U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: A question of using other peoples' photos

Re: A question of using other peoples' photos

Hi David,
This copyright discussion has been interesting to me, and as you suggest, it has at least two parts to it: (1) the copyright issue, and (2) how to represent the fact that they are someone else's photos. Your thought below, following the Westons, seems fine. And there's a third issue that you allude to below; aside from the legal and representation issues, there's the moral issue of printing someone else's work in a different medium without being able to ask if that's okay with them.

Years ago, I bought a photograph album in a flea market that intrigued me quite a lot, full of wonderful photos of a family, some looking like professional photos and some like snapshots. All together it gave a remarkable impression of an extended American family of a certain social class during the First World War. The pictures are mostly women; the men were apparently gone to war and are represented only by a couple of pictures of men in military uniforms at military camps. The women are pictured laughing and playing guitars and pianos and driving cars and thoroughly enjoying themselves, all dressed up in these great outfits with ostrich- feathered hats and the like.

There was a time when I thought about using the pictures somehow, but I never came up with a project that appeals to me. It's not really my kind of work anyway, it's more the kind of thing one might do for an academic student project. But if I ever did a body of work around this, it would be presented up front as found photos; that would be the organizing principle of the work, that I found these intriguing photographs, so there shouldn't be any question that the photos weren't mine.

I would think the fact that your originals were vintage lantern slides might be interesting to someone, so you might even capitalize on the fact. You could present one or two of the slides (not for sale, but just alongside) for interest.

I did use some of the pictures from this album to make negatives to practice gum printing with, before I was set up with a darkroom. This was in the old, old days, before there were desktop scanners, so I made the negatives by taking the album to a copy shop and photocopying the prints (reversed) onto transparencies. I put one of these practice prints on my website, as an example of a print made from a photocopy negative:



On Mar 6, 2007, at 8:02 AM, davidhatton@totalise.co.uk wrote:

Thanks for your replies guys and gals.

I was concerned about the morality of printing someone elses work in a different format without being able to ask permission. I thought it might be nice to present these images in a contemporary medium with a modern approach. Under no circumstances would I pass off original work as my own. I have a couple of Weston prints. On the reverse is a stamp ' Photograph by Edward Weston (date), Print by Cole Weston (date)'. I was thinking of something along those lines.

Thanks again for your replies

David H