The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


Please visit the main site - www.wolf-photography.com


Friday, 29 July 2011

Does the Royal Photographic Society adequately support professional photographers?

This is a question that's currently playing on my mind.  It all follows on from the debate surrounding photography competitions that harvest images for free AND assume full rights to allow them to do what they will with the images in the future.  This has a negative effect on the earning potential of a professional photographer.  Why would a company buy images if they have thousands of them saved in databases from photography competitions?

You don't need a lot of foresight or experience in the professional photography sector to see how these competitions are damaging an industry, even more so in the nation's current financial crisis.  It's a difficult enough occupation for freelancers without competition organisers pulling the rug from under their feet by immorally grabbing the rights of the image creators with terms and conditions like these:

Entrants will retain copyright for their photos. However, by submitting a photo to the competition entrants are granting a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence for their entries to be edited, published, reproduced and used by Fight for Sight and Park Plaza London hotels for any purpose, free of charge.

I wanted to discuss this matter on the RPS Forum (see http://www.rpsforum.org/index.php?/topic/11097-another-competition-grabbing-images-and-full-rights/) and to get the RPS to support the Artists' Bill of Rights (http://artists-bill-of-rights.org/).  I was left with the feeling that the thread was prematurely closed.  A discussion normally involves parties bouncing their ideas back and forth and repetition, to some degree, is inevitable...but this felt wrong and left me with the feeling that I wasn't party to some important information.

I have since found a couple of links that shed a bit more light on the issue for me, particularly on the RPS's stance on the issue:



I have to say that I was alarmed that the RPS had even considered running a competition that would have harvested images in the same way as some as these rights grabbers and was relieved to read that the organisation changed their minds after feedback from some members and other profesionals in the field.

I am left with a nagging question though ... in light of the articles on the links posted above and the split attitude towards the protection of artists rights ... do the RPS have the interests of amateur AND professional photographers at heart or are professional photographers better off with other organisations such as the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) (http://www.bipp.com/).

One of the indicators are this:  both the BIPP and the RPS are members of the The British Photographic Council (BPC).  The BIPP and the BPC openly support the Artists' Bill of Rights (ABoR) by proudly displaying their logos on the ABoR website.  The RPS won't join the campaign and I have to ask why?  The politicians within the RPS will say that they're already supporting the ABoR as the RPS are members of the BPC.  I don't accept that.  If you support a principle or cause, you should sign up to it properly.

The Artists' Bill of Rights campaign (http://artists-bill-of-rights.org/) promotes the adoption of a set of ethical standards for competitions and appeals to which creative works are submitted, for example, photographs, music, film, illustrations, graphic design and literary pieces such as stories and poems.

As a professional photographer I need to belong to one organisation that can help me to develop my photographic career and look after my interests.  The RPS is supposed to be looking after the interests of photographers, both amateur and professional.  So I find myself asking the original question: Does the Royal Photographic Society adequately support professional photographers?

What can you do to help?

Support the Artists' Bill of Rights (ABoR) by logging on to http://artists-bill-of-rights.org/ and get involved in whatever way you can owing to your time restrictions.  At the very least, follow their presence of Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Artists-Bill-of-Rights/122794251148479).  This is for ALL creatives - not just photographers.

Check the Terms and Conditions of all competitions that you enter - if they state anything similar to:
Entrants will retain copyright for their photos. However, by submitting a photo to the competition entrants are granting a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence for their entries to be edited, published, reproduced and used by ....   Don't enter it!  They're harvesting images and killing the industry. Copy the webpage of such competitions onto http://www.facebook.com/pages/Artists-Bill-of-Rights/122794251148479 and give ABoR a heads up, whichever country you're in.

While you're happily clicking away at Facebook 'likes' - give my page a click too would you? http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wolf-Photography/215943295114638.

All the best


Monday, 18 July 2011

The Artists Bill of Rights - The debate continues...

Some colleagues in the Royal Photographic Society feel that the Artists Bill of Rights is a bad idea because they feel the bill is not necessarily a good or democratic thing.  Others feel that photography and art are open to abuse and that's just the way it is.

For me it brought about a sense of awareness that the issues weren't being examined further than the immediate moment.  Are photographers exploited by competition organisers?  Almost certainly, though some do use very good terms and conditions of entry that don't abuse your copyright. 

If you are serious about selling your shots, you should never display them anywhere higher than 500 pixels in size and you must always have a copyright tag on the image somewhere - whether it appears as text or a watermark.

Don't be tempted to enter a competition for your image if the terms and conditions state anything that resembles the following:

"Entrants will retain copyright for their photos. However, by submitting a photo to the competition entrants are granting a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence for their entries to be edited, published, reproduced and used by Fight for Sight and Park Plaza London hotels for any purpose, free of charge."

In the world of photography you can charge companies amounts of money to use your images - please see http://www.wolf-photography.com/html/pricing.html for an example.  This is why photographers use copyright tags.  You are letting the viewer know that your work is protected by law and that they cannot use your work without your express permission, which usually requires payment.  Commercial organisations that may want your image know that they will have to pay you and they may decide to buy the image off of you to ensure other companies can't use the same image for their marketting campaigns etc.

