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October 23rd, 2012

APA and EP Join Forces

Today two professional photography trade organizations‚ American Photographic Artists (APA) and Editorial Photographers (EP)‚ announced that they will merge to create one organization with a membership of approximately 3200 photographers.

The move will see the creation of the first national chapter of APA, which will be known as the APA Editorial Photographers chapter.

EP president Brian Smith told PDN the move would revitalize that organization while also giving APA a presence in smaller cities in the United States and internationally. (EP is an internet-based organization without a chapter structure, and has members throughout the country and the world, Smith notes.)

“It was a case of trying to revitalize everything and offer something more,” Smith said of the decision to merge. “EP was founded as an opportunity to get together and actively seek better editorial contracts. It was formed in a day when the magazines were making money by the bushellful. Times have changed in the editorial market and really the board felt the best thing we could do would be to come up with additional resources for our members.” (more…)

September 28th, 2012

On Sustainable Business Models, and Comparing Apples to Oranges

The American Society of Media Photographers’ program, “Sustainable Business Models: Issues & Trends Facing Visual Artists,” held September 27 in New York City, can be viewed online via ASMP’s video library. Speakers and panelists provided useful context and insights into the current marketplace for photography, as well as thoughts on how professional freelancers might adapt their marketing and licensing in today’s economy. A warning, however: Along with provocative insights, the afternoon panel also included the predictable, banal observation that photojournalists have no role to play now that “everyone has a cellphone,” and statistics on how many images are uploaded to Facebook or Instagram each day or each hour or each minute. If you’re like me, you find these comments irritating. Because the first comment is untrue, and the second is irrelevant to any discussion of the professional photography business.

Yes, news editors trolled Instagram to get images of the aftermath of the Empire State Building shooting, but those image sales had no impact on the market for photos by professional news photographers: If amateur cellphone users hadn’t been on the scene, we simply wouldn’t have had any images of the carnage. Yes, a zillion snapshots of cats, babies and plates of food are shared on social media every day. What bearing does that have on what a professional photographer offers to clients or their audience? (more…)

May 23rd, 2012

Video Pick: William Wegman on Walking Canes and Dogs


Omhu, the design firm that makes stylish canes and other mobility aids, teamed with photographer William Wegman to produce a photo library and video that presents canes—and the mobility they provide—in a fun way.

It features one of Wegman’s classic subjects, a Weimeraner, interacting with one of the canes, which are made using high-performance materials used for skateboards and bikes. Rie Nørregaard, creative director and president of Omhu (Danish for “with great care”), was a leader on the cane design and the new campaign.

Both the cool-looking canes and the dancing, leaping, bounding Weimeraner shown in Wegman’s photo library are intended to encourage people to move more.

The company fills a void in the market, supplying products for an aging population that doesn’t want to sacrifice style for functionality. Maybe Omhu can make a nice looking case for my reading glasses.

You can view the photo library on the Omhu web site, and the video can also be viewed on Vimeo.

April 30th, 2012

Video: How Erik Almås Works with Dinosaurs

© Credit Suisse/photo by Erik Almås

Erik Almås says he prefers “crafting” images to “capturing” them. Working with ad agency Euro RSCG in London, Almås crafted an ad for Credit Suisse that features the eco-friendly Oxygen scooter, a Credit Suisse client. He shot images in multiple locations and in a photo studio, which were then blended with some computer-generated images of dinosaurs. No, the CGI dinosaurs are not a reference to Terence Malick’s Tree of Life, but to the era when fossil fuels were not yet fossils.

This slickly produced behind-the-scenes video shows Almas shooting in Hawaii,  Arizona, and on the set. It also reveals what Euro RSCG and Credit Suisse marketers hoped to communicate and how the finished ad pulls all the photographic elements together.

 

The video can be viewed on Vimeo here.

April 26th, 2012

Jim Marshall’s Estate Sues “Mr. Brainwash” and Google for Copyright Infringement

John Coltrane Jim Marshall Thierry Guetta Mr. Brainwash

The estate of iconic music photographer James “Jim” Marshall filed a copyright infringement claim against Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash) and Google for the unauthorized use of his images for advertising purposes. The brief states that copies of Marshall’s photos were used as part of a promotion for Google Music, a new online music service, as well as in derivative works.

According to the brief, for a Google event held at Guetta’s studio, the artist designed a backdrop using blown-up copies of photos Marshall made of musicians John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, which “constituted unauthorized reproductions and display” of the images. The backdrop was placed to the side of the stage where the announcement for Google Music was made, and therefore Google is also liable for copyright infringement since the images were used to promote its new product, Marshall’s estate claims.

