Copyright, Fair Use & Orphan Works: Legal Conundrums in the Use & Misappropriation of Photographs and Visual Images

Posted by Mickey H. Osterreicher — 24 Jun 2013

The following article written by Mickey H. Osterreicher published in the May 2013 MediaLawLetter is used with permission of the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC).  
© 2013 Media Law Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright is, at its most basic, a property right, that must be assertively protected in order to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." (1)

There has always been tension between the exclusive rights granted by copyright law(2) to an author of a creative work and those who believe they have a concomitant right to use such work under the "fair use" doctrine.(3) There is also much disagreement over whether fair use is a right, a limitation or exception to copyright law, or a defense that may be asserted by a defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Compounding this historically vexing issue is a concern over the use of copyrighted works where the author cannot be determined or found, otherwise known as "orphan works." Nowhere are these conundrums more profound than in the use and misappropriation of photographs.

The exponential proliferation of visual images on the Internet has only exacerbated this confusing situation. According to reports, 20 million photographs are viewed on the Internet every minute.(4) Compounding that mind boggling number is the very prevalent belief that the Web is the "public domain."(5) As others know the public domain is not a place but rather a legal term pertaining to a work that is no longer under copyright protection. While works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner(6) far too many users believe that if a photograph is posted on the Internet it is there for their use without permission, credit or compensation and any such use is "fair." 

As stated by the U.S. Copyright Office (the Office), "the distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission."(7) What makes photographs so unique is that rarely are they used except in their entirety. 

Orphan Works
The Office has also articulated the concerns of some in the copyright community regarding "the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works"(8) by stating such ambiguity "does not serve the objectives of the copyright system."(9) But there is a countervailing concern that in seeking to address the frustration of "good faith users" of Orphan Works in order to cure their potential liability and "gridlock in the digital marketplace," a far more serious problem comes into play for recently created visual works that, for whatever reason, appear to be orphaned when, in fact, they are not. 

That is because within seconds of its creation an image may be downloaded and re-posted becoming "viral" in short order.(10) Many applications and websites strip identifying information, known as metadata from digital images when they are uploaded, preventing good-faith users (one who had made a "reasonably diligent effort to find the owner") from identifying the rights holder or being able to legally license the work. Under increased competition some users publish photos without permission under the business model: "use first, beg for forgiveness later." As part of that cost/benefit analysis, publications weigh the probability of discovery and resulting litigation against the time and cost involved in obtaining prior permission and licensing.

Such legislation, limiting existing recovery rights may create unintended harm to photographers that would far exceed any social benefit derived, particularly without any definitions or other requirements for satisfying a "reasonably diligent search." This problem is illustrated best in the resulting furor(11) by photographers over the recently passed Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013(12)

For authors, copyright is not just about receiving compensation for use. Copyright also protects them from having their work used in ways they do not approve and in ways that they never intended. This is particularly true for photographers. Subjects depicted in a photograph may have only consented to being photographed for certain purposes. Unauthorized use of photographs, therefore, effects more than just photographers.(13)

Another important consideration under copyright law and the First Amendment is the right to not publish or speak. There are many situations in which a visual work was created solely for private use and was never intended for public consumption. Due to the insidious nature of the Internet, many images so created have found their way there without any identifying information.

Fair Use
In a number of postings many organizations including libraries and documentary film makers who advocated vociferously for the Sean Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008(14) now take the position that Orphan Works legislation is no longer necessary. Instead, they assert "fair use" offers the protection they seek. They also state that any legislative remedies should be a minimal, "one sentence amendment to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(2) that grants courts the discretion to reduce or remit statutory damages if the user conducted a reasonably diligent search prior to the use."(15) They justify these proposals by explaining that "these uses would significantly benefit the public without harming the copyright owner"(16)

One online publication asserts that "transformativeness"(17) should be used rather than rely on the four factors traditionally used by the courts in making a fair use determination (those factors being: the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and the effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work. But no single factor is determinative. "All are to be explored, and the results weighed together, in light of the purpose of copyright."(18)  The American University School of Communications Center for Social Media defines that term in this way: 

• Did the unlicensed use "transform" the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?(19)
• Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?(20)
They also go on to state that one way to mitigate a copyright claim under fair use is by a good faith showing in providing "credit or attribution, where possible, to the owners of the material being used."(221) Unfortunately such advise runs diametrically opposite of the statement by the Office that "acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission."(22)

