Thursday, June 13, 2013

Photography as Art

The internet, having a website, and access to Facebook, etc., has made it easy for artists to share and sell their work. For a professional photographer, the images posted are works of art. Our photographs are not just quick snapshots of friends, families, and vacations. We just don’t shoot a picture and post it. We are happy when someone loves our work and shares the photos; so helpful in getting our “names out there” and we appreciate that.

However, there are times when people will just take an image of an artist’s work to use for their own purposes without giving the photographer the credit. I don’t know if these people think that a photograph posted to Facebook means it’s free for the taking, so I thought I would share a few thoughts on the subject.

A lot of time is spent in the art of photography. Photographers develop their own styles and methods and nothing is “quick” about it. Some may spend all day in a shoot just getting one or two perfect shots. (And I do mean ALL DAY!) Others may work quicker in the field, but they all carefully study lighting, angles, and composition. A lot of thought goes into capturing that perfect picture and this takes time.

Back in the studio, it’s not just a quick import to the computer and posting to Facebook or websites. There are many options and different programs for photographers. Just because, for the majority, work is now done on the computer and not in a darkroom, doesn’t mean it’s fast and easy.

Time is spent in editing. Sometimes the camera and the computer don’t correctly capture the correct “real” color. If you are printing your own photos, the type of printer, ink, and paper determine how the picture needs to be adjusted. For instance, if I am printing cards or using matte paper in my Canon printer, I have to add more saturation to the image, but if I am printing on the HP printer using gloss or luster paper, I need a different balance of the color curve.

Sometimes there are flaws that need to be removed. The photo might need to be cropped to give a closer view. There are a myriad of things that need to be done to create a great photograph. Next thing you know, an hour or so has gone by and you’re still working on one or two photos.

The bottom line is that photography is not just a quick snap of the shutter and you’re done. A lot of time goes into creating a stunning photograph. For photographers, their work is ART and like other artists, photographers also put a piece of themselves into their work, so when we see that someone has “taken” one of our images and used it to their own purposes without permission or purchase, it’s heart breaking.
(Remember, this does not mean “sharing” our photos as long as the photographer is still getting credit.)

There have been a couple of instances where someone has downloaded someone else’s image onto their computers and done their own editing totally changing what the photographer intended. Maybe these people think they are enhancing the image, but it’s heartbreaking for the photographer to see it. Some photographers have even found their photos on other people’s websites after cropping out the photographer’s copyright.

There is no way to stop this from ever happening, but I wanted to mention it so that people are more aware. Just because an image is posted, doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking.

I love sharing my work and love showing others images that excite me and sights that bring me much joy. As an artist trying to make a living, I hope that people will like an image enough to offer to purchase a photo or cards. I am also very pleased when someone likes my photos and will post and share with others. I thank you.

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