From photographer contract restrictions to instagram apps, and from copyright infringements to a changing code of ethics, this year’s list of the most-read articles on PDNPulse capture some of the highs and lows of the photography business this year.
The band was cheered for their response to artist Richard Price’s appropriation of their images from Instagram. The brand’s founder, Missy Suicide (also known as Selena Mooney) announced the band would sell for $90 the same images Price and his gallery, Gagosian, are alleged to have copied and then sold for $90,000. Price sold the images at the Frieze Art Fair in New York and at Gagosian’s Beverly Hills gallery.
Taylor Swift headlines raked in clicks all across the internet this year, but it was the fine print in her contract with freelance concert photographers that drew readers to PDN. In late June, the singer’s management company, Firefly Entertainment, Inc., released a contract that limited photographers from running their photographs more than once, even for news purposes. In July, the management company revised the contract, removing and revising some of elements that photographers had found objectionable.
In March, questions about the authenticity of photographer Giovanni Trolio’s series, “The Dark Heart of the Europe,” winner of a 1st prize in the 2015 World Press Photo competition, generated buzz when another photographer claimed that the images may have been staged. Ultimately, World Press Photo withdrew the award on the grounds that the story was not captioned in compliance with the entry rules. In November, World Press announced that the 2016 World Press Photo contest will be carried out with a new code of ethics to reflect an effort at reform and transparency in the wake of the scandal.
In the wake of the backlash against Taylor Swift’s management company for its contract restricting photographers’ image usage (see 2 & 3), Norwegian photographer Jarle Moe wrote a blog post posing a solution: Photographers could end restrictive contracts if they identified themselves “journalists,” not “concert photographers.”
When the popular Instagram app InstaAgent was reported to be storing Instagram users’ passwords and usernames and sending them in plain text to a remote server, PDN encouraged readers using the app to delete it.
Think film is dead? Black-and-white film supplier Ilford released findings from a study of of film-users showing that film is still a viable – and resurging – medium in the photography world. The company surveyed “thousands” of film users across 70 countries to understand who uses film and why. Notable in the findings was that 30 percent of respondents were under the age of 35, and that 60 percent of them said they had picked up film photography over the past five years.
October’s PhotoPlus Expo #Trending panel consisted of four photographers—Sue Bryce, Vincent Laforet, Jeremy Cowart and Chase Jarvis—with sizable social media followings. The panelists offered their advice, suggestions and experiences on how photographers can build and maintain their social network, such as making posts that are honest, positive, and have something of value to share with the world.
In November, The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story discussing the challenges women face working in the male-dominated world of Hollywood. However, to shoot the cover, which featured portraits of 60 female actors, directors and executives, The New York Times Magazine hired a male photographer. That irony inspired in an outpouring of social media posts from women photographers expressing their disappointment. Director of photography for The New York Times Magazine Kathy Ryan told PDN that women photographers shouldn’t “think that somehow there aren’t opportunities [at the magazine], because I feel very passionately that there are, and that’s important to us: To have women’s points of view, that diversity, that range in our pages is important.”
The May 11 issue of TIME Magazine had a cover bearing an image of protests in Baltimore taken by a 26-year-old amateur photographer, Devin Allen, who had only two years of experience under his belt. This marks the third time in the magazine’s history that it has used an amateur’s image on the cover. In explaining the decision to use Allen’s image, TIME deputy director of photography Paul Moakley noted that Allen is a Baltimore native, and, “He was being really thoughtful and was capturing both sides of what was happening.”