Over on ARTINFO.com they are reporting that Gagosian’s lawyers are claiming fair use in the appropriation of 22 of Patrick Cariou’s images by Richard Prince which is hardly surprising. Prince has also issued the standard “these images are not that distinctive” and “I’ve made them better” probably under the direction of his lawyers or maybe he’s done this enough to know you have to pretend the photographs are not that important to the art work.

As a side note Fairey is doing the same thing with the Mannie Garcia image he used for his Obama poster and has gone so far as to claim he used an image that isn’t an exact match (story here). But, of course he also said he sorted through thousands of images to find the one he wanted to copy for the poster so that doesn’t really sound like “any image will do” now does it.

Cariou feels the same way because he can’t understand why Prince would use 22 of his images if there’s nothing distinctive about them. In the end I think this one will not land in the courts. Apparently Cariou has already received a settlement proposal and it’s just missing a few zeros. And, let’s all be honest here if you saw your photographs selling for $1.5-$3 million after they had been slightly altered “turned into art” wouldn’t you settle for a piece of the action? Or maybe it’s just a matter of paying a licensing fee plus a penalty for not getting it in advance and all will be fine.


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  1. I’d love to see what would happen if and when one of these appropriation artists-people like Koons, Fairy, Gagosian and their ilk-hijack a picture from someone like, say, Jim Marshall or Robert Frank. Or Nachtwey. Or even some Getty photographer. That would be a lawsuit that would get their attention. But I guess they wouldn’t dare.

  2. I don’t think you can compare Fairey paintings with Prince collages, i mean Prince used the whole pictures from Cariou and added his artwork, Fairey painted from an original picture, i think there’s a big difference between the two. I think Cariou has every right to be upset.

  3. Why photography is such a desorganized field? I mean photographers have no union (I think we are the only professionals that do not have one!) In music the law is very clear. The rules are made in a way tha you know if you infringed them or not. In photography things get a lot more complicated than that. I’d like to know : if I take pieces of pics of different photographers and make a collage out of them can I do that? In written word, music and video things are clear… in Photography?

    • @Giodb,

      We dont have an union because no one would join the PU

  4. Why don’t the “collectors” and art institutions step up and just not buy this crap? If you ignore these “artists” they will go away.

  5. Prince has been “appropriating” other artists’ work since the late 70’s, maybe it’s time for him to move on to the next stage of his career, where he actually creates something that is entirely his own.

    We get the point, Dick, you can steal artwork and trade it for briefcases full of money. You’ve proven it over and over, but is what you’re doing really “art”, or just a really annoying habit that pisses people off?

  6. … yet another fascinating article …

    I’m reminded of that maxim – ‘Posession’ is 9/10ths of the law.

    It’s really a question of who carries the ‘bigger stick’, well, perhaps in this case, the ‘bigger schtick’….

    The original photogragh was a ‘FOUND appropriation’, not a ‘set up’.
    The art doodling on top was a ‘FOUND defacement’ (aka ‘collage), not an ‘original’.

    So, who WINS here? Who was ‘there’ FIRST?

    If Julia Childs made the best hollandaise in the world, and Martha Stewart ‘copied’ her, but added, say, mint – does that CHANGE the basic ‘best’ hollandaise, does that CHANGE the object ENOUGH to make it ‘original’? Julia Childs had to also LEARN how to make hollandaise, meaning, it is STILL ‘hollandaise’, better or worse.

    ‘Rasta Jamaica’ was not ‘invented’ or ‘created’ by EITHER the photographer or the artist. Both of them ‘found’ some THING and used it …

    Catch my drift?

    • @canadada,

      “Catch my drift?” NO.

      “‘Rasta Jamaica’ was not ‘invented’ or ‘created’ by EITHER the photographer or the artist. ”

      you’re dead wrong. The photographer created that image the second he composed it and snapped the shutter.

      • @ericF.,
        the implication that any tourist with a point’n’shoot could return from Jamaica with anything approaching Cariou’s work is absurd.

        • @dash,

          talent aside, a amateur doesn’t have any less rights regarding copyright vs. a professional.

          • @ericF.,
            right. the problem here is Prince is riding another artist’s excellence–the essence that makes Prince’s end product at all compelling. but yeah, good point.

    • @canadada,

      “Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.”


