First Photographer Discussion: Pedro Meyer

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by vonnagy, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. vonnagy

    vonnagy have kiwi, will travel...

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    This is always a bit o' hot topic - Pedro Meyer is a Mexican photog that samples other peoples work. Here's the link (yeppers it worksafe): http://www.zonezero.com/editorial/june98/isshenow.html

    Questions
    - Is it wrong to sample other peoples work in your art (this applies to more than just photography but just stick to photography)
    - How would you feel if Pedro sampled your work? Flattered, Calling your lawyer, indifferent, lookin' for royalties :lol:
    - Have you sampled work from other artists before (this could be anything including editing pictures presented in the critique forum) - did the artist you sampled work from see the resample?
    - Are you very protective of your work (ie slap big arse sigs on it :D, use digital watermarks, have Johny Cochran on your speed dial)
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Pre-digital I think we called this photomontage ;-)
    I think you can't seperate photography from the other Arts because it is all part and parcel.
    Personally I believe the answer depends upon the final outcome. If the work uses the sampling creatively or inventively to produce a new work that is of merit (does something new, gives a new insight, etc) then I don't have a problem.
    I think the problems arise when the sampling is used gratuitously or as a replacement for creativity and insight or just for novelty. Shallow is as shallow does. It can also cause problems for the viewer because the sampled work might not be recognised or referenced, or the viewer is so taken by the surface effect that they are unable to look deeper.
    It is also easy to make yourself look clever and exciting when you ain't.
    But sampling is, I am afraid, the essence of post-modernity, where other cultures, artists and times can be plundered willy-nilly and recycled as new and original work. And this is the world we live in.
     
  3. tmpadmin

    tmpadmin TPF Noob!

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    I have a bit of an issue with using other's work in yours. Even a photo of a sculpture or graffiti is like taking from someone else's creativity and meaning and making it your own. While this might be "flattering" in your mind when you take the photo, edit it and print it, it is still taking away from the original artist. However, the way Meyer is presenting other's work in his, as a prop to a "higher" meaning this to me is walking the line. It's not like he went out and took a photo of the Mona Lisa dead on, printed it and said he found an amazing model. He used the art in a photo which is meant to give a different meaning than what the original intended.

    it is very easy to photochop a piece of art into one of your photos...? But it should be no more significant than using a hammer instead (if the overall "message" is the same).

    Edit: I did have an idea about a series that involved graffiti - however the series was not about the graffiti. I believe I'm pushing my own line with this, which is why I haven't done much with it.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The following does not represent a fixed opinion or point of view of anyone - not even of me. It is meant as nothing more than a preliminary 'think piece' on some of the issues surrounding this topic. So don't sue me.

    Appropriation.
    Let us look at the example of graffiti.
    If I take a photograph of some graffiti, I could be said to be taking from the graffiti artist's creativity.
    But what if the graffiti is on a building?
    The graffiti artist could be said to be taking from the architect who designed the building.
    The graffiti artist could also be accused of stealing the idea of producing graffiti - graffiti has been around for tens of thousands of years so it can't be his idea.
    And what about the visual styles that the Artist has referenced? Is that not appropriation?
    To put it another way, how can I be said to be taking something from someone when that person took it from someone else in the first place?
    If it is wrong for me to do it then it is wrong for him and vice versa.
    Perhaps, then, it is a matter of ownership.
    What is the difference between the graffiti being on the wall of a public building and the graffiti being on the artist's livingroom wall? I think that one is clear cut.
    But what if the artist is proud of his work and opens his home to the public so they can view it? And lets magazines publish pictures of it, and advertising companies use it on billboards? I think that changes the situation considerably.
    It would seem clear that at some point, through use, an image can cross over from private ownership and into the public domain. Where this crossover point is, though, is in a big grey area.


    Copyright 2005 Hertz van Rental
    (figure that one out ;-) )
     
  5. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    The following does represent a fixed opinion or point of view of no one - not even of me. It is meant as nothing less than a preliminary do not 'think piece' on some of the issues surrounding this topic. So sue me!

    Appropriation (dress code).

    Let us look at the example of graffiti.

    If I take a digi-cam shot of graffiti, I am compositing the graffiti - the artist's creativity and intellectual property.

    But what if the graffiti is on a building?

    The graffiti-ist not only defaces the architect's artistry, but by defacing it, creates his own. He isn't copying the architect, since he is building nothing, but merely house-painting.

    The fact that people paint, doesn't entail that people copy each other anymore than a photographer who photographs copies anothers. No different for a graffiti-ist who graffitis.

    Human expression has been around for thousands of years (some of us aren't as long in the tooth to know for ten thousands..) so it's not the medium of graffiti which is original; it's the message; the art within. Thus originality can come from using orthodox methods. Like graffiti painting.


    "To put it another way, how can I be said to be taking something from someone when that person took it from someone else in the first place?"