Caselaw
Court rulings in some recent cases may support the transformative argument but once again it is crucial to remember that even slight changes in fact patterns may result in different outcomes. In Associated Press v Meltwater,(23) the defendant asserted the affirmative defense of transformative fair use in their appropriation of copyright-protected material from the plaintiff for a new purpose. Despite the court's assumption for purposes of its opinion that Internet search engines are a transformative use of copyrighted work, it still held that Meltwater engaged in copyright infringement and that its copying was "not protected by the fair use doctrine."(24) In rendering its opinion the court found that the purpose and character of the use was not transformative (no commentary or transformation of work in any meaningful way) and distinguished Meltwater News service from Google News as not so much a search engine, but an expensive subscription service marketed as a news clipping service. The court also found that Meltwater copied too much of the AP articles both quantitatively and qualitatively. Finally, the court found that Meltwater's use of the works detrimentally affected the potential market and value of AP's articles. 

In another recent case the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reversed and vacated a lower court decision(25) in part finding that the appropriation artist Richard Prince infringed on the copyright of Patrick Cariou's photographs when they were used in Prince's work. Once again the question of the "transformative nature" of the new work came into play in deciding the fair use question. 

The lower court had initially granted Cariou's motion for summary judgment, finding that the artwork had infringed upon his copyrighted photographs. The lower court had also entered an injunction compelling "the defendants to deliver to Cariou all infringing works that had not yet been sold, for him to destroy, sell, or otherwise dispose of."(26)

But the court of Appeals disagreed with the lower court analysis of the fair use factors and found that whereas "the district court imposed a requirement that, to qualify for a fair use defense, a secondary use must 'comment on, relate to the historical context of, or critically refer back to the original works,'"(27) they believed the proper determination is "if 'the secondary use adds value to the original - if [the original work] is used as raw material, transformed in the creation of new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings"(28) (Internal citation omitted). They also found that "for a use to be fair, it 'must be productive and must employ the quoted matter in a different manner or for a different purpose from the original'"(29)(Internal citation omitted). With regard to the transformative nature of the work, the court thought it also critical to determine how the work in question may be reasonably perceived by the reasonable observer as compared with the original work.(30)

MLRC.jpg

To illustrate how difficult these types of decisions are, the case involved 30 pieces of artwork, but the appeals court was only able to make a determination on 25 of them, remanding the remaining 5 pieces back to the lower court for application of "the proper standard"(31) so as to "determine in the first instance whether any of them infringes on Cariou's copyrights or whether Prince is entitled to a fair use defense with regard to those artworks as well."(32)

In a 5 page dissent Judge John Clifford Wallace agreed that the lower court's finding was flawed, but believed that all of the works in question should be remanded for further reconsideration and factual determination under the legal standard just articulated by majority.(33) He also opined that "perhaps new evidence or expert opinions will be deemed necessary by the fact finder--after which a new decision can be made under the corrected legal analysis."(34)

Judge Wallace also took the majority to task for employing its own "artistic judgment" when comparing the transformative nature between the two works.(35) He cautions against departing from aesthetic neutrality in that he would feel "extremely uncomfortable" for him do so in his "appellate capacity," let alone his "limited art experience."(36)

Noting the court had appeared to move away from that foundational imperative in determining fair use he cited the admonition by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that "it would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves final judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations, outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits."(37)

In another case involving fair use the courts have found that the scanning of books for the purposes of indexing meets the transformative requirement even when copying entire written works because it adds value and transforms the work from its original intent by providing full-text searching and access for print disabled individuals.(38)

Another court has also held that at universities the use of copies from unlicensed electronic course reserves in place of traditional printed course packs was permissible under fair use.(39) The 350 page decision also weighed the four fair use factors, with the court finding that the unpaid use of small excerpts of the works in question to be acceptable given it would not discourage academic creativity in new works.(40)

These cases can all be distinguished from the daily misappropriation of photographs and visual images in their entirety for no other purpose than that they are readily accessible, help illustrate a story or fill a space and serve to monetize page views or sell publications. Such unauthorized and uncompensated misuse of the work of others should not be considered fair use. Rather they are exemplars of precisely the type of creative work that copyright laws were enacted to protect. 