      The technique makes it copyrightable not the ingredients. Everyone has the ingredient list for making pictures but the end result is always different.

      • @A Photo Editor,

        Nowadays in photography, I’ve taken to adding three cups bourbon.

      • @A Photo Editor, … I must point out that you failed to include the REST of the ‘legal’ definition from the link you so kindly provided, which is – “Original” means … that the author produced the work by his own intellectual effort, as distinguished from copying an existing work.”

        Following this train of thought, how does ‘TAKING’ a photograph, by an amateur or a pro, TRULY qualify?

        To illustrate my point: MANY years ago, in 1980, I ‘licensed’ my ‘Orignally Produced’ PENCIL-DRAWN typeface design to a large & well-respected multi-national graphic art house based in England. Over the years I received ‘royalites’ based on it’s usage in the ‘dry’ transfer market. HOWEVER, unbeknownst to me, in the early 1990’s, it was used as a ‘demo’ to ‘test’ the then novel digital replicating system. The subsequent ‘boot-legged’ ‘demo’ was then marketed, and later, licensed to OTHER developing digital typeface establishments as PROOF that the system had extraordinary replicating abilities. It became a back-room ‘industry standard’ of sorts. … I did not receive a penny for these early (or later) ‘knock-offs’ until I raised a royal stink about it in the late 90’s via the International Typeface Corporation. Today, one typehouse ‘manufacturer’, based in Germany, continues to ‘replicate’ this SAME typeface with marginal alterations. They have the AUDACITY to use my ORIGINAL name on their 5 (five!) ‘computer generated’ ‘knock-offs’. And they STILL don’t pay or report royalites for my Original hand-produced pencil-drawn Design.

        Make no mistake, this is THEFT. Those digitally computer generated ‘works’ are COPIES of my hand work.

        Just as a PHOTOGRAPH is, in the TRUEST sense, a COPY of some other prior EXISTING REAL THING, (regardless of the MECHANICS of ‘framing’, ‘lighting’, etc, etc, etc … )

        This WHOLE issue was brought home to me very succinctly some years ago. While in Costa Rica, I was about to ‘TAKE’ a photograph of a beguiling costumed youngster standing in a door way. The child put out his hand & said, ‘Pager, por favor’ – ‘Pay, please’.

        He UNDERSTOOD that HE was the ‘Original’.

        p.s. I also have a penchant for bourbon. Like it neat, with a slice of lime, on the rocks …

        • @canadada,
          A photograph is a replica of a moment in time not a person.

          Logic and laws are two different things. The idea behind the law seems simple to me. Protect authors so they may continue to author and make a living off authorship but don’t inhibit inspiring other authors to create things based on some of your ideas. But ultimately it is up to us and the laws will change over time. Architecture was added in 1990. Maybe people will be added at some point and the celebrity tabloid industry will die.

          Richard Prince specializes in creating work in the gray area. That is his thing.

        • @canadada,
          It’s depressing to see photographic works of art so easily dismissed as simply “found appropriations.” I thought this battle was won decades ago. I have to assume that you aren’t a photographer, or else you wouldn’t discount the hard work and the talent that goes into “finding” those moments.

          • @MW, & photo editor:

            Both Prince and Cariou ‘seized the moment’. They SAW and they TOOK – from the Original Source. It seems dishonest and obfuscating to suggest otherwise.

            What fundamentally distinguishes these two ‘appropriating’ actions?

            Does it make Prince any less of an artist, does it make Cariou any less of a photographer because they SAW and exploited the Given? Not necessarily.

            Both ‘produced’ a layer of perception that was slapped onto the Original. Both ‘works’, as such, ARE ‘replicas’.

            Just as Avedon’s photograph of Mae West is a replica. Of Mae West.

            Again, as first stated, ‘Possesssion is 9/10ths of the Law’. Law is primarily written and designed to protect the interests of the property class.

            These two ‘artists’ can squabble all they want, but, rest assured, those Rastinafarians from Jamaica will receive little, if any, MONEY from either gent. And that to me is where this whole thing is ‘suspect’.

            The Rastis simply are who they are. They EXISTED long before the camera/collage came along, saw and TOOK from them …. THEY are the Originals.