    Because human culture learns from itself, it is in a continual state of evolution: cultural evolution. It's not a matter of ethics, except when criminal damage and artistic misappropriation is involved. Just because a photographer uses zone IV, does that mean all photographers who use zone IV are copying?

    "If it is wrong for me to do it then it is wrong for him and vice versa."

    Maybe that's the wrong argument ;)

    Tracy Emin shows the difference between public space and personal space by failing to spot the difference in her own personal life, and plastering her boyfriends names all over her bed in public.

    But what if the artist is proud of his work and opens his home to the public so they can view it?

    Like Camille Paglia who considered her genitalia to be a work of art and invited men to view with a speculum on prime time television.....

    Go on - have a look.

    "It would seem clear that at some point, through use, an image can cross over from private ownership and into the public domain. Where this crossover point is, though, is in a big grey area."

    No grey area there - once the speculum is in view!


    Copyright 2005 Jamie R
    (go figure! )
     
  6. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    The above posting is an example of that 'composite' attitude inherent in post-modern work.

    I'd be surprised if the artist (dear Hertz! No offence!) doesn't feel offended by it. It's just there to raise an example. Like any composite work which borrows from another artist (without collaboration i.e. expressed permission), it has specific influences (these are clear in where the above post borrows from Hertz's) and specific distortions (making it 'original') on the foundation of copying another's work, but not merely line-copying it word for word....but using it to transform it into one's own.

    The case for litigation is probably proportional to the size of the photographer's ego imho. Newspapers care little about the photographer's work who is stolen by another paper; the sales and the public injury on their pride matter more.

    There is a particular breed of photographer who slaps on huge watermarks, perforate jpgs with words etc on mediocre work, parading it as 'exclusive' or 'reserved' as a way of showing how 'valuable' their work is. The copyright mark becomes a part of experience of viewing that image. Which is why I click elsewhere - and look at images which don't have 'I've got a fragile ego' written all over the images. Copyright enforcement is one thing. Giving attention to a composite photographer's errant ways of pilfering images without permission to manipulate can have costly penalties. The professional bodies in the UK (including BAPLA) recognise that composite works require the permission of original artist's works which are included in the composite. Now if the composite piece is over 50 years old and is in the public domain and out of copyright, it's a different call. Like covering Brubeck's 'Springtime' as opposed to ripping off BandAid's single.

    Composite photographers are more likely to gain sensationalist appeal; through the content which is put forward in the composite. They have their work cut out in trying to convince the highbrow crowd that they aren't a band of charlatans. So the ones who do it well, are truly exemplary. But they're few and far between.

    Ho hum.
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    There are so many errors - not to mention lack of thought - in both those pieces that I don't know where to begin. So I won't bother. I will just say that that is the biggest load of bokeh I have read on this forum - now go and play with your crayons somewhere else.
     
  8. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    "I will just say that that is the biggest load of bokeh I have read on this forum - now go and play with your crayons somewhere else."


    That's the spirit of discussion - way'd it go!

    Well it was based on your work. Guess postmodernism isn't all that appealing to some...
     
  9. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    No. I have a spirit of discussion but your 'contribution' was nothing more than a disjointed rant. It does not advance the discussion but merely thrusts your rather biased opinions in our faces.
    I was trying to make the point that everything we do is manufactured from images and ideas borrowed from others who in turn have borrowed from others who....
    This is largely what Culture is.
    Some images begin life as personal property but some can become Cultural icons. The Mona Lisa is a good example.
    It is one thing to borrow personal property but quite another to borrow public property. But we need to figure out where the one becomes the other because that is where the problems occur.

    [Tracy Emin is very well aware of the distinctions between the public and the private. That is what a lot of her work is concerned with. She embroidered the names of all the people she had ever slept with (and that does not just mean 'boyfriends') on a tent (not a bed, that was a seperate work).

    And it would appear that you are saying that if I include the work of Leonardo daVinci in one of my pictures, then a member of BAPLA would not accept it unless I could get Leonardo to agree to my borrowing it. Hmmm!]
     
  10. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    #3 Have you sampled work from other artists before: Yes, did this just the other day. Took THIS with by photo camera
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. That illustrates my point nicely.
    It is getting increasingly difficult these days to take a photo that does not include something that could be said to be the copyright to someone else.
    If I photograph an urban landscape and there is a billboard in shot, am I in breach of copyright if I publish my photo without the permission of the owner of the copyright of the ad?
    I would argue that no breach of copyright has occured. If the ad is exhibited in a public place the image is being put into the public domain.
    This is not to deny the owner of the ad the 'intellectual' copyright but this is, I think, very different from claiming copyright on the physical image. The two are not the same.
     
  12. SassiePhoto

    SassiePhoto TPF Noob!

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    If you incorporate the artist's work along with your own creative thought proccess and create a piece of art that is completely original, while also respecting the artist work, I believe it is okay to sample the work.
    However, when artist starts depending on the "borrowed" piece of art, and doesn't use his or her own creative thought process then I believe it is a problem, and goes along the lines of stealing.
     

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