Recent Legislative Initiatives
In May 2013, the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing entitled "A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project"(41) In a statement, Chairman Bob Goodlatte spoke of the invited speakers "as an example of how people with divergent views on copyright law can productively debate a range of copyright issues . . . speaking with a recognition that the person next to them at the witness table has just as much right to advocate their position on copyright law as they do."(42)

As noted in a statement by the Copyright Alliance, "the Project was a self-convened effort of 'law professors, lawyers from private practice, and lawyers for copyright industry firms'"(43) and unfortunately no creators (e.g. photographers) were involved.(44)

Conclusion
As the legal system tries vainly to catch-up with technology and social policy as it relates to copyright protections for photographs and other visual images a few things are hopefully apparent. Those who assert "Fair Use" as a prior rationale for the misappropriation of photographs and visual images, do so at their peril. As the U.S. Supreme Court noted, fair use is an "affirmative defense"(45) that must be successfully proved by the named defendants once a copyright infringement lawsuit has been commenced. "Defendants bear the burden of proving that each use was a fair use under the statute. The analysis of the fair use defense must be done on a case-by-case basis, and 'all [four factors] are to be explored, and the results weighed together, in light of the purposes of copyright.'"(46)

There is a strong argument that an examination of the 4 fair use factors mitigates in favor of the photographer when the use is commercial or for-profit educational purposes. The qualitative and quantitative nature of a photograph is normally self-evident. Given that almost all copyright infringements of photographs involve their entire use rather than just a small portion of the picture, the third factor in considering fair use should favor the photographer in cases where the photographs are used without any transformative changes being made to them. Finally, the effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the photograph may also be summed by Justice Holmes, when he wrote, "that these pictures had their worth and their success is sufficiently shown by the desire to reproduce them without regard to the plaintiffs' rights."(47)

The fair use doctrine is meant to protect those wishing to stand on the shoulders of others when creating new works, not on the backs of others, such as photographers, whose works are infringed upon with impunity hundreds, if not thousands of, times a day both intentionally and inadvertently.

To paraphrase U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote's ruling in Meltwater - A defendant misappropriates a photograph in its entirety in order to make money directly from the undiluted use of the copyrighted material; where this use is a central feature of its business model and not an incidental consequence of the use to which it puts the copyrighted material.

Photographing newsworthy events occurring around the globe is an expensive undertaking and enforcement of copyright laws permits the photographer to earn the revenue that underwrites that work. Permitting a defendant to take the fruit of the photographer's labor for its own profit, without compensating the photographer, injures the photographer's ability to perform this essential function of democracy.

Rather than advising users about a potential fair use safe harbor, many suggest following the golden rule of "do unto others" by first seeking permission, offering to credit and expecting to pay when using photographs and visual images on the web. It might make a rather complicated legal issue much simpler and less costly in the long run.

