Can I use that picture? No. Well… I’m going to. Street photography and copyright infringement.

Film, Photography, Portraits, Street, Travel

An issue every photographer struggles with, sharing their work with the world while protecting intellectual property, has a new high-profile case.

Humans of New York, the blog of street photographer Brandon Stanton, is a hugely popular blog featuring posed and candid images of the many unique citizens in America’s most populous city. According to The Guardian, clothing company DKNY offered Stanton $15,000 to use 300 of his photos. Feeling $50 per photo was inadequate compensation from a wealthy company Stanton requested more, which DKNY denied.

A fan of Stanton later brought to his attention that DKNY had in fact used many of his images in a window advertisement in Bangkok. Taking a very admirable path, Stanton asked DKNY donate $100,000 to his local YMCA, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In what was a simultaneous act-of-kindness and backhanded swipe, DKNY donated $25,000 in Stanton’s name.

So how do photographers, and artists as a whole, attempting to establish their name protect it at the same time? There’s no fool-proof way. Watermarks, finding websites that don’t allow downloading of images and small file sizes are all techniques.

Personally, I size my images small enough they wouldn’t make a decent print and hope people will at least ask if they want to use it. I have found out this isn’t an adequate approach.

The topic will only continue to brew confusion and controversy, as popular image-sharing software Instagram has recently been sued over inadequate protection of users photos.

Today I will share some of my street photography from Seattle.

© Robin Wood

Street1_small

I didn’t have much reaction time when I saw how the orange of the man’s shirt and child’s stroller complemented the orange accents on the posters.

Street3_small

Here I was simply interested in the smooth curvature of the drinking fountain and the bike-lane indicator in the street when a pedestrian came to quench his thirst. Again I had to quickly step back to get a more inclusive image before he continued on his way.

I dig his tall, white socks with black shoes.

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