talks, but this one is thrilling. E. Richard has a wonderful documentary eye that captures the honesty of the world, starting in Dorchester, MA. The first work of his I saw was his work called "Dorchester Days".

He documented the racially fueled times of busing which ultimately became the basis of Boston's reputation to this very day. I remember being in Atlanta and being asked how I lived in such a racist city. I thought.. aren't I in the south? I thought I was in the racist area NOW not when I am home..

E. Richard went on to document the plight of many more world wide and was determined to make sure the word was spread. his work is brilliant and very moving. I learn something new with every image of his I see. I think they are beautiful, yet at times I am brought to tears with what might seem to be a political bash over the head. I think the Eugene Richard talk should not be missed!!!

All images © Eugene Richards from ASMP New England Chapter Site

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17 October 2009

Artistic Love

There is much to be said for doing what you love. My father began drawing again and I cannot express how proud I am of his talent and his desire. It seems that no matter what he touches he seems to excel. With this, he has been going to Colorado to the J.D. Hillberry workshops. This man has such skill and realism that his illustrations are photographic like.

Recently I received an email alerting me to take a look at the student work .. and lo and behold what did I see.. Before and After work of the students' works. What student is one of them? My inner pride beams even more.. Yes, Joseph Neville is among one of the students. Not only is he one of the students, but he is shown multiple times. To see his work shown and to see that he is one of the best among many. Again.. my pride is busting out.

Now, this leads me to my next thoughts. Drawing an image to the point of realism vs photography. Which is considered to be more artistic? What is art? This also leads to the next question. Film vs Digital? I think these are the questions that I need to answer before I can move on. I think that is something that many are questioning at this point in time. Digital has such a stronghold on everything. I am not the first to come up with this question.

Here is an example of my father's work. Also, an example of my puppy Milo who I also love!:

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16 October 2009

The Medical File

This week is the week, my work goes up on "The Medical File" website. I have officially sold my work to a stock agency and it will be up for all to see. There is a small insecure piece of me that wonders if anyone will be interested in my work and want to purchase it. I think that they are nice images and that they show the model in a good light.

What makes a good image though? Is it the lighting? Is it just the subject matter? When it comes to stock images, is it a matter of my selling out? I would like to think that this is an expansion of my work, and that potentially I will have more exposure.

The pictures I used for these were the "expecting" series of images. The model was in approximately her 32 week and she is absolutely gorgeous when she is pregnant or not. The baby, a boy is also just as gorgeous. I have not had the opportunity to photograph him yet, but soon, soon I hope. All I can hope is this will open up some new avenues and not close doors. Upward and onward I say!

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15 October 2009

First post

I must say that as a first post I think I will write what I hope to achieve in both this blog and in the future. I am a portraiture and fine art photographer. What are my inspirations? Oh so many..
One of the first is sitting on the floor looking at the Vanity Fair portraits. All the beautiful actors and actresses. Posed, and also some in seemingly natural positions. I wanted to be one of the people who could capture that. I wanted to capture the essence of each person.

The irony of this, should you actually know me, is I am a fairly shy person. Sometimes taken as intimidating, and often covered with harsh sarcasm. People are a mystery and I enjoy watching from a far, but not necessarily engaging. Herein is the difficulty in capturing a true feeling and soul of each model.

I find my own emotions in each person and I engage in that fashion while drawing on their strengths and build a piece of beautiful art around them. In the end I find myself with almost anything. Sometimes a surprise.

Here I found rage, I found sadness, I found great beauty. This model brought out so many emotions in me that I found myself asking her to model for numerous different situations and shoots. The lighting was drawn from the lighting I loved of the 1940s and 50s. The original work and simplistic lighting used and seen in the Vanity Fair magazines that I had strewn all over my floor when I was younger. I must admit. I still now find myself on the site, or on a web browser searching for those images and clicking through them amazed at the beauty of them. Or in a book store purchasing books upon books only to pile them up in the corner of my studio. (Which is really just a small cramped room in my apartment filled with everything and ANYTHING I can get into it.)

What do I hope to accomplish in the future? My own style that still calls to the beauty of the Vanity Fair images. I want there to be a day when some young artist is sitting with books on the floor and wondering who is that photographer who shot that image, as I often do. What was the lighting and How can I reproduce it to get the dimensionality? What kind of props might I use to achieve this style yet make it my own?

As I go through these learning processes and potentially have the opportunities to meet other artists and see their work and have the opportunity to share upcoming shows. I will try to keep updated and share as much as I can.. I will leave this with an image that I have always loved and I found this morning during a random search online. The image is by Edward Steichen (1879-1973) who was a Pictoralist. He was known to have been a controversial artist for shooting his work for a more commercial purpose. He became one of the top/ lead photographers for Conde Nast and Vanity Fair. From this comes this image of Gloria Swanson. I think this is absolutely breathtaking and I remember attempting to emulate his style in highschool, yet failing miserably...

Edward Steichen (1879-1973), Gloria Swanson
owned by: Condé Nast magazines

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