Mickey H. Osterreicher is of Counsel to the law firm of Hiscock & Barclay and serves as general counsel to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). He regularly deals with copyright infringement issues of members' photographs.
1.    United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8.
2.    17 USC §106 http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106 
3.    17 USC§107 http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 
4.    See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2295703/What-happens-Internet-minute-6m-Facebook-pages-viewed-1-3m-YouTube-clips-downloaded-.html 
5.    See: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html 
6.    Id.
7.    See: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html  
8.    See: http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/ 
9.    Id.
10.    See, e.g., Agence France Presse v. Morel, 10 CIV. 02730 AJN, 2013 WL 146035 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2013) (describing how news photos of the Haitian earthquake of 2010, posted online and widely distributed within minutes of being uploaded).
11.    See: http://pdnpulse.com/2013/05/uk-paves-the-way-for-orphan-works-law-will-the-sky-fall.html 
12.    See: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/24/contents/enacted 
13.    See: Alicia Calzada, A strong example of why copyright matters, NATIONAL PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS ASSOCIATION, July 13, 2012, available at http://blogs.nppa.org/advocacy/2012/07/13/a-strong-example-of-why-copyright-matters/
14.    See: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/s2913/text 
15.    Comments of the Library Copyright Alliance http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/lca-orphanworks-comments-14jan13.pdf. 
16.    Id.
17.    See: http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/fair-use/related-materials/codes/code-best-practices-fair-use-online-video 
18.    Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 578 (1994)
19.    Id.
20.    Id.
21.    Id.
22.    See: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html  
23.    12-cv-01087-DLC (SDNY) http://www.sportsandentertainmentlawplaybook.com/opinion_assoc%20press%20v%20meltwater_sdny.pdf 
24.    Id. at 3.
25.    Cariou v Prince, et al, 11-1197-cv (2nd Cir. 2013) http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/65b7b90c-6ee3-407f-83ac-8c2990efec8c/1/doc/11-1197_complete_opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/65b7b90c-6ee3-407f-83ac-8c2990efec8c/1/hilite/  
26.    Id. at 3
27.    Id. at 11-12
28.    Id.
29.    Id.
30.    Id. at 14
31.    Id. at 23
32.    Id.
33.    Id. at 24
34.    Id.
35.    Id. at 25
36.    Id. at 27
37.    Id. at 27 quoting Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U.S. 239, 251 (1903)
38.    See: Authors Guild, Inc. v Hathitrust, et al, 11 CV 6351-HB (SDNY 2012) http://www.scribd.com/doc/109647049/HathiTrust-Opinion 
39.    Cambridge University Press et. al. v. Mark Becker et al, 08-CV-142S-0DE (ND of Georgia, Atlanta Div. 2012) http://www.nacua.org/documents/CambridgeUPress_v_Becker_051112.pdf 
40.    Id. at 89
41.    See: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/hear_05162013.html 
42.    See: http://judiciary.house.gov/news/2013/05162013_4.html 
43.    Statement From Copyright Alliance Executive Director Sandra Aistars http://copyrightalliance.org/2013/05/statement_copyright_alliance_executive_director_sandra_aistars_re_todays_judiciary_0#.UaT3krWG2k8 
44.    David Lowery, Getting Copyrights Right http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/building-a-real-copyright-consensus-91231.html#ixzz2UbzdwD9Y    
45.    Campbell at 590
46.    Cambridge at 48
47.    Bleistein at 252

Photography & the Law - Beyonce' and Beyond: A Roundup of Recent Legal Issues

Posted by Mickey H. Osterreicher — 19 May 2013

Sorry that it has been so long since my last post. There has been so much going on it is hard to know where to start. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been involved in many issues.



Beyonce @ Live8 by Albert Yee

Most recently the NPPA sent a letter to the publicist for Beyoncé on behalf of 19 media organizations objecting to her 2013 World Tour Guidelines for photography and television. The new policy came as a result of the publication of some "unflattering" images of the star 's performance during this year's Superbowl. In place of photo credentials the tour has provided a Web link where those wishing photographs of the performance must first register before being able to download or use her self-produced hand-out images of each stop.

Beyoncé and her management team are certainly free to propose any guidelines they wish; but the NPPA, supported by many other news organizations believes that providing her own hand-picked handout photos rather than allow independent press coverage is wrong. While in the greater scheme of things a concert photo is not a big deal we see this as the start of a new trend where those in the news such as celebrities, sports teams and politicians are trying to exercise complete control over their images and message. When news media post, publish or broadcast this type of subject provided content they relinquish their public service responsibilities and become complicit in traveling down the slippery slope where independent reportage becomes irrelevant.


It is an artist's prerogative as to whether or not they will allow photography of their performances. A photo ban is one thing but it appears that Beyoncé wishes to have her cake and eat it too. She still wants photographic coverage but only wants to release images of her own choosing. The NPPA believes that this is improper and we have said so in our letter to her publicist.

Beyonce by Brian Ach


We also believe that once it becomes apparent that news organizations are willing to accept this type of policy and use handout photos it will only encourage others to follow suit. The danger in this type of "infotainment" is that the public will be denied the information and images that come from independent newsgathering and the media will be relegated to being nothing more than aggregators of sanitized material provided by public relations firms and press secretaries. This point is best illustrated in a joint protest by the NPPA and the White House News Photographers (WHNPA) Association regarding the photo manipulation of an official photograph made available for distribution by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office.

In another recent case in New York City, photographer and artist, Arne Svenson, is selling photographs he took of his neighbors living in apartments across the street at an art gallery. The exhibition entitled "The Neighbors," has caused much concern from some of those depicted, even though their faces were not shown. Others are considering legal action, according to reports in the AP and the New York Post.

This raises a number of legal questions regarding the privacy rights of the subjects vs. the First Amendment rights of the photographer. In New York, those rights have been clearly established for photographs taken on a public street, but what is less certain is how the courts might view photographs of inhabitants taken through an apartment window. One of the things that distinguishes public from private is that in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy whereas you do in your own home or apartment.

