Tag Archives: photo

Don't shoot a gift horse in the mouth

I take a lot of pictures and half way decent ones get uploaded to my Flickr account. Sometimes I get requests to use these photos.

It’s tempting to think that I could charge for the use of my pictures. But truthfully, although sometimes I take some great pictures, I’m not consistently good enough and I’m not willing to put in the effort to market my photos. And even if I were, the market for the kind of pictures that I like to take probably isn’t that big.

So when I started to get requests to use my photos from students or non-profit projects, I changed my license to a Creative Commons non-commercial attribution license.  And then when I started to get requests from artists who don’t strictly fall under the non-commercial aspect or agencies working on behalf of local government or struggling bands or writers working on niche projects who were never going to pay me – I changed the license on some of my photos to a Creative Commons attribution license*.

Today I got a copy of book in which I have a photo credit.  It’s from a well known factual publisher and they never offered to pay me for it, although I was offered a free copy of the book.  (I was too lame and too paranoid to send them my address – I have my freaky moments).  Cool.

Pay me not for my peony

Today I also turned down the “opportunity” to have one of my photos featured in an online television show about teenage fashion designers  I was approached via my Flickr account and asked if they could use the photo with credit but without compensation – they just wanted to base some design elements off one of my peony pictures.   Fine by me.  Let me know which ones you want and I’ll let you use it.  Unless you want exclusive rights – in which case I’ll have to charge.

I’m sent a two page legal document with herefores and whereas and I have to give them my legal address (remember how I wouldn’t share my address to get a free book?).  Ummm, no.  If you want me to waste my time filling out your form, I really have to charge.  My day rate is not inconsiderable.

I get a buzz out of other people using my pictures.  But I take them because I want to.   I have no love of form filling.  I applied a Creative Commons attribution license to my peony pictures and told them there’s no way I’m filling out the form.

Use them or don’t use them.  I’m all about the gift economy and sharing knowledge and content.  But please, don’t shoot a gift horse in the mouth.

*Images of recognisable people, especially my son – I do not let people use for free.

Waterfowl ID for the upper middle classes

We often visit Richmond Deer Park.  And on days when cold and miserable weather has been predicted or experienced it seems that only the well-heeled go out walking.  On days like that, I sometimes feel that we’ll be asked for our papers and be ejected from the park for being too trashy. Only Simon’s National Trust hat saved us from that fate today.

Although this afternoon the weather was bright, that was very different from what the prognosticaters suggested. Although the researchers on the Jeremy Kyle ( or Maury Povich) show would have struggled to find a full line up from the park’s patrons – they might have headed to us first.

At the duck pond, I saw two young people feeding the ducks from two freshly purchased Waitrose (upscale grocery) whole grain loaves. (Which they did not share with our breadless toddler).

And the other family there, clearly upper middle class,  were marked by the erudition of the children.  “Mummy, look there’s a shelduck! And a shoveler.”  I was really impressed.  I’m always impressed by kids who can ID trees or wildflowers or some of the many types of fairly exotic waterfowl that hang around Richmond Park.

I wanted to ask the kid what this duck was – as it was just around the other side of the pond and I didn’t know what it was. But his mother gave me a suspicious look. (I swear I didn’t look that bad)

So can you tell me what this gorgeous duck is?

or this one with its fabulous ‘do.

or this one that I feel I should know, but don’t

Can you help me ID these ducks (or ducklike creatures)?

(Pintail, Tufted duck, and Red Crested Pochard – thanks Twitter! – and commenters below)

The Young Zoolander

Despite myself, I quite like Covent Garden.   Lots of fabulous buskers, lots of kinda cool things that you really don’t need.

I went there last year with my brother to check out the Transport for London shop (for all your Underground poster needs) and to buy a t-shirt for some girl he knows, he said it was in exchange for taking him to the airport.  But since we went to rather trendy  t-shirt shop, it would have been cheaper to take a cab (depending on the strength of the dollar, of course).

Don’t get me wrong – their T’s are super-cool.  And I was able to pick up a  t-shirt I’d had my eye on since before our Bill was even born – as in “wouldn’t that be such a cute shirt if I ever had a baby”.   It was a price so high, that I  was tempted to evade an honest answer when Simon, ever the miserly husband, asked me how much it cost.

This morning I had an email from the shop asking me if they could use this image.

I do think my little guy is adorable, but I don’t think much of this picture for either my photography or his cuteness, but I guess they were only interested in the T.