            • @canadada,
              MW is right. People used to think this way but now it’s widely recognized that pictures are the same as a brush on canvas.

            • @canadada:

              Good Lordy Loo – remember that this entire argument has nothing to do with the subject of Cariou’s original photograph, rather the fact that Prince blatantly used the work Cariou originally created for his own gain without compensating Cariou or even attempting to.

              Cariou created the photograph and, as its creator, retains certain rights to it. That’s it. The rasta wasn’t walking around aimlessly with some sort of vaporous image of himself, just waiting for someone to come along and magically turn it into a print that we could all enjoy and simultaneously rob him of any gains from it, for chrissakes.

              Really, you would make for some probably much-needed entertainment in the courtroom with this nonsense…

              • @STONER, MJ & Photo Editor:


                We clearly have very different PERSPECTIVES about this ‘issue’, regardless that it is apparently ‘de rigour’ within the photographic camp to attempt to equate a brush stroke with a camera click. How BIZARRE that is. I would NEVER equate those two. NEVER. But hey, that’s just me.

                I clearly have not had the ‘exposure’ nor ‘education’ of what now appear to be ‘main stream practises’.

                Geesh, shoot me …
                But I better sign that Release first, JUST IN CASE, ok??

  7. I’m with Giodb: why does it seem like photographers and photography are such an ‘underdog’ class when it comes to respect for their art/craft/rights…? Is it the industry itself and its professionals-practitioners who are disorganized, or is the lack of recognition and respect largely, if not purely external…? (And if so, what is at the root of this lack of recognition?)

    As a relative newcomer to this field, I see it happening over and over again (nay, I have already experienced it myself! people –friends, even– failing to give me proper credit for my work, clients and potential clients not wanting to pay me fairly –or at all– for use of my images, et cetera.) Does this happen regularly to writers? painters and other visual artists? musicians? It does sometimes feel like I’ve entered an industry that has somehow allowed itself to be taken advantage of…where precedents have not been set, where demands have not been made, where feet have not been firmly planted down with an accompanying firm “No!”

    Richard Prince’s claims are ridiculous and insulting — both to Patrick Cariou, and to photographers in general. What would he have to show as “art” or “work” if he hadn’t used someone else’s image to start from? Three blue blobs on a canvas…? (Because let’s face it, that overlaid-collage guitar image no doubt isn’t Prince’s either.)

  8. We’d talked about this issue alot at the shop since Fairey’s Obama poster hit the streets and Richard Prince would come up almost immediately in conversation.

    I don’t think anyone can responsibly bring something as completely subjective as “art” into these arguments. I think it all comes down to a simple usage issue: if it can be proven that someone’s original work is being used to create someone else’s work, the creator of the original work should be compensated somehow.

    Personally, I love Prince’s work – not for its originality, but for Richard’s perpetual finger in the eye of the art world. And I’d submit that reason for his collectibility…

    • @STONER,
      I have an affinity for FU art and photography too. But, I suppose it’s the FU that does it for me… not sure that’s a good sign.

      You can create tremendous value if you create an addition of 3 and have one as an artist proof, get the other hanging in a highly regarded museum and then offer the last for sale.

      • @A Photo Editor,
        Don’t feel bad about that, Rob! But hey, the first step is admitting it…

        And SO right you are about the editions – I’m seeing this kind of approach being taken in the collectible Japanese fashion world, too, believe it or not. Smart…

  9. I questions the intelligence of those that would purchase the “art” of Prince, but I certainly would be willing to half of whatever anyone was willing to pay for him painting on my photos.

    It would be so easy for Prince to license a set of images to alter it makes me wonder if he is stupid or brilliant in making the controversy is part of his art of marketing.

  10. @john mcd. if someone did something like that to Jim Marshall circa 1970 I’d like to think the authorities wouldn’t find the body.

    • @WDOphoto,
      Saw Marshall here in SF not too long ago. I think Jim still has a few choice grave sites just a-waitin’ for the right perp…

  11. I think APE is on point in his assessment.

    It would not be difficult for Cariou to find many, many “expert witnesses” to back up the originality or the distinctiveness of his images (ie: his publisher, PowerHouse).

    Prince and Gagosian can afford to keep adding zeroes so I hope Cariou is VERY well compensated for this.

