Miller Mobley built a successful business as an editorial and commercial photographer in his native Alabama, then gave it up to start all over again in New York City. In this video produced by PDN, he discusses how he landed jobs in both places, and the importance of showing new work to potential clients every time he approaches them. To learn more about how Mobley launched and then re-launched his career, see our story, “Miller Mobley’s Transition,” at PDNonline.com.
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A French magazine could be shut down and a photographer sent to jail over the publication last year of photographs of Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, sunbathing while on vacation in France. The magazine, called Closer, published topless images of Middleton that were allegedly shot by photographer Valerie Suau.
French authorities are investigating the publication of the photos, which may have been a violation of French law. If charged and convicted of violating the royal couple’s privacy, Suau faces up to one year in jail and a fine up to 45,000 euros (about $60,000). Closer could be shuttered for as long as five years.
Prosecutors are also investigating Suau’s employer, a French newspaper called La Provence, which published some of the sunbathing images, although none showed Middleton topless.
The royal couple had been sunbathing on private property when Suau allegedly photographed them. The publishers of Closer have said in their defense that the images were shot from a public road.
After the images appeared in France, authorities there ordered Closer not to publish any more of them. But the images appeared in other European publications.
The suppression of the images in France and ensuing investigations reflect that country’s strict privacy laws, which bar the publication of photographs of individuals without their permission–even if the photographs are shot in a public place.
The royal family has invoked the death of Prince William’s mother–Princess Diana–to stir outrage over the sunbathing photos. The photos, according to an official statement from the royal family, are “reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.”
Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Several paparazzi and news photographers on motorcycles were chasing the car she was riding in when it crashed. Although the driver of the car was later found to have been drunk, and manslaughter charges against the photographers were dropped after an investigation, many people still blame them for the princess’s death.
Three of the photographers were eventually found guilty of violating France’s privacy laws because they photographed Princess Diana and her companion, Dodi Al Fayed, inside the car after the accident. Those photographers were ordered to pay a symbolic fine of one euro each.
A Montana gallerist has sued David LaChapelle for $3 million dollars, alleging the photographer attacked him in his Manhattan apartment on March 9, 2012.
The suit, filed yesterday by James Parmenter in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges that in the middle of the night, LaChapelle threw Permanter around his apartment, choked him “nearly to the point of unconsciousness,” then threw him out into the street. He is suing LaChapelle for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is seeking a minimum of $1 million for each cause of action.
Parmenter is the director of Bigfork Collaborations in Bigfork, Montana. According to an article in a local newspaper, the gallery space was funded by Fred Torres, a gallerist and LaChapelle’s former manager. In December 2012, LaChapelle filed a lawsuit against Torres, claiming that Torres owed him more than $2.8 million from the sales of of LaChapelle’s works and from a personal loan.
In the suit filed yesterday, Permanter claims that he is still experiencing physical and emotional difficulties as a result of the assault.
Photographer Dennis Morris has won his lawsuit against the appropriation artist known as Mr. Brainwash for unauthorized use of a decades-old image (shown at right) of deceased punk rocker Sid Vicious.
A federal district court judge in Los Angeles recently granted Morris’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of copyright infringement. At the same time, the judge rejected a motion by defendant Thierry Guetta–aka Mr. Brainwash–for summary judgment on the grounds of fair use.
“To permit one artist the right to use without consequence the original creative and copyright work of another artist simply because that artist wished to create an alternate work would eviscerate any protection by the Copyright Act,” the judge wrote in his ruling, citing another ruling against Guetta from 2011 in a similar case.
The ruling for Morris added to a growing body of case law against appropriation artists who use the works of other artists as nothing more than raw material for their own works. The message from federal courts is that appropriation artists cannot claim fair use unless they parody the original work, or in some other way critique or comment upon them directly.
Morris had sued Guetta for infringement over unauthorized use of a 1977 photograph of Sid Vicious. The original image shows the punk rocker tilting his head and winking at the camera. Guetta, who is know for appropriating images of celebrities and modifying them, created seven image based on the Morris photograph. Some featured higher black and white contrast, some have less contrast, and some include added elements such as splashes of brightly colored paint, according to the court ruling.
There was no dispute that Guetta had copied Morris’s photographs, District Judge John A. Kronstadt wrote in his ruling. The issue before the court was whether Guetta’s uses of the image met the legal standard for fair use.
Courts apply a four-pronged test to weigh a fair use defense. Judges consider the purpose and character of the unauthorized use; the nature of the copyright work; the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work that is used; and the market effect of the unauthorized work(s) on the original.
In this case, the first three factors weighed in Morris’s favor. The fourth (market effect) was inconclusive.
