Friday, February 20, 2009

The inside story on this shot

Mowing down everything

If you look back over the last month or two I've been sharing the stories behind some of my portfolio images. I will continue this series of articles, dipping into my work every now and again. I hope you find them interesting and if you want to know more just leave a comment or send an email.

This guy was mowing the grass with tremendous determination. The shot was taken on a Cambo 4x5" technical camera with a super wide lens. A large technical camera on a tripod is not exactly made for capturing fast action, and believe me this guy was moving at quite a speed across the lawn. Although it looks like he is in full action, I had to pose this shot. The film was Ilford's beautiful FP4 100 ISO.

I printed and developed the negative in the darkroom. The image won praise at exhibitions and I have sold a number of prints. I've kept a print in my general portfolio ever since and it has always had a good response.

A few years ago I scanned the full large format negative and worked on the image in Photoshop. The detail is incredible.

I took this image when I was studying photography under the wing of the legendary Obie Oberholzer at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. If you're curious about Obie you can see a video of him talking about his work here and a great interview here. You can also see his work through his agency Bilderberg (look for his name under Fotgrafen).


Friday, February 13, 2009

Photo sharing site grabs rights to sell images

Photographers are concerned their images posted to a group of social photo-sharing sites will be sold without their consent following a change in the site owners terms and conditions.

Internet Brands which acquired Trek Lens, Trek Earth and Trek Nature has used its Terms and Conditions to cynically grab the rights to sell and adapt the work of photographers who upload images to its photo-sharing sites.

Here is the relevant paragraph from their T&Cs:

By displaying or posting content on the Site, you hereby grant us a nonexclusive global license to publish the content submitted by you to the Site. You also grant us global nonexclusive adaptation and resale rights over any content and material submitted to the Site. These nonexclusive publishing license and resale/adaptation rights extend to any materials submitted "for publication" within the Site, including both message board postings and content submitted for uploading and subsequent publishing within non-message board portions of the Site. Neither we nor our staff will be responsible for any misleading, false or otherwise injurious information and advice communicated on the Site or for any results obtained from the use of such information or advice. We will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by a user through the user's reliance on information and advice gained on the Site.

Photographers who upload their images have expressed concern on the Trek Lens forums but so far Internet Brands has not responded.

We have seen efforts to grab the rights of photographers before, for example when they enter a picture in a competition, but I do not recall seeing anything on this scale where thousands of images uploaded by photographers in good faith over many years have been grabbed for resale by the website owners.

As with most sites the owners reserve the right to change their T&Cs without notifying members but surely when it comes to copyright work which may have commercial value this kind of thing cannot be acceptable. Yet legally as far as I can see members who not agree to hand over the rights to sell their work have only one option. Delete your work and leave the site.

I sincerely hope the media picks up this blog and brings pressure to bare on Internet Brands. If they do not change their T&Cs I feel sorry for all the photographers that have spent so many hours lovingly working on their images, uploading them and writing informative and useful notes. So much good work will be lost if they have to delete their porfolios.


Paul Indigo

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Story of the railway worker picture

Click on the photo to see large version.

Railway worker - Grahamstown, South Africa. This is another image that has remained in my portfolio for many years.

I took it while I was a student studying for my Postgraduate Higher Diploma of Journalism at Rhodes University.

I was crossing the railway bridge when I looked down and saw this worker walking along the tracks. Immediately I saw the potential for a graphic composition using the structure of the bridge railing. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the worker to walk into the right position in the composition. All I had time for was one shot. My heart jumped when I pressed the shutter and I instantly knew I had captured something worthwhile. It's a good example of anticipating the moment.

Famous South African photographer, Obie Oberholzer, my teacher and mentor at the time, praised the image when he saw it. He suggested I print it on a high contrast paper to add more impact, which is of course exactly what I did.

I followed his advice and this image has stood me in good stead over the years.

My camera at the time was a Pentax ME 1. Shot on Ilford HP5, developed and printed in the University darkroom.

Hope you enjoy it too.