  12. Just wait till I appropriate Prince and Fairey.

  13. I do like Richard Prince in a way that I like an ironic commentator. To comment on society, make fun of it up to the point of total provocation and more is one function of modern art and part of a society I want to live in and that includes the theme of copyrights. And I dont really have too much of a problem with his Marlboro images. He was still a young artist then and establishing his position.
    Now with Cariou’s images I see it a bit different. Prince is an established artist right now – one of the biggest names actually – and Cariou has done a very special work. To me this is just a rather blatant statement from an artistic point of view which cynically is calculated for the artist sueing Prince to great controversy. I am pretty optimistic that Cariou will get a compensation earlier or later but to me the whole thing is also a sign that the position of Prince is not so radical and ground breaking anymore and he is well past his prime. You cant build on cynicism forever.

  14. … one other comment on this issue …

    Did Cariou get signed ‘Releases’ from those poor Rastas that he took?

    Bets on – NO.

    Which, to my mind, makes him as culpable as Prince …

    • @canadada,

      There was no reason for Cariou to get signed releases as he would never have licensed this work for advertising purposes. What he did get was the trust of the Rastafarians which is why he was able to capture what he did. That trust, has undoubtedly been caused irreparable damage, compliments of Prince.

      • @ Debra Weiss (or Anyone Else),

        Is there a document somewhere that states clearly and simply when you legally need a Model Release? It still seems grey to me, after all these years.

        I thought the line in the sand was when there was news or commerce involved:

        a) Obviously for news gathering, you do not need a release. But wasn’t there that case with that businessman that showed up in the background on the NYTimes Magazine cover? And didn’t he sue (and win), claiming that the cover of the Magazine was not in fact news, but an ad for the Magazine?

        b) I thought that, even in fine art, if somewhere down the line, a print was sold in a gallery, you needed a Release, since it was for commerce. But not so, with that Philip Lorca Dicorcia case with the Hasidic man crossing the street? Didn’t PLD win that case, since it was shot on public property?

        • @Reader,
          “Commerce” is too general a term. For instance, no, you don’t need a model release to show or sell an image of someone in a gallery. But a model release is required if that image is used to sell another product. So if Nike or Penguin calls you up and says they want they photo for their new ad campaign or for the cover of the next Cormac McCarthy novel, then you need a release.

          And I’m pretty sure that news outlets don’t require release contracts. I just had my picture in the local paper, and the photographer only asked my name after she took the shot. They aren’t obliged to get a release, and I’m not entitled to complain when my face shows up on page 3.

    • @canadada,
      “Poor rastas”? That’s a very odd judgment to make. It’s obvious that Cariou knows and respects the people he’s photographed. And as Ms Weiss pointed out above, there would be no reason for him to get a release.

      • @MW & Debra Weiss,

        If Cariou does know and RESPECT the people he is photographing, wouldn’t it SHOW Respect to both EXPLAIN and get a ‘Release’?

        The photographs WERE USED in a book for Cariou’s self-promotion, publicity & self-advertising purposes. Long before Prince did his shimmy.

        By the way, ‘poor’ Rastas meant just that – Rastinafarians from Jamaica, are, in the main, POOR, ie. of little money.

        • @canadada,

          Getting releases has nothing to do with respect. It is standard business practice when the photographer knows he will be licensing those images for commercial purposes.

          I believe it’s quite evident from his body of work that he has a great deal of respect for his subjects. Perhaps you should buy the book.

          As for the “poor rastas”, they may not have much cash but I suspect they are a great deal richer than many of us.

          • @Debra Weiss,
            Disagree. ‘Releases’ do have EVERYTHING to do with respect.

            After spending quite some time in Jamaica my Self I can tell you, they are POOR. Try living in a shack without running water, electricity, or 3 meals a day … Sure, the ganga is great, if that’s your thing, but seriously, it’s a subsistence existence….

        • @canadada,
          Explain what exactly? I’m not following. And, as has already been pointed out, a release isn’t legally necessary in the case of Cariou’s photographs or his book, so what would be the purpose? You seem to be under the mistaken impression that signing a release would somehow result in the subjects being paid beyond what they may or may not have been paid during the original shoot.