Mr. Svenson is not the first photographer to capture and sell these types images. Michele Iversen has been shooting in a similar fashion since 1995, as was reported in 2010. Ultimately it may be up to the courts to decide whether Svenson could be the poster child for what not to do as a photographer or whether he has now pushed the envelope in broadening the legal limits on "street photography." Other countries have different rules as can be seen in a recent discussion in the NY Times Lens Blog.

Over the past few months the NPPA has objected to a number of ag-gag laws, the most recent of which was vetoed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam after receiving a ten page opinion from his attorney general that it was "constitutionally suspect."

One of the concerns was that the proposed law contained a mandatory reporting clause that required people to turn over their unedited images and recordings to police within 48 hours of taking them. This is considered by many to be a prior restraint on the press and an infringement on First Amendment rights, not to mention the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as well as a violation of due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

capitol reef, old mormon farm by antonio chiumenti


Utah looked like it was going to be the first state to prosecute a citizen under its law for recording video of an agricultural site from a public place but prosecutors dropped the charges on the eve of the trial after widespread reporting on this matter.


The Wave by Traci Cottingham

A Hawaii anti-paparazzi law that could have been applied to anyone with a camera was also defeated. Known as the "Steven Tyler Act," the proposed bill attempted to create a "constructive invasion of privacy," thereby creating civil penalties for people talking pictures of people in public, where they would normally not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The NPPA has also been successful in having a sponsor withdraw a similar bill in California.  Where they were attempting to add greater civil penalties for traditionally protected First Amendment activities such as photography under the guise of strengthening an existing California anti-paparazzi law.

The NPPA also worked with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security to amend it polices regarding photography after receiving complaints from some of our members concerning problems taking pictures of "historic structures and national landmarks" and other subjects.

At NPPA urging, the U.S. Justice Department filed a statement in support of photographer Mannie Garcia's federal civil rights lawsuit against Montgomery County Maryland police for its unlawful arrest.


Not only is the right of access important, but so too is the right to be able to protect those images from being used without permission, credit or compensation. It is for that reason (among others) that the NPPA joined in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Google. 


"The NPPA takes the issue of copyright violation very seriously," said NPPA executive director Mindy Hutchison. "In our primary role as an advocate for visual journalists, it was only natural to join with others to challenge this widespread and ongoing infringement. It is our intention to stop this practice, and protect the rights of our visual journalists, along with their ability to control, license, and sell their own images."

The NPPA will to continue to educate the public and advocate on behalf of photographers for access and protection of their work. You may learn more about the National Press Photographers Association on the website https://nppa.org/

Exposure! Enter Today!

Posted by Justin Case — 29 Apr 2013

If you haven't already checked out the current EXPOSURE contest, you should get over to get your entry in!

The deadline is TOMORROW, April 30th.  You can still get in after that date, but late entry fees will apply.

There are bonus prizes available too!

Check it out today!
EXPOSURE 2013



Photographers, you have just 1 day left to join the
4th annual EXPOSURE photography competition

This is your chance at...
$30,000 in awards | Photo Exhibition in NYC | World Class Vacation to Paris
PLUS: A Published Feature of your work in a Limited Edition Photography Book

Click Here to Enter Now
Your Standard Entry Deadline is TOMORROW Tuesday April 30, 2013 11:59pm EDT
Late entry fees will apply after the deadline.


All entrants will receive a Thank You package of exclusive freebies and discounts! Learn more >>






Your Standard Entry Deadline is TOMORROW Tuesday April 30, 2013 11:59pm EDT


Expose Yourself!

Posted by Justin Case — 27 Mar 2013

See.Me is at it again, this time with the 4th annual international photography competition offering over $30,000 in awards and an exhibition at the Aperture Foundation in New York!

This is another great chance to get more exposure for your work... and there's still time to enter for the $1,000 Early Entry Award (by March 29th)!






Photographers, you're invited to join EXPOSURE.

See.Me presents the 4th annual international photography competition offering over $30,000 in awards including a $10,000 grant and an exhibition at the Aperture Foundation in NYC.
Photographers, this is your moment.
Click Here to Participate

Register before March 29th Midnight ET for the $1,000 Early Entry Award!