Free for all

Most of my photographs are published under a Creative Commons license, which means that anyone can use them – I only ask that I get credited.   I used to allow it for non-commercial use only, but generally would allow my photos to be used for commercial purposes for free.   The requests were so infrequent that I don’t think I could ever make any money out of it – so I’m generally quite happy to just let them use it.

I use other people’s photos a lot, too in presentations – and though I work for the public interest – I may be stretching non-commercial licenses.  So, I thought – what the heck – I’ll allow people to just use my images.

But when it comes to images of my son, I’ve decided I’m keeping it at All Rights Reserved.   I may have taken the pictures, but they’re not of me.

I can’t decide if I should let him be a child model at all (however limited) and I definitely don’t think I’m going to farm out his image without at least getting a t-shirt out of it.  The one he’s wearing is a little tight these days.

There’ll be feathers on the streets of London

License-to-kill London birds, to license to the kill the birds

License-to-kill London birds, to license to the kill the birds

Yesterday out of the corner of my eye I saw this Evening Standard teaser board and my first thought, crazy thought, I know…was “license-to-kill” James Bond parakeets, ‘cos that would be cool.

But I knew without looking up the story that this was the declaration of open season on London’s growing population of feral green parakeets. There are various explanations as to how the parakeets came to London in the first place, escaped from the film set of the African Queen, released by Jimmi Hendrix as a symbol of psychadelic peace, escaped from a pet store…and so on. But however they came, they can be spotted in many of the parks of South West London.

I love them. I think they’re cheery, especially since their breeding season is in January so their bright green is often the only thing that colourful in gray and bleak midwinter. But apparently many people think they’re a nuisance – and apparently a group of them chattering in the early hours in your back garden can drive people to distraction.

So now they’ve removed some layers of bureacracy when it comes to a parakeet cull.

In hiding

In hiding

According to the Daily Mail:

Other species also added to the ‘general licence’ hit-list include the monk parakeet from South America, which can occasionally be found in the northern Home Counties, the Canada goose and the Egyptian goose.

Can’t say I’m particularly cut up about Canadian geese having their numbers reduced, but Egyptian Geese!  I’m shocked and deeply disappointed.  Egyptian Geese are my favorite birds, the only goose I’m not absolutely terrified of.

No open season on the Egyptian Goose please

No open season on the Egyptian Goose please

The commonality of all the birds on the hit list is that they’re foreigners.   Blatant discrimination.  The fact is these birds will work harder and for less bird seed than the native working birds, who frankly have become a little soft.

Messing with the condiments

Yesterday’s top pic on Flickr was this one. It was taken on Saturday at H’s Cafe our local greasy spoon. Bill’ has a new fascination with the condiment tray at the caff, I can well remember playing with the sugar dispenser when I was a child. It seemed such a fabulous contraption, I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have one at home. In a way I still can’t, although we don’t use sugar much. We usually have toast for breakfast or don’t add sugar, and neither Simon nor I take sugar with our tea or coffee.

The folks at H’s Cafe are incredibly tolerant of the toddler. He’s broken several glasses and despite our best (ok, admittedly often lacklustre) efforts – he’s managed to make a terrible mess with ketchup or spilled drinks on a number of occasions. They always greet us cheerfully and never seem to mind the chaos we leave behind us.

Memento Mori

While I was on maternity leave, I went into the nearby cemetery almost every day.  Pushing the stroller over the bumpy roads seemed to calm the boy and at least we got out.   I always took my camera and was ever on the lookout for interesting floral tributes.  Flower arrangements heavily reliant on Oasis foam and florists’ wire and turned into the shape of a cat or an angel or the inexplicably common (but not very photogenic) floral chair.  I had already been taking pictures of these things for some time, but during that period I managed to collect quite a few.

I haven’t been in the cemetery quite so much and when I have been there usually wasn’t a good selection of tributes. Either nothing at all, or nothing very original.  I wasn’t sure if it was just my bad luck or if there if these things had gone out of fashion, some kind of cultural victim of the credit crunch perhaps.

But yesterday I nipped into the cemetery and found I was in luck.   There was a fabulous floral tribute based on the London Ambulance Service Crest.  The occupational floral tributes is perhaps one of my favourite themes, and this one was a particularly fine example – well executed and with the inclusion of fake gems.

Sometimes I think that this a morbid fascination – and I suppose it is.  But on the other hand, these are works of a temporary nature and represent one of the really important moments in our lives (for the bereaved and of course for the deceased), and despite being made by professionals they have a kind of folk art feel.  And maybe they are folk art if you think about it as a collaborative commissioning process.  Anyway, I tell myself I’m capturing and celebrating an aspect of culture that’s little appreciated.

Or, maybe I’m just ghoulish.