Please remember that only difference between a professional and an amateur, in my opinion, is that one earns an income from their photography.  Amateur does not necessarily mean a lower standard photographer.  So if you know you have good shots that could be sold - do not enter competitions that abuse your rights and seek to gain your images for free.  Not only are you losing some potential income yourself, you are having a negative effect on the profession of photography.

If you'd like to follow the debate on the Royal Photographic Society's website - go to:  http://www.rpsforum.org/index.php?/topic/11097-another-competition-grabbing-images-and-full-rights/.

All the best


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Le Favole Vineyard...

One of the summer trips were spent with my friends, Ale and Sandra.  They took me to an open day at Le Favole Vineyard which was a new experience for me.

 Every year, local vineyards open their doors to the local populace as a way of thanking them for their support and sell their wine at a discounted rate.

Local businesses were in attendance and there was a nice family atmosphere to the day.  One of the local meat dishes was a particular favourite of mine...unfortunately I can't remember the name of the dish but the flavour lingers somewhere in my addled mind. 

Le Favole only produce about 50,000 bottles per annum, so they don't market within the UK. 

The factory itself is built into the side of a mountain which provides some atmospheric advantages.  I tried some of the wine (under duress as it's not my nature to consume alcohol) and was quite taken by one of the reds but toally surprised at the white wine. 

I have never tasted anything so crisp and fresh before.  I normally avoid white wine, thanks mainly to the white wines that I've had a sniff of in UK bars and restaurants in the past.  This white wine produced by Le Favole was excellent.

I'll see if I can get my friends Alessandro and Sandra to put more details on as a comment as I'm no wine expert.

If you'd like to contact the vineyard, their website is: http://www.lefavole.com/.

All the best


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Paris and Chateau d'Ecouen...

Paris is one of those places that conjures up images of romance and freedom in my mind.  I was surprised at the deep level of intergration between different ethnic groups in the city, particularly in commerce, the police and defense services.  It was a stark contrast to London.

Travel was facilitated by the 'Paris Visite Pass' which can be purchased from the airport when you land from the visitors information desk (http://www.parismetro.com/).  Make sure you get the right zones.  5 days is the maximum travel pass of this sort and for zone 6, costs around 51 Euros.  This covers you for bus, metro and the 'RER' trains (as well as some regional trains).  It also covers you to use the fernicular at Sacre Coeur.

Stock up on bottles of water locally before heading into the city.  Locally you'll pay around 23 cents for a bottle compared to 2 Euros in the city centre.  One tip re food - if you want a steak - don't order 'steak tartare'.  Steak tartare is raw minced meat with a raw egg mixed in!  I made the mistake of ordering it, expecting a lovely steak with tartare sauce.  I shrugged my shoulders when the item resembling an uncooked hamburger turned up on a plate.  My stomach complained for 2 days afterwards.

You can view the Paris album by going to:  http://www.wolf-photography.com/albums/Wolf%20Photography%20-%20France%20-%20Paris/index.html.

I used a website called http://www.homestaybooking.com/.  You sign up and find a room with a family and find a room at a cheaper rate than a hotel.  The other advantage is that you're staying with local people that have local knowledge of the various things that you might like to see. I was staying at a small town called 'Villiers Le Bel' which is approximately 20 minutes away from Central Paris by train.  So if you like avoiding noise and crowds, I'd recommend this area.  Look for the Homestay account of Annabelle Spano.  You get bed, breakfast and an evening meal, free internet access and nice people to hang out with.

Like most cities, there's always something entertaining going on in the summer months.  The 2011 Gay Pride March provided colour, contrast and an uplifting vibe.  I bumped into a new friend, Stephane, who clued me in about some of the events and helped me to find my accommodation on the first night.  Stephene works for an organisation called 'ADES' that seek to educate people about issues surrounding the condition AIDS and the various forms of discrimination affecting gay people.  Although hetrosexual, Stephane is passionate about his work with the organisation.

2011 Paris Gay Pride march images:  http://www.wolf-photography.com/albums/Wolf%20Photography%20-%20PEC%20-%202011%20Gay%20Pride%20March%20-%20Paris%20France/index.html.

The railway station Gare Du Norde was the venue for 'La Tournee Art Battles'.  Basically 4 artists square off for a 2 hour tournament to come up with a piece of art that the public then vote on.  It's the first time I'd photographed something of this nature.  You can view the album at: http://www.wolf-photography.com/albums/Wolf%20Photography%20-%20PEC%20-%202011%20Art%20Battles%20-%20Gare%20Du%20Nord%20Paris%20France/index.html.

The last album was shot at Chateau d'Ecouen.  Joe, one of my hosts at the accommodation told me about the place and that they carry out re-enactments of the era of the renaissance.  We took a drive down and I was treated to a brilliant spectacle of colour and action.  Apart from the narrative, the local drama society provided sword duels and jousting.  The sun was shining and the colours were vibrant:  http://www.wolf-photography.com/albums/Wolf%20Photography%20-%20PEC%20-%20Parcours%20-%20Spectacle%20-%20Chateau%20d'Ecouen/index.html.

I hope you enjoy the images ... and if you go to Paris, have a great time.


Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
Wolf-Photography.com Stock Image Library