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 Post subject: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Today, Brian and I went downtown to our local art fair. In case you can't imagine, it's a bunch of tents full of different artists, and it's totally free and open to the public. There are people with cameras everywhere. One of my friends is a local artist, so I go to see her work in a lot of places and often take pictures of other stuff I think is cool. At the fair, some things I shot from the sidewalk and some I went into the tent for things that were small. I did this in over ten tents before a lady came up to me and said, "You shouldn't take pictures of the artists work, some of them are very sensitive about that stuff. You should always ask an artists permission." My response was, "Okay...?"

1. It wasn't even her booth, I don't know if she knew the guy whose work it was, but I didn't see a sign in his booth asking to not take pictures of his work.
2. No one in any other booth, or gallery that i've been into, has ever said anything like that to me. One time a guy pulled a friends painting out of a closet so I could photograph it.
3. I'm sure that there are people who don't want their work photographed, but if that's true, the place for them isn't at a public art fair where tons of people have cameras.
4. I guess one could be worried that people are photographing paintings/drawings to make their own prints, but I wasn't photographing paintings in that tent. And when I do photograph paintings at galleries, no one has ever told me not to do so.
5. That booth, and many others, are very busy and crowded. Sometimes it's hard to even tell who is running the booth, and often they are talking to other people so I don't think I should bug every single one of them to ask them something that they probably don't care i'm doing.

So i'm writing this lady off as a croissant, because she was really condescending about it, but had she been nice and said that this particular artist didn't want pictures, I would've deleted them. It kind of ruined the fair for me and I was afraid to take more pictures, after that I only took pictures inside of one booth, because this guy had rally cool teapots, and I asked because we were alone in there and he sounded kind of surprised when I asked.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:42 pm 
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i have gotten flak for taking pics and even sketching at galleries, but fairs? i agree with you most on number 3- if you want to be the Thomas Pynchon of the art world, you and your art should be hiding away somewhere. A gallery I might ask, but out in public I would not. As an artist, when my quilt stuff was up for sale I would have been thrilled that someone took photos of my work.
I agree the woman was being a snot, and certainly not encouraging any sales. It doesn't take much to be a nice salesperson as opposed to the crabby bisque. She probably wasn't an artist and was just polishing her hipster skills by educating other people about how much more she knows about everything.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:48 pm 
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If they didn't want people to take pictures, they could have put up a sign that said so.


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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:52 pm 
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That's totally ridiculous.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 4:02 pm 
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I don't think the woman was very nice in her approach, but there are a number of people who don't want their art/craft photographed.
I don't mind much at craft shows when people take pics of my stuff, and frankly it's about impossible to stop people because everyone and their cat has a camera phone these days. I would guess 95% of the time it is just people out and about but there are people who go to shows from places like Urban Outfitters that will photograph and take your ideas for their company. And depending on the artist and how unique they think their work is, they may not want anyone doing photos.

I like it when people ask before they shoot just to find out why they're taking them for or why they're interested. A lot of local bloggers do it and I've gotten to meet some of them and it's nice to chat with people.
If possible at a street fair I will ask. If in a gallery I always ask. I've never had anyone say no. Occasionally I see signs in a booth saying no photography, but that is rare.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 4:15 pm 
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Also, as a seller at shows, I have had to put up with people saying some nasty shiitake to me and doing dumb things with my merchandise. Someone asking for a picture will not get on my nerves but I might sound surprised just because so few people do ask. Don't let one mean person ruin the fair for you. She may have been going around to anyone she saw with a camera telling them to stop.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 4:34 pm 
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If I were just taking general pictures of the fair/crowd I wouldn't ask, but if I wanted a more focused picture of a specific work, I would ask, especially if I were using an SLR.

It's become a trend now for many galleries and museums to allow nonflash photography because everyone and heir mom has a smartphone, but I'll still ask if I'm not sure.

That woman had a stick up her butt though.


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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:05 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
there are people who go to shows from places like Urban Outfitters that will photograph and take your ideas for their company.


Ew, that is true. I guess i've never thought to ask just because my intentions are pure, and like I said, even gallery workers have never said anything to me. Then again, the only time I go to art shows are public fairs like these or my friends who is always down with pictures.