The Awards


Your photography holds power. Share them with the world for a shot at life changing awards. Photographers of all levels and styles are invited to participate and be considered for over $30,000 in awards, including a world-class NYC Exhibition and a dream getaway to New York or Paris. One Grand Prize Photographer will be chosen to receive:
  • A $10,000 cash grant
  • An Exhibition at Aperture Foundation in New York City's Chelsea arts district
  • A Printed Feature in the EXPOSURE 2013 photography book
  • International Exposure
Additional awards include a Trip to NYC or Paris for the People's Choice Photographer, and more. Click Here to Learn More >>



The Judges




Have your photographs reviewed by a panel of esteemed, industry professionals. Our panel of jurors will review and determine the winning photographers of the Grand Prize Award, Early Entry Award, and Category Awards:
  • Poppy Shibamoto, Photo Director, Monocle Magazine
  • Clare Grafik, Head of Exhibitions and Publications, The Photographers' Gallery
  • Jane Ace, Managing Editor, Phaidon
  • Francois LeTourneux, Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Montreal
  • Julia Paoli, Assistant Curator, Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Li se Beaudry, Director, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography



The Mission



Powered by See | Me, the fourth annual EXPOSURE photography competition is an international call for image-makers of all backgrounds who speak in the language of lenses and aperture. Share your best photos today and earn over $30,000 in awards including a world-class New York City Exhibition at Aperture Foundation. Click Here to Learn More >>

Photography is power. Each and every one of us carries a unique experience that manifests in the images we capture. Your photographs are distinguished and exquisite, solitary in the level of embodiment of your character and voice.



A Millions Little Pictures: Analog

Posted by Toby Morrison — 26 Mar 2013



amlp_2.pngBrooklyn, NY (Art House Co-op) March 1, 2013 -- A Million Little Pictures (AMLP), now in its

6th version, challenges people to capture the world around them in a different light. What do tens of thousands of photographs look like in one space? AMLP is about the accumulation
of photographs from hundreds of different people, that then create a world of their own.

Art House Co-op will be mailing participants disposable cameras to use in their interpretations of 'analog' through a set of film exposures. Every participant who submits their developed photographs will have two of their prints selected for exhibitions that will be showing coast to coast in New York and Los Angeles in Fall 2013.

In addition, every set of photographs submitted will be digitized and added to our online
exhibition and on view in Art House's Digital Library.

AMLP : Analog includes:
· One official AMLP disposable camera
· All of your photos digitized and added to our Digital Library
· Two of your photographs included in two exhibitions. One in NYC and one TBD
· An exciting experience shared with hundreds of others around the world

Art House co-op is an independent Brooklyn-based company that organizes creative
projects for a global audience and harness the power of the virtual world to spread inspiration and create community in the real world. Anyone, from anywhere in the world can participate in our projects.

A Million Little Pictures: Analog is now open for participation
Please visit us online for details: www.sketchbookproject.com/projects/amlpanalog


Exhibit Your Images In Times Square!

Posted by Justin Case — 9 Jan 2013

See.Me is giving you a chance to exhibit your photography on a huge, glittering billboard in Times Square in New York City!

Create a profile and submit your images to get a shot at showing the world what you've got!



Photographers Wanted for Showcase on Times Square Billboard in NYC. Signup for Free before January 29th!

This year, show your photos to the world.
Photographers, you're invited to join See.Me, a new creative community where you can share your work with a global audience, connect to others and access exclusive opportunities and awards.

Create your free See.Me profile today and be eligible for over $125,000 in awards, including your own massive billboard display in Times Square, New York City.



It's free to join. Click Here to Start
Sign up before January 29, 2013 11:59pm ET and be eligible for exclusive awards.


Share your best photos today and be considered for:
  • A video of you and your work displayed on one of the largest, brightest billboards in Times Square NYC

  • Your own Solo Photography Exhibition at the See | Exhibition Space in New York City

  • Over $30,000 in cash grants, worldwide exposure, and much more...
Vicki Da Silva in Times Square NYC June 2012.
Vicki Da Silva, Featured See.Me Photographer displayed in Times Square June 2012.

Join today and have access to the See.Me mobile app!


See | Me is a vibrant, global community of over half a million creators, where you can showcase your creative work, connect with other creatives, and access exclusive opportunities for awards and exposure. Click here to learn more >>




MoMA's Must-See New Photography 2012 Exhibition

Posted by Justin Case — 29 Nov 2012


If you haven't yet seen it, you need to be sure to check out The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and its New Photography 2012 Exhibition, featuring the work of five photographers whose work expands the definition of photography in the 21st Century.