          Any payment that they were entitled to would have been agreed upon when the photos were shot. But again, you really don’t know the relationship that Cariou may have with his subjects, or even whether or not he did get releases signed. He may have. And they may have agreed to have their photos taken for free, simply because Cariou knew them. We don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter.

          • @MW & Debra Weiss,

            It is true that we are all speculating about the actual ‘relationship’ Cariou had with the Rastas.

            My bet is he neither paid, nor ‘protected’ his ‘Copy-Right’ by getting a Release …

            Anyone here know him well enough to ask?

            He may have known the Rastas well enough to gain their confidence/trust to let him shoot them, but I still doubt he EXPLAINED that he intended to use those images in a book and that he hoped to gain both publicity and commerce from their use. Few people are WILLING to go along with that kind of ‘set up’ without compensation of some kind. Did he pay them cold hard cash? I sincerely doubt that.

            DW, I too have had my picture taken for the press, and have never signed a Release. It’s UNDERSTOOD that it’s a mutually agreed upon ‘publicity’ tool that will benefit us both.

            That said, I have also had photo images of mine published in the press that were watermarked when submitted, but the watermark was deleted when printed, thereby giving the newspaper future ‘control’ of the image. The newspaper did this by claiming overall ‘copyright’ for the article … I had to talk to their legal department. They IMMEDIATELY noted ‘the error’, (cuz they were in the wrong), they dropped the article ‘copyright’ claim on the images, and they ended up deleting my images from their website …

            It’s tricky stuff. One must be vigilant, HONEST, and careful.

  15. for everybody
    lawyers,artists,tourists,whatever…..time in front of us is just passing,people are moving…..and so on…and than comes PHOTOGRAPHER and only him with his eyes brain and finger stops that moment and only PHOTOGRAPHER has that right to do whatever he wants with that photograph.
    all OTHERS are wellcome to see,to buy,to rip,to scratch,and to do anything on it but please like your mama tought you be polite and ask.
    this is the ONLY story about photography.
    thank you for your space and time

  16. “we made them better” same thing I heard after they put my photo on african currency without letting me know first.

  17. Did Campbells Soup sue Warhol?

    • @blobby,
      I think appropriating a corporate image for art is different than appropriating another artist’s work for art.

      • @MW, Appropriating art created for use by a corporation is no different than any other art. There is some evidence that Campbell’s did lodge a trademark infringement suit against Warhol but it was dropped either because they realized the advertising value they would receive from Warhol’s piece was going to be greater than what they would receive from a settlement, or because there were doubts they could win. The Campbell’s soup can label has long been considered iconic and fair use could probably have been successfully argued. Either way it was a business decision that was made by the corporation. A similar situation would be Prince’s appropriation of the Marlboro Man ad shot by Jim Arndt. Marlboro insisted that anyone shooting ads for them was work for hire. Marlboro owns the copyright on those images and could never buy the publicity garnered by the ensuing controversy.

        • @Debra Weiss,
          I just think that the context means all the difference between Prince and Warhol. Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s soup can (or the Brillo box) was meant to provoke questions about what constitutes art. It’s Duchamp’s Fountain with iconic kitchen products. That’s very different than what Prince is doing here. He’s got a better leg to stand on with the Marlboro ads, since they form a direct link to Warhol. But the use of Cariou’s photography breaks that link, and in my opinion, crosses the line into theft.

          • @MW, I believe all appropriation is theft. While legally, the context might make a difference, ethically it is all the same to me. What Prince did to Cariou’s image is particularly egregious and I personally hope he gets his ass nailed to the wall.

      • @MW, I agree..it wasn’t a rhetorical question by the way.

  18. @canadada: I find it odd that you are railing against copyright for photography when the first paragraph on your blog reads,
    ” Welcome to my photo-blog. Included in these posts you’ll find some of my favourite copyrighted pinhole & digital photographs plus a taste of my other fine art work.”
    How can you claim copyright to “taking” the photographs of the “found objects” that are in them?

    Why do you presume that Cariou didn’t get a release?

    • @Rex Lisman, I’m not railing against copyright for photography … I’m railing against Cariou’s USE of the Rastas for his own end. I continue to doubt he either paid them, or got a Release so that they UNDERSTOOD how they were going to be used for his self-promotion thru a book … That’s my ‘beef’. And it’s why I find the brou-ha-ha about Prince’s ‘appropriation’ of Cariou’s work sort of silly …

      As it stands, it’s kind of a double standard. Meaning, everyone seems to think it’s ok for Cariou to do it, but not for Prince. Well, how can that be right – ?