I'm not a dick, but I will probably continue to not ask before taking pictures. If someone tells me not to, or asks me to delete the pictures, that's fine. I would rather not take pictures at all than walk around feeling like I can't just take snapshots as I please.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:39 pm 
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When visiting my sis in Amsterdam she stopped to take a picture of a chandelier in a shop she really admired and one of the workers asked her not to take a picture of the chandelier because it was someone's art work.

Like other posters said, if you're taking pictures of a specific artist's work, I would ask if they mind you taking pix but if it's just crowd photos or atmosphere photos of the fair you don't need to ask anyone.

I don't think you're allowed to take photos in museums and stuff...I remember bringing my camera into the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam but I noticed no one else taking photos so I figured it wasn't allowed. I'm a total hick though so what do I know. I just sort of see what other people are doing when I'm in fancypants places and follow suit since I never know the protocol.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:54 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I don't think you're allowed to take photos in museums and stuff...I remember bringing my camera into the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam but I noticed no one else taking photos so I figured it wasn't allowed. I'm a total hick though so what do I know. I just sort of see what other people are doing when I'm in fancypants places and follow suit since I never know the protocol.


It's generally not encouraged, and sometimes prohibited, at museums (particularly for paintings/painted items) because flash cameras can degrade and damage pigments.


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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:46 pm 
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Yeah, i'm scared shiitake-less of people so if you guys tell me I just shouldn't take pictures unless I know the artist, I just won't. The only reason I asked the last guy instead of just leaving was because we were currently alone.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 8:10 pm 
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Yeah, I've definitely been to art fairs where there are general "please don't take pictures" signs up, and it's generally best to ask.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 3:51 pm 
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A lot of indie stores will not let you take pics in there as well. I don't mind people taking photos, my boyfriend has even had people pose with his stuff. People are going to copy you no matter what. I see people ripping off my boyfriend's work (which is a more unique art form than mine) all the time...It sucks.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 4:59 pm 
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mel c wrote:
If I were just taking general pictures of the fair/crowd I wouldn't ask, but if I wanted a more focused picture of a specific work, I would ask, especially if I were using an SLR.

It's become a trend now for many galleries and museums to allow nonflash photography because everyone and heir mom has a smartphone, but I'll still ask if I'm not sure.

That woman had a stick up her butt though.

I agree with this!

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:41 pm 
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When Boyfriend and I went to a craft fair in LA, people glared at our cameras so much that we were too scared to take photos of anything. We weren't stealing ideas, just playing tourist. But people in LA were generally pretty rude to us, so it's entirely possible that their attitudes aren't the norm.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:51 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
I don't think the woman was very nice in her approach, but there are a number of people who don't want their art/craft photographed.
I don't mind much at craft shows when people take pics of my stuff, and frankly it's about impossible to stop people because everyone and their cat has a camera phone these days. I would guess 95% of the time it is just people out and about but there are people who go to shows from places like Urban Outfitters that will photograph and take your ideas for their company. And depending on the artist and how unique they think their work is, they may not want anyone doing photos.

I like it when people ask before they shoot just to find out why they're taking them for or why they're interested. A lot of local bloggers do it and I've gotten to meet some of them and it's nice to chat with people.
If possible at a street fair I will ask. If in a gallery I always ask. I've never had anyone say no. Occasionally I see signs in a booth saying no photography, but that is rare.



everything panders said.

and again, I am sure that you are the kind of person who does not act like a dick, but there are a lot of people who sell their work and their ideas/designs/product/etc are their only source of income. There are dicks out there who will take a picture, recreate the work, and sell it as their own, which is a giant kick in the balls for the original seller. That lady was terribly rude and should not have said anything, unless you were taking pictures of her work, and even then she should have been more polite.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:51 pm 
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Agreed that there is a difference between taking pictures of an art event itself (or a friend standing in front of a giant Rothko--some museums permit photography) vs taking photos of the art... as an artist, I would not be happy with someone taking photos of my work. When I distribute the images, it's clear who made them. It also feels like getting cheated if someone takes a picture of my work instead of offering to buy a print. I wouldn't be cool with that at all--especially if it's done right in front of me.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:58 am 
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Taking a picture isn't keeping me from buying things, not that I take pictures of prints (I mostly take pictures of pottery and sculptures unless it belongs to a friend). Also, one hundred times over, if anyone ever was like, "This is mine and I don't want you taking pictures of it.", I would delete the pictures.