Google Music Event

Additionally, the brief states that Guetta used five of Marshall’s photos to make derivative works, some of which he is currently selling on his Web site. It appears that Marshall’s images of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Stanley Turrentine, as well as his group shots of Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerald Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones, were screen printed on to paper and then altered by either changing the color palette or adding words to the background.

Jimi Hendrix Jim Marshall Thierry Guetta

The brief is asking that all infringing works be turned over to the estate and that all profits derived from the infringing works be awarded to the estate. Additionally, its asking that any damages, attorneys’ fees and costs related to the trial be reimbursed.

This isn’t the first time Guetta has been accused of infringing on a photographer’s copyright. In June 2011, a federal judge ruled in favor of photographer Glen E. Friedman, who claimed that his image of hip-hop group Run-DMC was used as the basis of several works by Guetta. A settlement with Friedman has been reached, but the terms were not disclosed.

Additionally, Guetta has another copyright claim pending from photographer Dennis Morris. While Guetta admitted he did use Morris’s photo of Sex Pistol’s bassist Sid Vicious in derivative works of art, he claimed he did not know it was a copyrighted image. The two parties are currently working on a settlement agreement.

Neither Guetta nor Google responded immediately to a request for comment.

Update 4/27/12: Jim Prosser, manager global communications and public affairs for Google, responded to our request for comment by stating that Google has not received a copy of the complaint yet and therefore he cannot comment on it.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Sid Vicious was the drummer for the Sex Pistols. The text has been corrected.

Related Articles:

Judge Rules for Photog In Copyright Suit Over RUN DMC Photo

April 9th, 2012

Quincy Jones Denies Copyright Infringement Claim

Music producer Quincy Jones has filed court papers denying that he infringed photographer Michael D. Jones’s copyrights when he used a portrait (shown at right) the photographer had shot in 1995.

The music producer says the photographer shot the disputed image on a work-for-hire basis, and therefore doesn’t own the copyright. Quincy Jones also says that even if Michael Jones does own the copyright, the photographer transferred rights to the image for use by Quincy Jones and other defendants.

The photograph, showing Quincy Jones at a recording session, appeared in ads for a line of audio headphones. Michael Jones says he provided an 8×10 print to Quincy Jones, who allegedly provided it to Harman International, the headphone manufacturer, without the photographer’s permission. The image also appeared in a music book.

Harman International, which is a co-defendant in the case, has also denied Michael Jones’s copyright infringement allegations on the grounds that the images were works for hire.

The defendants have yet to produce a work-for-hire agreement signed by the photographer. Without that, they may have to prove that the photographer’s working conditions amounted to a work-for-hire arrangement. Quincy Jones has hinted that he will try to do that by asserting that Michael Jones was “paid in full” for his services, and that he did the work with photographic equipment supplied by the Los Angeles recording studio that allegedly hired him.

The studio, Qwest Records, was a joint venture between Quincy Jones and Warner Brothers Records.

Michael Jones has alleged that he was not paid in full for the 1995 shoot because he refused at the time to sign away his rights to the images. He has also alleged that representatives for Qwest tried to “strong-arm” him in 2010 to accept $6,500 for all rights to the disputed image. The photographer says he refused, but Quincy Jones–and Harman–say that Michael Jones accepted the offer. Quincy Jones also denies that Qwest representatives “attempted to strongarm” the photographer.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Claim
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”

April 5th, 2012

Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Charges

©Michael D. Jones. The photographer says this portrait of Quincy Jones, shot in 1995, was recently used without permission in ads for audio headphones and other applications.

A co-defendant in the copyright infringement case against celebrity music producer Quincy Jones has denied the infringement claims, which were filed in February by Los Angeles photographer Michael D. Jones.

Harman International, which allegedly used a portrait of Quincy Jones without the photographer’s permission to promote a line of its audio headphones, says that Michael Jones shot the portrait under work-for-hire terms. Therefore, the photographer doesn’t own the copyright to the images and can’t claim infringement, Harman says. (The company has yet to produce evidence of a work-for-hire agreement, however.)

Harman adds that even if Michael Jones does own the copyrights to the image, he transferred those rights to Harman. As evidence of that, Harman points to a rights transfer contract drafted by its attorneys, but Michael Jones’ signature is conspicuously absent from that contract.  For good measure, Harman says its use of the portrait was “fair use,” so Michael Jones’s permission wasn’t required.