Most importantly, in considering the first factor, the court concluded that Guetta’s uses of the Morris photograph were not sufficiently transformative. In other words, they did not give the Morris photograph enough new expression, meaning or message, District Kronstadt explained in his ruling.
“The [original] photograph is a picture of Sid Vicious making a distinct facial expression. [Guetta's] works are of Sid Vicious making that same expression. Most of defendant’s works add certain new elements, but the overall effect of each is not transformative; defendant’s work remain at their core pictures of Sid Vicious,” the judge wrote.
Guetta had argued that his works were intended to comment on the persona of Sid Vicious in particular, and on the nature of celebrity in general. But the judge didn’t buy it, saying Guetta was effectively arguing that any use of copyrighted material in appropriation art is fair use. “But this is the precise argument that the Cariou court rejected,” referring to a district court ruling in New York in the case of Patrick Cariou v. Richard Prince.
In that case, the court ruled that appropriation artist Richard Prince violated photographer Patrick Cariou’s copyright by using some of his photographs as raw material for his own works, without commenting upon the original works or otherwise transforming their meaning. An appeal of that ruling is pending.
For an appropriation to qualify as a fair use, Judge Kronstadt explained, “There must be some showing that a challenged work is a commentary on the copyrighted one, or that the person who created the challenged work had a justification for using the protected work as a means of making an artistic statement.”
Considering the second factor–the nature of the copyrighted work–Judge Kronstadt concluded that the Morris photograph was at least a marginally creative portrait, not just a “recitation” of a fact. That weighted “at least slightly against a finding of fair use,” the judge wrote.
Considering the third factor–the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work that was used–Judge Kronstadt concluded the Guetta used most of Morris’s photograph, including the central copyrightable elements. That also weighed against a finding of fair use.
Finally, the court considered what effect the Guetta images had on the market for Morris’s image, and concluded that the market effect was subject to dispute. But Judge Kronstadt went on to say that the issue was immaterial “because a lack of harm [to Morris's market for his image] would not change the determination of an unjustified use under the first factor.”
That first factor, to recap, was a consideration of whether Guetta’s images transformed the meaning of Morris’s image.
Music producer Quincy Jones and photographer Michael Donald Jones (aka Mike Jones Photography) have settled their dispute over the photographer’s claim of copyright infringement. Terms of the settlement were not announced.
Mike Jones filed suit last year in a federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that Quincy Jones provided a portrait without permission for use in ads, packaging and other materials to promote a line of audio headphones. The headphone manufacturer, and a book publisher that also used the photo, were named as co-defendants in the case.
Mike Jones claimed that an associate of Quincy Jones’s offered him $5,000 in 2010 for what amounted to a rights transfer of the disputed portrait. The photographer asked for $10,000, then got a counter offer of $6,500, which he allegedly refused.
The images began appearing without Mike Jones’s permission in ads and other promotions for the headphones, which were endorsed by Quincy Jones. Mike Jones filed a claim for infringement early last year against Quincy Jones, headphone manufacturer AKG Harman, and Hal Leonard, the music book publisher.
AKG Harman denied the photographer’s claims, saying that the disputed photograph was shot on a work-for-hire basis.
Mike Jones alleged in his lawsuit that the disputed portrait originated when he photographed Quincy Jones in 1995 in Hollywood at Qwest Records. Mike Jones then provided Quincy Jones with 8×10 prints of some of the photographs. At that time, he refused to sign away his rights to those session photographs, despite Qwest Records’ efforts to “strong-arm” him into transferring the rights, Mike Jones alleged in his claim.
Neither Mike Jones nor the attorneys for either side responded to requests for comment about the settlement.
Ozzie Sweet, whose photographs have appeared on approximately 1,800 magazine covers, died on Wednesday, February 20, according to an obituary in The New York Times. He was 94 years old.
Sweet started taking photographs after joining the Air Force at the start of World War II, and his “war-time” images frequently landed on the cover of Newsweek—despite the fact that some of them were staged. A 2001 interview with SeacoastOnline noted that Sweet “hate[s] to use the word ‘faked,’” when describing his images and instead said that his shots are “carefully planned and staged.”
After the war, the self-described “photo illustrator” photographed a number of notable subjects including Albert Einstein, Grace Kelly, Joe DiMaggio, John Wayne, Mickey Mantle and Ernest Hemingway, for publications like TIME, Sport, Saturday Evening Post, Ebony, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated and Look. He later became known for his sports photography and co-authored two books on baseball: Mickey Mantle: The Yankee Years: The Classic Photography of Ozzie Sweet and The Boys of Spring. In 2005 he won a Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sports Photography.