I told my co-worker about it because he's an artist, he was surprised that no one in galleries have ever said anything, but then he said it was probably a local scene vs. out-of-towner thing, a lot of people who show at the fair are there to make money, not necessarily just to have their work be seen.

Also, there are things like the state fair, where the work is up for two weeks, none of the artists are around, and there are thousands of tourists passing through with their cameras (and also there are no signs about taking photos). If someone came up to me there and said that I was photographing their work and they would rather I didn't, I would ask why they submitted to the state fair. And then still delete the pictures. That's my perspective as someone who is just walking around, though, so i'm probably still a total crasshole.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:14 pm 
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fabulous_muscles wrote:
Agreed that there is a difference between taking pictures of an art event itself (or a friend standing in front of a giant Rothko--some museums permit photography) vs taking photos of the art... as an artist, I would not be happy with someone taking photos of my work. When I distribute the images, it's clear who made them. It also feels like getting cheated if someone takes a picture of my work instead of offering to buy a print. I wouldn't be cool with that at all--especially if it's done right in front of me.


this is how i feel about it, too. but at a fair like that, it's inevitable people will take pictures.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 5:02 pm 
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I don't think it's about whether you're intending on buying the item or not, but what pandacookie said about places like UO ripping off small designers and artists. These companies literally have a team of folks in the product development department that go out to indie boutiques, trade shows and craft shows to take photos or buy the garments, art, products and then rip them off. Now, if the lifestyle brand in question truly wants to rip off your item they'll find a way, but not allowing photos is just a way for the artist/designer to have some say in the matter.

Being knocked off by a large company is truly devastating for a small business, so people are understandably cautious about their work . Artists shouldn't have to choose between promoting their items to the public and protecting their intellectual property, but that's the world we live in.

That being said, I still don't think taking pictures at a festival, craft fair, whatever is at all off limits. I would just ask before I took a shot of a particular item. It's the polite thing to do! Sure you can delete it, but it just makes it awkward for the craftsperson to have to ask. I think the lady was still out of line for sticking her nose in other peoples business and she sounds like a jerk who wanted to be the hero of the festival.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:18 pm 
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And I was just reading this, so its timely.
http://imakeshinythings.tumblr.com/post ... s-not-cool

Unfortunately, it is someone who sells stuff online so it is hard for them to protect their intellectual property if they are trying to sell it in an online business. I'm actually shocked that a large-ish company would steal ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 10:46 pm 
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Yeah, I saw that. That's the problem with the internet, lots more people will see your stuff now, and lots more people will steal it. I wonder if she can legally do anything since it's such a blatant copy? If it was another etsy seller she could just put them on blast and even report them to etsy and their store would be over, but i'm not sure if UO can be shamed into removing the necklaces.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 12:40 pm 
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The good thing about the internet is that there is a back log of time stamps that prove you did it first. And for us digital artists, date/time info that's part of a digital file on our computers is also valid evidence in copyright court dealings. I can't articulate this very well, but you get the idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:11 pm 
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This is a really big problem in the jewelry field. I design for a company that does jewelry for jc pennys, dillards, boutiques etc. Buyers are always bringing us things that they bought or photos that they took from independent designers andasking me to copy them. I hate that so I always do a completely different thing using the original as inspiration, but the truth is that the buyer can just bring it to another company who will knock it right the fork off. There is very little that artists can do in order to protect themselves from this unless they are very well known. So, it is sad, but i can understand why artists are wary.

That said, there is no reason to be rude when someone is taking photos. Just politely say, please don't do that...


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 Post subject: Re: Artists - is this really a problem?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:59 am 
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I sell my art & jewelry at craft fairs and don't mind at all if people take photos. My stuff is all online anyway and anyone could grab those images, so it doesn't make much sense to get annoyed about photos. If I did mind I would put up a sign saying no photos please.


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