The exhibition opened on October 3, 2012 and runs through February 4, 2013 in The Robert and Joyce Menschel Gallery. 

Associate Curator, Eva Respini, has sought to highlight MoMA's commitment to the work of less familiar artists, representing the variety and vitality of today's contemporary photography - amid the saturation of our current environment.  Her vision extends beyond the work and the artists chosen, to the very installation of the show - with traditional framed photography complemented with other configurations and even lithographic wallpaper.

The exhibition's featured artists include:

Michele Abeles
Michele's studio work combines common objects with nude males to create images that renegotiate the creative process of studio photography.

Birdhead (Ji Weiyu, Chinese, b. 1980; and Song Tao, Chinese, b. 1979)
Ji Weiyu and Song Tao work together, capturing energetic photographs of their hometown, Shanghai.

Anne Collier
Anne juxtaposes conventional still-life with appropriation to create meticulously arranged compositions.

Zoe Crosher
Zoe assembles a variety of tourist and other posed images to inhabit the space between fantasy and documentary.

Shirana Shahbazi
Shirana shoots classical portraiture, still life and landscapes, often translating and repeating images in different media to expand the boundaries of photography.



Every year, MoMA's New Photography penetrates the noise and clutter of the rapidly evolving industry to deliver truly thought provoking work.  If you're in the New York area, be sure to save some time to check this one out!

Calling All Photographers!

Posted by Justin Case — 15 Nov 2012

See.Me (formerly Artists Wanted) is announcing their global (re) launch and offering over $125,000 in awards to inspired creators to celebrate!

If you join within the next 2 weeks, you are eligible to win up to $1,000 Early Entry Award!

With amazing opportunities to gain exposure, including a video of your work displayed on one of the largest billboards in New York, an exhibition of your work in NY and opportunities for global exposure, your big break could be just around the corner!

These are great opportunities to expand your 'brand' and get your work seen.

Check it out!

Photographers Wanted : A Special Invitation...


To the photographers and image-makers: you are invited to celebrate your creative passion with an international community of over half a million members on See.Me.

To inaugurate our global launch, we're offering over $125,000 in awards to inspired creators like you. (psst, it's free to join!)

Click here to Learn More

We're featuring creative talents everyday to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Signup today and be one of them.



Join today and you could be eligible for:
  • A video of you and your work displayed on one of the largest billboards in Times Square NYC

  • Your own Featured Photography Exhibition in New York City at the See | Exhibition space

  • Over $30,000 in cash grants, worldwide exposure, and so much more...
Showcase your photos in your own NYC photography exhibition.



See.Me is a vibrant, global community of creators.
It's free to join.
Click here to Signup



As I See It: iPhone Photography by Cathaleen Curtiss

Posted by Justin Case — 28 Oct 2012

JPG is very pleased to let you know about a new exhibition at CEPA Gallery featuring the work of our very own Cathaleen Curtiss!

Cathaleen's work will be open October 26-November 26, 2012.

The exhibition, entitled As I See It: iPhone Photography by Cathaleen Curtiss features 30 images shot with an iPhone over the last 4 years.

The full announcement from CEPA gallery follows:

Reception for the artist and public
Saturday, November 3, 7:00-10:00 pm
at the Market Arcade
617 Main Street, Buffalo, New York

iPhone and Photo Apps Workshop
Saturday, November 17, 10 am - 1 pm
Taught by the artist.

CEPA Gallery is pleased to announce a unique solo exhibition by award winning photographer Cathaleen Curtiss.  As I See It: iPhone Photography by Cathaleen Curtiss, is an exhibition of 30 images taken over the past 4 years using her iPhone.

An opening reception with the artist will take place Saturday, November 3, from 7 to 10 pm; the exhibition will remain on view through Monday, November 26, 2012. 



In conjunction with the exhibition, Cathaleen Curtiss will teach a one-day iPhone and Photo App Workshop on Saturday, November 17 from 10 am to 1 pm.  The workshop will cover many apps, including PS Express (free), Pro HDR  ($1.99), Snapseed ($4.99), Photosynth (free).  Participants will discuss ways of improving iPhone photos from capture to completion, shooting and critiquing their photos together.  Space will be limited and can be reserved by calling CEPA at 856-2717.  The fee for the workshop will be $50.