Photographer Carrie Mae Weems received a State Department medal from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a luncheon on Friday, November 30, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Clinton honored Weems and four other artists—Jeff Koons, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shahzia Sikander and Kiki Smith—with the first U.S. Department of State Medals of Arts ever awarded. The medals recognized the artists’ contributions to the “Art in Embassies” program, which creates art exhibitions in U.S. diplomatic buildings overseas. The EIN program celebrated its 50-year anniversary this year.
“Art is…a tool of diplomacy,” Clinton said during her remarks at the ceremony. “It is one that reaches beyond governments, past all of the official conference rooms and the presidential palaces, to connect with people all over the world.”
For more, including a video of Clinton’s remarks, visit the State Department site.
A California law meant to impose special penalties on the paparazzi for reckless driving has been declared unconstitutional by a Los Angeles County superior court judge, according to several news reports.
Judge Thomas Rubinson said the law was too broad when prosecutors invoked it against photographer Paul Raef. The paparazzo was charged with reckless driving last July after a high-speed chase of pop star Justin Bieber’s car.
The law, which was enacted in 2010, imposes extra penalties on anyone who drives dangerously to take photos for commercial gain. It was intended to target the paparazzi, although it could be used to prosecute photojournalists rushing to breaking news events.
The extra penalties include jail terms up to six months and fines up to $2,500. It was signed by former governor (and actor) Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it was supported by several celebrities who have lobbied state lawmakers to pass laws restricting the activities of the paparazzi.
Raef was first to be charged under the law when he chased Bieber’s car on a California freeway last summer at speeds that allegedly exceeded 80 miles per hour.
Rubinson said the law interfered with news gathering activities protected by the First Amendment.
Reaf still faces reckless driving charges and fines that any driver might face, but he’s no longer subject to the additional penalties called for by the photos-for-commercial-gain law.
And the law itself has not been struck down entirely. Rubinson’s ruling on the law applies only to Raef’s case. If prosecutors appeal the ruling to a higher court, the law could be struck down entirely.
In the seminar “The Art and Business of Portraiture,” held during PhotoPlus Expo, portrait photographers Lydia Panas, Chris Buck, and Charlotte Dumas showed their work, primarily focusing on their fine art images, and described how they interact with their subjects to make compelling portraits. Gallerist Michael Foley of the Foley Gallery in New York moderated the discussion.
Panas, a fine artist whose portraits reveal much about character and relationships, showed work from her Mark of Abel and Falling from Grace projects. She explained that she doesn’t direct her subjects; in fact, she talks very little, and works without assistants when she’s shooting fine-art portraits. “I recognize what is happening between myself and the model, and I don’t force anything,” she said. “It’s amazing what you can see just by staring at someone.” (more…)
Three days after a French gossip magazine published photos of Kate Middleton, Dutchess of Cambridge, sunbathing topless, a court in France has ordered the magazine’s publisher to hand over all digital copies and blocked future publication of the images in any medium. The court ruled yesterday that the tabloid Closer must hand over the images within 24 hours or face a penalty of $13,100 a day, the AP reports. The photos were taken without permission while Middleton and her husband, William the Duke of Cambridge, an heir to the British throne, were vacationing at a private home court in the South of France. The French court also fined the French branch of Closer’s publisher, Mondadori, which is owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian media mogul (and disgraced prime minister.)
Maud Sobel, a lawyer for the royal couple, said after the verdict, “We’ve been vindicated.” However, the French court’s ruling only affects Closer; the images have already been in an issue of Chi in Italy (also owned by Mondadori) and in the Independent Star of Ireland. And who knows how many websites have reposted them.
The ruling may seem surprising. France, a country that has codified droit d’auteur, “moral rights” and other artists’ protections into law, and hasn’t had much use for monarchs since Louis XVI was guillotined n 1793, is siding against the press in favor of some huffy royals on the other side of the Channel.
According to the court, however, the issue at stake was the couple’s privacy.
The ruling states, “These snapshots which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred meters from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume that they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive,” the French ruling decreed.
While the French tradition of holding artists’ rights in high regard probably dates back to the French Revolution, its privacy laws are steeped in an even older tradition: the protection of honor.
Reviewing a new history of privacy law in The New York Times, Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor and editor at The New Republic, noted that Europe and America have always had different conceptions of privacy.
Rosen says that in the European tradition, privacy was conceived “as a way of protecting human dignity (as opposed to the American one, which is more interested in privacy as a way of protecting liberty).” Quoting scholar James Q. Whitman, Rosen notes that privacy rights grew out of a “deeply hierarchical society where all citizens knew their place and how much privacy they were entitled to demand: in such a world, privacy was for aristocrats, not for common people.”
The French court’s decision bears out Whitman’s contention: the ruling protects the honor of an aristocrat. A commoner might not have won this case. Not they would need to sue, since the breasts of us common folk aren’t tabloid fodder.