      At this point, I’d like to KNOW, from Cariou, what arrangement he did make with the Rastas. Anyone here know him well enough to ask?

      • @canadada, You simply don’t need releases for using someones likeness for promotion?That would mean that i need to get releases from 100’s of people i have shot all over the world in order to incorporate them in my portfolios& website?I have been shooting for magazines here in the city for 15 yrs..mostly travel and have never used releases?Thats a relatively new phenomena propagated by mags so they can exploit…make more dough and fend off anyone trying to sue.I usually tear up the release forms before i go on a trip…if the Photo editors even remember to send them….which 70% of the time they don’t.

        • @REF, You hit the nail on the head, ‘exploit’. That’s the key word here.

          That Photo Editors don’t insist on Releases, and that Photographers don’t use them, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used. To me they are, at the very minimum, a courtesy to the ‘taken’.

          I just reviewed Carious’s website. I found it interesting that his ‘books’ are predominately about the marginal and the poor. In other words, those who are least likely to UNDERSTAND their own Legal Rights about ‘use of their image’ for OTHERS gain. Note that there is no equivalent publication about ‘the rich’ or ‘influential’ on his website. There is no ‘book’ about corporate executives, lawyers, bankers, or even photographers. Cariou clearly understands ‘Releases’, he’s been at it long enough to know what they are, and why they SHOULD be used. He also understands about Copy – Right enfringement, he’s suing Prince. But, again, to me, it’s a bunch of hooey. It’s calling the kettle black.

          Somehow it’s alright for him to ‘take’, ‘use’, and claim ‘Copy Rights’ without apparent compensation to the Original, but it’s not alright for Prince to do the same. That just ain’t right in my books. It’s a double standard.

          Check it out: http://www.patrickcariou.com/

          • @canadada, I am sure if we investigated you deeply we could find some sort of exploitation going on ?I think you are arguing for arguments sake..no?It pretty obvious Prince needs to compensate Patrick or bury the “ART” piece all together.Can a photographer really afford to pay and keep up with every face he has photographed over the years?It is a given if you use someones likeness for commercial sales(advertising)you must and should compensate them.That does not include editorial,books,exhibits..

            • @REF, I’m sure you could. But I’d like to believe at this stage of the game that at least I am conscious of the issue and do my damnedest now to ‘do the right thing’, especially as it pertains to PEOPLE.

              I’m not arguing for arguments sake. I think this a very interesting ‘issue’ and one that clearly ignites passion and discourse. I think that’s a good thing.

              We clearly don’t see this the same way. I’m not contesting the merits of Prince’s ‘art’, I’m questioning the merits of Cariou’s ‘case’ against Prince. If a photographer uses the excuse that he can’t afford or pay for the hundreds of faces he’s ‘exploited’ over all the years, that’s not a ‘justification’ for doing so, it’s just an ‘excuse’ and a kind of laziness/disrespect for those hundreds he’s exploited. Duh. Likewise, books, exhibits and paid editorials are still ‘commercial’ making ventures for a photographer. It is jejune to suggest they aren’t.

              • @canadada, Do you actually take photos for a living?I have never taken a photo(thats recognizable)of someone without asking and therefore them giving consent?So when i get paid 500 bucks a day to go shoot an editorial for Travel&Leisuure magazine in Cambodia i should carry around a pocket full of dough to hand out to every person i take a photo of?You are naive and quite frankly unrealistic.

                • @REF,

                  I am an mid-career artist AND a maturing photographer. I make my living as best I can, as ethically as I can, and with as clear a conscience as I can. If that makes me ‘naive’ & ‘unrealistic’ in your mind, well, phfffft, that doesn’t bother me.

          • @canadada,
            You made your point and we all understand that you feel for the Rastas but I’m getting very tired of hearing you make the same argument over and over and over again.

            We don’t need releases in a democratic society because it allows us to make pictures of people without their consent. That way politicians who don’t want their picture taken with hookers cannot tell photographers that they need a release to take the picture of them with hookers. The reason photographers are allowed to make money selling these images should be obvious but I will explain to you that people need to make a living doing this kind of stuff so it continutes to happen.