About the Art and Artist

Cathaleen Curtiss, an award winning photojournalist and editor, recently turned her talents to making compelling images using her iPhone.  For the last 3 plus years she has made a point to create one image per day.  These often-playful images of daily life make the point that Cathaleen often stresses - "The best camera is the one that you have with you!"

As a photojournalist, she has documented events from Super Bowls to Superpower Summits, covering three presidential administrations and handling daily assignments and international news.  An active member in the National Press Photographers Association, Curtiss was recognized as Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association in 1990.



As Vice President of Global Photography at AOL, Cathaleen built and managed a global staff of visual content editors who created visual presentations for AOL worldwide.  Cathaleen was a visionary in creating and successfully leading a staff in the US, Europe, Mexico and India to support the ongoing need for visual content on AOL. Growing the staff from 2 photo editors in 1997 to over 80 by 2009, Cathaleen played a key role in expanding the use of photojournalism online.  The photography department under her direction accounted for over 12 billion page views a year.  She also oversaw the direction, development and implementation of AOL Visions.

Currently, Cathaleen is Director of Entrepreneurship at Daemen College; managing director of JPGmag; board member of the National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF), National Clip Chair for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and a member of the board for CenterSpace. She also writes a blog "As I See It". 

Also in conjunction with As I See It: iPhone Photography by Cathaleen Curtiss, CEPA will stream the submissions from the public component of Visions of Greater Buffalo 2012.  CEPA Gallery asked the general public to submit their photographic visions of greater Buffalo taken with their camera phones.  All submissions will be projected in a slideshow format in the underground gallery for the run of Curtiss' exhibition.  More information on Visions of Greater Buffalo can be found at http://www.cepagallery.org/visions2012/index.html


We hope that, if you're in the area, you'll stop in - take a look - and say 'hi'!

Expanding the 21st Century Definition of Photography

Posted by Justin Case — 25 Oct 2012

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has opened its New Photography 2012 Exhibition, featuring the work of five photographers whose work expands the definition of photography in the 21st Century.



The exhibition opened on October 3, 2012 and runs through February 4, 2013 in The Robert and Joyce Menschel Gallery.  This year, the exhibition features the work of New York-based Michele Abeles, Shanghai-based collaborative Birdhead, New York-based Anne Collier, Los Angeles-based Zoe Crosher, and Zurich-based, Iranian-born Shirana Shahbazi.  These photographers were selected for their work, challenging photography as a representational medium, exploring the process of picture making, exploiting the proliferation of images in a media-saturated world, and blurring the lines between photography and other artistic disciplines. The exhibition is organized by Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography.

Since its initiation in 1985, the annual exhibition has set out to highlight emerging photographers challenging the very definition of photography.  The annual fall series has featured the work of 89 artists from 17 countries.  Each year, as software, mobile, social and other technologies expand the field and fragment the space, the challenge of finding and featuring truly disruptive image-makers among the ever-expanding populace of 'photographers' grows exponentially.  The New York times estimated that in 2011, over 380 billion images were taken. Those images, taken using a variety of equipment and stored, shared or displayed across a variety of increasingly digital and social platforms have continued to evolve not only the possibilities of the art of photography, but the very nature of viewing and interpreting it as well.

Associate Curator, Eva Respini, has sought to highlight MoMA's commitment to the work of less familiar artists, representing the variety and vitality of today's contemporary photography - amid the saturation of our current environment.  Her vision extends beyond the work and the artists chosen, to the very installation of the show - with traditional framed photography complemented with other configurations and even lithographic wallpaper.

The exhibition's featured artists include:

Michele Abeles
Michele's studio work combines common objects with nude males to create images that renegotiate the creative process of studio photography.

Birdhead (Ji Weiyu, Chinese, b. 1980; and Song Tao, Chinese, b. 1979)
Ji Weiyu and Song Tao work together, capturing energetic photographs of their hometown, Shanghai.

Anne Collier
Anne juxtaposes conventional still-life with appropriation to create meticulously arranged compositions.

Zoe Crosher
Zoe assembles a variety of tourist and other posed images to inhabit the space between fantasy and documentary.

Shirana Shahbazi
Shirana shoots classical portraiture, still life and landscapes, often translating and repeating images in different media to expand the boundaries of photography.

There have been a couple of great pieces written on the exhibition at The New Yorker's blog 'Photo Booth' and Time's Lightbox. Be sure to check them both out for more on the show and insight directly from the curator.

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