Challenge 139 - It's all there in black and white

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 Post subject: Photographer in the news
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:03 pm 
The Scout
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For doing what he was asked to do. Come on PTA! ... 07967.html


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:01 am 
Pyro Shooter
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I understand your point, the photographer just did what they were asked to do, but to me it was still the wrong thing to do and the photographer should have refused.

I look at this in many ways, and in every one, I think the answer is the same.

1. Artistically: as a professional photographer (which I'm not), every photo you display is a representation of your work, to be judged by other potential clients. If it's not a photograph that you can be proud of, and shows the quality of your work then don't show it. Be a professional and reshoot it. Even as an amateur photographer, I wouldn't want to show that photo as a representation of my work.

2. Delivering the goods: presumably the parents of the other kids are expected to pay the photographer for copies of a class photo. That is, after all, why they're taken. As a parent, and later as a child in the photo, I wouldn't want a class photograph with this silly happy face pasted in there.

3. Legally: I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really know if the missing consent is an actual legal requirement, or if it's just a cover-our-ass tactic for the school. Either way, I'm not sure that simply covering the child's face is enough.

Unfortunately, race is going to rear it's ugly head as well. In an ideal world, it wouldn't make any difference that the child in question happens to be African-American. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world (yet?). The fact that it is an African-American child, and so the photographer used a dark-skinned happy face is likely to spark "offensive" cries from some (think back to the days of blackface makeup in theatrical productions, and how offensive that is rightfully considered today).

So, IMO, there is plenty of blame to go around in this situation, and I personally think the photographer has to share as much blame as the PTA.


I'm here to improve my photography, and to help others do the same. C&C always welcome and appreciated! If you like my photo, please try to say more than just "nice shot". If you don't like my photo, please tell me that too. You may edit and repost my photos, as long as you tell me what you did.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:19 am 
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Lol brilliant! I have to say I'm siding with the photographer on this one (unless of course it was his job to get all the consent forms together, reading between the lines I think the school had agreed to do this).

I'm sure the photographer didn't profess to be a Photoshop ace, so when faced with the request I reckon he did his best. It's better than a bright yellow "acid badge" smiley face, which I reckon could have been even more offensive. If I was in the same position I would have just cloned the kid's face sitting next to him, which would have not been quite so noticeable, but again would have been weird when it was spotted and I'm sure somebody somewhere would get upset about it.

As it is, I'm sure most kids would like to have a cartoon character in their class, and at least it makes a good talking point.


"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it"
----- Willy Wonka

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:58 pm 
Sith Lord
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I think I disagree with Mike on this one. He wanted to do the re-shoot, for free, but the PTA refused. So he had no choice in the matter. If you refuse to deliver the print, that's a lawsuit, even if you return the money that you were given. So faced with a potential business destroying lawsuit or just doing what your paying client wants, you opt for doing what the paying client wants. When you start getting paid for your work, the whole getting to be an artist thing goes right out the window. I know. I'm faced with it now, and I'm not even "pro" in any sense of the word yet. You should see the crap I'm asked to do after handing over a photo that many people (real pros) have checked and re-checked for me. When I tell them what people are asking, they all say the same thing, "get used to it, or quit."

For the second part, on delivering the goods, this is in line with the first, there is no way to deliver goods without getting sued here. They refused the re-shoot outright, so he had no choice. They were the ones that wanted the smiley face, not him. When asked, you deliver what they want, and you won't get sued.

And consent forms are very much needed in school photography. Without the consent form, when something is shot on school grounds, you need consent forms to sell those pictures. If it's selling little Johnny's head shot to his parents, no forms needed. If you are taking shots for the school paper, or newspaper, of a sporting event, no form needed. However, class photos are essentially selling other kids likenesses to other parents. You need consent to do that. No consent, lawsuit from the parents that didn't give consent.

This country (USA, where this happened), is driven on lawsuits now. If you want to stay in business, you think about the lawsuit first, your client second, and your art last, if at all. This is why a lot of people stay hobbyists or just try to sell framed prints on the internet or at art shows. The insurance is really expensive too. It's way out of my league right now, which is why I keep my attorney friends close at hand. He did the right thing in this case.

The other side of this too... Was this offensive? No. Was it humiliating? No. This is just another example of people making a huge stink out of nothing just so they can get on the band wagon of making people feel sorry for them. If I had a penny for every time someone said they were offended when they really just want other people to bow to them, I'd be the richest man in the galaxy.


Above all, it's hard learning to live with vivid mental images of scenes I cared for and failed to photograph. It is the edgy existence within me of these unmade images that is the only assurance that the best photographs are yet to be made.
Sam Abell

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:00 am 
Das Kapital
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I think the whole thing is ridiculous (requiring a consent waiver; the damned kid was in the photo, and back in my day that was consent enough) and that the photographer did no wrong, even if his sticker was a little bit cheeky (because it's kind of a silly sticker).

As for the race thing, it'd be stupid to put a white (or yellow) smiley face on a black kid. Race, it exists. Get over it. (directed at the unreasonable world in general, nobody here!).

The meaning of life is simple: we exist to use our senses and consciousness to appreciate a universe that might otherwise go unappreciated in its eons of vast silence.

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