Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who's Art is it Anyway?

I am a great believer in copyright, but sometimes things get fuzzy, especially when it comes to photography and the use of photo reference. It's not a problem for me, most of the time, as I use my own photo's & imagination, with exceptions of looking up anatomical details, proportions and other factual matter.
I've been on two weeks holidays, and I took a lot of pictures (300+), most of them purely awful photographs, but potentially useful as reference. Since I don't paint in any kind of photo-real mode, I don't require a bang up awesome photo to start with, just something to jog the memory and give me the basic facts but it's a load of boring repetive trees, rocks, and waves to slog through.
One of the potential paintings (I have enough ideas to keep me going for months) is a 'standing stone' (not shown). I've actually wanted to do a series of stones in their environment, but this one certainly didn't arrive in it's position naturally; when I do a painting, based on my photograph, who's art will it be?
Here's another one. And nope, no painting planned for this one. In this case, the 'art' is obvious. If you want to see it, you need to walk the Chickanishing Trail in Killarney Provincial Park. It's at the furthest point on the trail, and you need to walk the shore at the wave-line to see it (look backwards). I'm not sure if the 'leaf' will last the winter as it's peeling. Unlike graffiti, which I find jarring, I found this surprise to be quite beautiful, and enhancing. It is in harmony with the surroundings. In this case, I simply would not do a painting as this is a work of art.
On the other hand, in the case of the standing stone, I consider an unfinished inukshuk to be fair game to the artists eye.
Nothing is ever quite black and white.
If anyone knows the artist to be given credit to this maple leaf, I will gladly do so. Thanks 'anonymous' for a spot of beauty & insight on the rocks.


Jenn Jilks said...

Beautiful art work! I just take photos!

Thank you for visiting My Muskoka !

I agree with you on copyright. I often take photos of art, try just to celebrate, rather than steal images. I know, having written a book myself, that getting media attention is impossible unless you are a big name, or have a big name publisher.

Chrissy said...

I hope you had a lovely holiday :-)
I agree that the lines can get quite blurred. I even find myself at times wondering if it is ok to take a photo of some things, I just try to provide the artists details whenever I can...

kaslkaos said...

Hi Jenn, you have a nice blog!
Go on taking photo's of art. Copyright rules expanded to automatically protect all works of art, but creates some confusion (like my post). Honestly, I'm no lawyer, but, fair use would include photos of art in context, your living wall, or a public place.
ps. lesson from the frozenbeneath billboards, 'know thy market'. I'm trying to figure out how to apply that myself.
Chrissy, thanks, & it was, my legs are only now recovering. As to copyright, as above, lots of myths. Common sense and courtesy would cover most of the grey areas. Snap away.


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