            Do you get it now.

            • @A Photo Editor, Yes, I have been making my point with additions and examples cuz I think there is a lot of ‘presumption’ amongst the current cadre of Photographers that bespeaks of THEIR sense of THEIR ‘Rights & Entitlements’ without much consideration of the ‘victim’ of the photographs they are ‘shooting’ …

              ‘Taking’ a photograph of a politician with a hooker to EXPOSE his private behaviour in the public arena of his life is very different then a photographer churning up a ‘story’ amongst media-illiterates …

              I also find it curious that you said ‘make’ not ‘take’. The ‘taking’ comes first, the ‘making’ comes later.

              Anywho, I really do not wish to brow-beat this to death. There are alot of DIFFERENT points that are getting aired here. I did just want to primarily focus on and consider ‘the issue’ of ‘copyright enfringement’ as you presented it.

              I didn’t know I was just supposed to climb on board and AGREE with you. If you would prefer I don’t bother commenting on your blog, please just say so. No big deal.

              I do like this blog, and found this particular article very interesting. I do appreciate the comments of all participants to date. Thank you.

              • @canadada,
                You don’t have to agree with me but you must allow others to have their opinion with out beating the dead horse in front of them.

                Just because you say something over and over again doesn’t make it true.

                • @A Photo Editor, Fair enough. But if you review the remarks you’ll see that mostly I’ve tried to respond to each ‘point’ as posted, from several detractors, not just ‘one’. It is the courtesy thing to do.

                  It is equally as true that just because others say things over and over again, that doesn’t make it ‘true’ either.

                  I’ve enjoyed this discourse, I’ve learned from the engagement. and I hope others have picked up a thing or two too.

                  Best to you.

                  • @canadada,
                    no. if someone says you’re wrong and here’s why you come back and make the exact same point. if I say you beat a dead horse you then proceed to beat it in front of me. i’m just letting you know you can’t do it.

      • @canadada You continue to speak as if you have first hand knowledge of what transpired between Cariou and his subjects. I think it’s a safe bet they were told of his plans to produce a book. And I bet they were even able to understand what that meant, despite their poverty.

        You also seem to be under the impression that Cariou has made a good deal of money from this book. It is extremely rare that photography books generate any sizable amounts of income.

        Imagine how much more ignorant the world would be if not for photographer’s documentations of cultures, lifestyles and peoples.

        You think theft is silly? Your equation of Cariou’s documentation and Prince’s theft of his work is completely off base. As to knowing exactly what Cariou’s arrangement was with the Rastas, it is simply none of your business, or, anyone else’s for that matter.

        • @Debra Weiss, excuse me, but why should anyone consider that YOU know the arrangement Cariou made? And just because YOU don’t want to know, doesn’t mean I don’t.
          Cariou is making it ‘our’ business by slapping a lawsuit on Prince.

          I never said he made a great deal of money. You did. I merely noted he made a book with the intention of making money/publicity for his Self. Come on, he didn’t do it FOR the Rastas.

          How does National Geographic handle ‘Releases’ and compensation? It’s well worth asking.

          It’s all very easy for industrial nations to ‘exploit’ and ‘use’ under-developed nations for ‘our’ entertainment, but perhaps the time has come when THAT sort of ‘colonializing’ appropriation of ‘found’ people OUGHT to be reconsidered …

          • @canadada,
            I’m afraid at this point, your perspective is telling us more about you than it is about Cariou and his work. You’re taking the position that he is exploiting his subjects for money and entertainment value, while I would maintain that he is celebrating them.

            It’s unfortunate that someone would look at these beautiful pictures and immediately jump to the conclusion that the subjects were somehow being taken advantage of. You don’t get images like that if you don’t love and respect the people you’re photographing. And that’s about all I’ve got to say about that.

            • @MW, Can’t he do BOTH? Exploit them for money and entertainment value AND celebrate them?

              Obviously he can. The photographer has made a book of his ‘celebratory’ images to SELL.

              And that too is about all I’ve got to say about it.

              • @canadada, Promise?

                • @Debra Weiss, promise.

