Photographer writes excellent letter to the band Garbage about unpaid photo use

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by editor, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I like this very much indeed. Well said!


  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    as a garbage fan, i hope they send a nice reply
    Greebo likes this.
  3. dweller

    dweller muthafuckin snakes

    Dear Pat Pope
    We were all deeply saddened to read your Facebook post in which you admonished us for approaching you to humbly request your kind permission to include one of your images in a book we are working on to celebrate our twentieth anniversary.
    We regret that you interpreted our request so negatively.

    HAVING ALREADY paid you in 1995 for the entire shoot from which these images were selected, we really didn’t expect such a hostile reception to our enquiry.
    We adore the photographs you took of us at such a special time in our career but it was never our intent to use the aforementioned images without your express permission.

    As an independent band on our own label we are struggling to juggle the harsh realities of the modern music business with our desire as artists to produce music and accompanying content for our fans.

    Our book is not intended as a profit generating venture but something beautiful to create and present directly to our fans as a celebration of our music and the image-makers who we have been lucky enough to work with over the span of a twenty-year career.
    We very quickly and painfully learned that without a book publisher to help offset costs, we are not in the financial position to afford to pay for the usage of every photograph we were hoping to include in the book.

    Before we scrapped the idea of producing the book entirely, we decided instead that we would take a leaf out of Amanda Palmer’s book “The Power of Asking” and simply ask the photographers themselves whether they wanted to be included in our book or not. Any refusal of permission would be respectfully accepted and no further questions asked .

    We were so grateful and delighted to learn that most of the photographers were happy for their images to be seen in conjunction with the telling of our story.
    We would be entirely unable to produce a book at an affordable price for most of our fans without the generous consent of all these amazingly talented photographers and filmmakers. Historically, artists over the centuries have been known to help each other out in an effort to get their work seen and heard. We are proud and grateful to be part of this artist community.

    Over the years we have happily compensated many photographers, filmmakers and other kinds of content providers for their work and will continue to do so in the future. We believe completely in the concept of the artist being compensated fairly whenever possible.

    With that said, collectively as a band and as individuals, we have often provided our services and our music for no financial compensation in the spirit of artistic collaboration. Obviously we assess every request based on its own individual merits but we would never publicly admonish or begrudge a fellow artist for merely asking.

    Shirley, Butch, Duke and Steve
    tim and Pickman's model like this.
  4. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad heckling from the back!

    IIRC - paying for a shoot, unless the contract specifically includes it, does not mean the copyright in the images has been transferred from the photographer to the client.
    vogonity, ebonics, Cm7 and 10 others like this.
  5. el-ahrairah

    el-ahrairah forward communism, forward gerbils!

    terrible response. horrible passive aggressive and makes them look like utter pricks.

    it looks utterly classless to plead poverty when you've sold 17 million records.
  6. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan knows how to use the three shells

    Sounds like a bullshit response considering their citing of Amanda Palmer
  7. trashpony

    trashpony Ovaries and tings

    If they were paid for initial sales of their music by their record company, do they turn down their PRB fees on the basis that they were paid at the time? Or is it just the unique circumstances that this is a wankbook for their fans that makes this okay?
  8. twentythreedom

    twentythreedom Patterdale Terrorist R.I.P.

    The Power Of Asking :hmm:

    He said "no"
  9. dweller

    dweller muthafuckin snakes

    Yep, I found their response very passive aggressive.

    I found their letter on a thread on the petapixel facebook page. Most of the respondents are slamming the photographer for
    going public instead of sending a private reply in the first place.
    Throbbing Angel likes this.
  10. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    I can see both sides. Creative people commonly allow stuff to be used for free if asked - consent shouldn't be assumed but all they did was ask. It's a fairly normal thing to be asked permission or even for participation in various things without offer of payment. The deal is you get so say no. It helps if you're not an arse about it.

    The photographer made the decision to make his refusal public so Garbage were pretty much obliged to reply. I think the photographer was hoping for some kind of underdog kudos but I think he'll be disappointed.

