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Thread: I always feel I am 'cheating' when I photograph someone else's Art

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I always feel I am 'cheating' when I photograph someone else's Art

    Not sure about everyone else, hence this thread. But I find that I often feel guilty about taking photos of others artworks. Statues, sculptures, even ornately carved building pieces like gargoyles. I find I question myself on whether this photography is my Art of if I am 'stealing' someone else's Art.

    I love these things, especially a good public Art installation, but rarely would I put them on the net for others to see or CC. Although I like to enjoy them and I find this photography, for me, is more about my own appreciation of the Art others have created.

    Just wondered what everyone else thinks about photographing Art created by others.
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    It's like shooting sunsets. Sure, do it, incorporate them into an image that works on it's own or is made better by the sunset (or art work). But would you shoot just the sunset?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    I love these things, especially a good public Art installation, but rarely would I put them on the net for others to see or CC. Although I like to enjoy them and I find this photography, for me, is more about my own appreciation of the Art others have created.
    In that cae you are taking pictires of these because they appealed to you and you want to go back an revisit them later.

    Alternatively, you may be taking a picture of the same thing, but it's because the light falls on them in an interesting way, or a perspective makes it look "different" to just photographing the piece itself. In that case, you are making your own art and if it were me I would have no qualms about posting it on the web for a CC if I wanted to show my unique view of someone else's piece. It's not a photograph just of their work in that case, but mine.
    Last edited by Granville; 29-07-2013 at 9:13am.
    Cheers

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    An interesting question and my first thought was of famous, well known artists prior to photographic medium how whether by charcoal, pencil, or paint produced famous works of buildings or statues with out apparently raising the question of cheating / copying someone elses' work. However are you copying their work or giving your interpretation of it within the environment and lighting at a given time to show how it fits or even how it may not be suitable for where it is placed.

    Also and this could be interpreted by some as a lame excuse but what if a piece of art work or a building had been put up for display for the first time that was never going to be able to be recreated again by the artist and was shortly after damaged beyond repair and yours was the only photo available capturing the work, who would be running after you to get a copy of the image.

    I see your point and raises questions in many other forms. There was in Adelaide just recently an award winning photo of a woman who had just given birth to a baby. The photo was displayed somewhere within the Adelaide Wine Centre.

    The image showed the feet still within the mother, although did not reveal any of the woman except her buttocks. The baby was being held by the doctor and umbilical cord was still attached. This created a lot of controversy and was removed after talks with the appropriate body regarding the issue. As to whether or not it was disgusting, offensive or was or wasn't art, was the main point of the debate and for me totally missed a more important point.

    For me personally it is more whether or not it was the most appropriate place for the image to be placed on display when you have so many different groups of people going through the facility including school children, although I'm not sure if they would have been taken through that area considering the content of the photo. the image was redisplayed although covered and labelled to advise people of the content as to avoid any complaints.

    I will stop here as I can see that this question can go into so many other directions it would become an endless debate, so cheers for now on this subject.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sorry couldn't let this one go. In relation to the image of the birth of this child. The focus was taken from a beautiful and natural event of life and brought on to what has been the down fall of a lot of things today and that is, "MY SO CALLED RIGHTS and or I HAVE BEEN OFFENDED". Yes if it is someone is trying to get credit for someone elses work then yes take action but if it is someone getting there nose out of joint for some irrelevant point then society needs to refocus on the real issue instead of creating a controversy for EG. monetary or attracting interest to them selves.

    Sorry I've gotten political OH HOW I OD REALLY HATE THAT.

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    Member brownie's Avatar
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    When you take an image you need to take into account your intent and subsequent use of that image. In these instances try not to think of it as stealing art but taking reference photos.

    I don’t see all photographic images as art. Police photographers, insurance assessors and architects take photos, and in some cases, those photos are of artwork and buildings but I doubt they deem the images they have taken as ‘art’ yet alone stealing art.
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    This comes up in club photo judging and was addressed at the last judges workshop at the SAPF

    If the image is just a record copy of the piece of art then it should be rejected
    If the image does something with the art (i.e. involves a person, is part of a larger work) then it's ok.

    Eg: a picture of the Don Bradman statue outside the Adelaide oval at night, lit and with say the cathedral in the background is a new work.
    But if it were just a picture of the statue then no go as a comp entry.
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    thanks for all the comments, it is an interesting discussion so far.

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    Ausphotography Regular junqbox's Avatar
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    Art is generally an interpretation, or re-interpretation, of which a new idea is being proposed, no matter what the medium. Otherwise, in the context of this discussion, it's just a photo.

    But, if you shoot a painting, or other, blow it up, print it and hang it on your wall... you're a thief. ;-)
    Last edited by junqbox; 29-07-2013 at 4:14pm.

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    For me it's about context.

    In my mind, people that walk through galleries/museums and take photos of exhibits aren't really using that artwork to create, it's more about capture. However, if you were taking photos of that artistic thing caught in an interaction - be it directly with a person/animal or indirectly via juxtaposition - then I reckon it's not too different to taking architectural photos...
    Last edited by rackham; 03-08-2013 at 3:21pm.

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