  19. @canadada, I think I get it now.
    “I just reviewed Carious’s website. I found it interesting that his ‘books’ are predominately about the marginal and the poor. In other words, those who are least likely to UNDERSTAND their own Legal Rights about ‘use of their image’ for OTHERS gain.” quoted from canadada above.
    So is the point that these poor marginalized Rastas are not intelligent or sophisticated enough to UNDERSTAND?
    I think that may come as a bit of a suprise to them. You see, being poor doesn’t equal being ignorant.

    If as you argue that the copyright should belong to the original then who would own the copyright to a photograph of a sunset? Since a person can’t create themself then I suppose the copyright would belong to their parents. So now I guess before I photograph someone I need to get a signed release from their parents or maybe from God.

    Lest you think that photographing the poor and marginalized is only exploitive please remember that Lewis Hine helped to force the governement to pass child labor laws by photographing the poor, the marginlized and underaged, and I’m certain that he didn’t get model releases.

  20. By the way I just read in a paper in France (Telerama n°3092 p 34) that Prince in 1992 bought the rights of a picture from David Gross (untitled, 1975 : a picture of 10 years old Brooke Shields naked!) to create a piece named “Spiritual America”… So the guy knows he has to pay for the rights! Why not paying to Cariou then? Just because a Rasta is not Brook Shields?

  21. Yo canadadadadad…Exploit? Go tell that to Sebastiao Selgado…Because you photograph someone poorer than you….you are exploiting them?Sounds to me like you have a guilty conscience..

  22. HMMMMMM…Brooke Shields….naked with dreadlocks! Now thats an idea for Dick Prince! I see it in oils on 10’x10′ italian tile square.I’m sure the drummer from Matallica would pay a couple million for that.

  23. Rob, I thought the following relevant … but but leave the posting to your discretion … perhaps it should be an alternate post? To wit:

    Tangentially, parallel, & more food-for-thought re: the ‘copyright’ issue: –

    Woody Allen & American Apparel are duking it out. AA used a frame of Woody from one of Woody’s films costumed as a Hassadic Jew for one of their NY/LA billboard advertisements. Allen sued for ‘defamation of character’ & $10 million. AA balked, and says ‘NO’. They say he’s ruined his own public image cuz of salacious affair with his step-daughter way back when and it makes no dif now if they ‘use’ him or not. …

    My take is that Woody (… like Brooke Shields & no-name Rastas … ), has the Right to determine how his image is used in public. Specifically, the implication of the billboard advertisement was that he endorsed the product. He has clearly stated he did not.

    IF, as AA claims, it makes no dif, then why did they use him in the first place? They obviously made a ‘marketing’ decision to promote their product using his clearly recognizable mug. Obviously Woody never signed a ‘Release’, nor was he consulted about the use of his ‘public’ image for their ‘branding’ purposes …



    • @canadada, There is no relevancy here. This is apples and oranges. Brooke Shields and Woody Allen were used in ads. Additionally, Shields was a minor. And please don’t make the argument that Yes Rasta is an ad for Cariou. It isn’t.

      If you’re so concerned about this book, why don’t you contact Cariou yourself and voice your displeasure. You don’t need to know photographers in order to contact them.

      • @Debra Weiss, I respectfully submit that I think there is relevancy here. Both apple and oranges are ‘fruit’, in much the same way that Woody Allen, Brooke Shields and no-name Rastas and just no-names are ‘people’.

        The higher one’s ‘public’ profile or ‘celebrity stature’ the greater are both the benefits – and the ‘risk of use’ – for the photographer.

        The benefits are ‘publicity’ & monetary. On the other hand, the ‘risks’ of using a ‘famous’ person’s image in the form of any ‘product’ – without their consent – is potential legal confrontation.

        This is increasingly happening when ‘celebrities’ or public figures legally challenge publication or broadcast of their privacy.

        The higher up the totem pole one goes, the greater control the ‘subject’ of the shoot wants of the use of their image.

        I understand Cariou reads this blog. He could wiegh in on this matter if he so chooses.

        Best to you.

        • @canadada, Why would he choose to weigh in? He owes you and no one else any kind of explanation or justification for his work.

    • This is a very old story and anyone who knows the basics of copyright (which you clearly do not) understands that the misogynist scumbag owner of American Apparel, Dov Charney is doing it for the publicity. It’s no surprise you’ve bought it hook line and sinker.

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