“Any and all uses that it made of any such photographic images were authorized, lawful and not infringing of any alleged rights,” Harman asserts repeatedly.

Harman says it is responding to the claims only for itself, not Quincy Jones or the other defendants, including music publisher Hal Leonard Corporation, which also used the portrait.

But Harman’s response presages those of the other defendants, and the dispute is likely to boil down to two questions: whether Michael Jones photographed Quincy Jones under a work-for-hire arrangement, and if not, whether Michael Jones subsequently transferred usage rights to the defendants.

Michael Jones says he shot the images in 1995 during several sessions at Qwest Records. He provided Quincy Jones with some 8×10 prints, but alleges he was not paid for shooting the last two studio sessions because he refused at the time to sign over his rights to the images.

Years later, in 2010, a Qwest Records executive allegedly offered Michael Jones $5,000 for what amounted to a copyright transfer of one of the images so Harman could use it to promote a line of audio headphones endorsed by Quincy Jones. The photographer says he demanded $10,000 for a license, and that he subsequently refused a counter-offer of $6,500. Allegedly without any license agreement, Harman ended up using the images anyway.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”

March 21st, 2012

Frank Ockenfels 3 Shoots the New Mad Men Campaign

Advertisement for season five of the AMC show Mad Men. Frank Ockenfels 3 photographed the lead characters for the campaign. Courtesy of AMC and Frank Ockenfels 3.

This Sunday, March 25, the Emmy award-winning television show Mad Men returns to Sunday nights. As a build up to the season five premiere, AMC has done a major marketing push with print, online and outdoor ads.

Have you been wondering who is behind the retro-looking images? It’s Los Angeles-based Frank Ockenfels 3, who is represented by Eye Forward. Working with AMC and The Refinery’s Brad Hochberg, Ockenfels photographed all of the show’s leads in character. In a recent interview with The New York Times, show creator Matthew Weiner said the central image of the campaign, which shows Don Draper staring at his own reflection in a store window, is supposed to be “dreamlike.” It’s also meant to build up anticipation of the show’s premiere, since Mad Men had a longer than usual break between season four and season five due to negotiations between Weiner and the network.

To learn about other recent assignments photographers have landed, check out the latest posts in our biweekly column “Who’s Shooting What” (subscribers only).

Related Articles:

How to Get Hired to Shoot Publicity for a TV Network

How To Land Environmental Portrait Assignments

March 21st, 2012

Ellen Degeneres Not Amused By Photog’s Billboard Stunt

An artist's rendering of the billboard Madalyn Ruggiero attempted to put up for six weeks in West Hollywood.

Artist's rendering of the billboard Madalyn Ruggiero attempted to put up for six weeks in West Hollywood.

Television personality and talk show host Ellen Degeneres—and her show’s lawyers—were not amused by an Ohio freelance photographer’s recent publicity stunt, and their legal action has cost the photographer thousands of dollars.

Photographer Madalyn Ruggiero created a small business by putting costumes on her dog, Denali, photographing him, then selling greeting cards bearing the images. Buoyed by the success of her cards and Denali’s 27,000+ Facebook fans, Ruggiero bought billboard space in West Hollywood in an attempt to get Ellen Degeneres to put Denali on her TV talk show. “Ellen,” the billboard read, “Denali the dog wants to meet you!”

Just days after the billboard went up on February 13, the show’s lawyers ordered the billboard company to take it down because, they argued, it traded on Degeneres’s name and likeness (Ruggiero dressed Denali up to look like Degeneres for the billboard).

Ruggiero says that the billboard company’s lawyers sought and received approval from Warner Brothers, which owns and produces Degeneres’ show, prior to putting up the billboard. The ad should have been displayed for six weeks but was up for only a few days.

“I was shocked and confused why my harmless billboard was removed,” Ruggiero says. “When I spoke with the billboard company they were very cold and told me nothing.”

The LA Times, Today Show and MSNBC have all published stories about Ruggiero’s run-in with Degeneres’ lawyers.

“I meant no harm with my billboard,” Ruggiero explains. “I am disappointed and confused. Denali is getting old and I thought trying to get Denali on Ellen’s would be fun. I always thought she was a huge dog lover, but I was mistaken.”

Now Ruggiero is out thousands of dollars for a publicity stunt gone awry. Should Ruggiero have known better? Maybe. Should we be surprised that Degeneres responded with legal threats rather than a sense of humor? Probably not.