    The other side is that Garbage get to enjoy the profits of continued play of their songs etc.
    Epico likes this.
  11. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Hmmm. Nobody comes out of this too well, imo. Garbage are pretty pompous and passive-aggressive, but they also have a point with this last bit. It was a polite email. He could have replied privately, and should have done.
    clicker and Spymaster like this.
  12. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan knows how to use the three shells

    i can see why he was so exasperated though. photographers' fees keep getting squeezed and squeezed. it was probably the last straw.
    Greebo and Vintage Paw like this.
  13. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    They do. And writer fees too. Publishing is getting very shit for that, despite the fact that, contrary to much propaganda, the book is not dying and sales are pretty healthy. Profits are going somewhere.

    But he said he was probably committing professional suicide. And he's probably right.
    Greebo likes this.
  14. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    We've hit 'peak photographer'.
    tim, salem and Mr Moose like this.
  15. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan knows how to use the three shells

    aye, shame though.

    a friend of mine is not a professional but takes a lot of pictures of social housing in London and got asked by The Times for permission to use one of his pics, with the usual shit about them having 'no budget' to pay him. He asked them for £50 and they didn't reply. He couldn't check to see if they'd used it zanyway (which has happened with other friends with other publications) cos you have to fucking pay to see their site. Oh the fucking irony.
    tim, UrbaneFox, Belushi and 2 others like this.
  16. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan knows how to use the three shells

    And it's not just writing and photography. it's design too. and probably loads of other creative professions. except they're not viewed as professions any more. just something people do for fun and maybe a little bit of 'exposure', like creatives are nothing more than gentlefolk amateur hobbyists, not people who are relying on getting paid to earn a living.
  17. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    It's very shit. I have some experience of being on the other side of that and asking for images when I genuinely don't have any budget - it's a case of using cheapo stock image sites and images from other sources that won't cost. I can generally offer a copy of the book, but not much else. And it's getting worse - budgets are cut year-on-year. Tbh most people say yes, though.
  18. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Why didn't Mr Pope just ask for a fee before whacking up that pompous guff on FB?
    tim, Epico, salem and 2 others like this.
  19. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Good question. He says that he received the email on the same day he posted his rant. Should have slept on it.

    If you're a professional photographer who wants work photographing public figures, they've got to be able to trust you. He really has fucked himself doing this.
    dweller and Spymaster like this.
  20. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Hardly thoughtful .
  21. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    Everyone has bad days.
    UrbaneFox likes this.
  22. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Yeah. Most of us have done it in one context or another. I've even sent ill-judged emails straight away with the thought 'no, fuck it, if I sleep on it I'll only change my mind'. :D:facepalm:

    But this is his job...
  23. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    Me too. It's like a battle of wits between the sensible me and self-sabotaging me. :D
    tufty79 and littlebabyjesus like this.
  24. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    So go nuclear on your own livelihood?

    I've a feeling that Pat Pope is a better photographer than he is a businessman.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  25. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    That's quite a good ad for him as a photographer tbf.
    Vintage Paw likes this.
  26. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Hmmm. True. I'd not seen the photo before, that's for sure. But the loss of trust, though. On balance, I reckon he's fucked himself.
  27. Fez909

    Fez909 toilet expert

    Not if he's not getting paid for it, it's not. And that's the problem: if you give your photos away for free you devalue yourself.
    UrbaneFox, twentythreedom and Greebo like this.
  28. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    Depends what you're hiring him to do, I reckon.

    If you're never going to ask him for free publication of stuff you might hire him regardless.
    The fact he wrote the thing in the first places makes me think he's probably diversified a bit anyway.
  29. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    On this evidence the geezer's a chippy twat.

    Either he's made his fortune and doesn't care who he pisses off, or he doesn't see photography as a serious profession with more than one aspect.
  30. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    You miss the point. He didn't jeopardise his job by refusing - he did it by throwing a public tantrum.

    Not that I think he's especially jeopardised it - I think he was mostly trying to make a mostly valid point.

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