Right now, I'm not entirely sure.
The AIPP Nikon Event here in the Hunter Valley is certainly a well-organised thing. We swung with speakers yesterday that dealt with video-making, stock photography, and commercial portraiture. Good speakers, as yesterday's blog attested, but they didn't quite prepare me for today's keynote.
The speaker was James Nachtwey who has been a photojournalist covering wars for what must be the last four decades. Not just wars - the aftermath of them and of regime changes; the famines, the disease epidemics and much else. He has taken pictures of death and injury, suffered wounds himself, and seen the sorts of things that would turn a lesser person to jelly. The images he projected today had that effect on me - my normal flippant attitude had no place in the lecture theater and I put away my drawing pad and just watched.
James is soft spoken - and direct to the point with the narration. He did not propagandise in what he said, apart from an appeal to us for our humanity to see the humanity of the people in the pictures. I am amazed that he could stand that degree of suffering for that length of time and retain sanity and a desire to continue working in the field.
He has garnered a number of awards for this work, and as some of his images have had a positive effect in alerting governments and people to the situations depicted, I think he can be realistically said to have done a very great deal of good - out of a very great deal of bad.
If you can see any of his work or purchase books of his images, I recommend that you do - it is not pretty but it is very real, and the concern that he has shows in the skill with which the images are crafted.
Now, that's the sombre bit done.
The second lecture was by Delwyn Everard, who is a law practitioner for the Arts Law Center for Australia, on the subjects of copyright, moral rights, and contracts as they apply to photographers.
It was fascinating - I have always imagined the law to be a minefield but I did not realise that it was quite that well sign-posted. The revelations were at once comforting and disturbing:
1. Apparently my legal right to take photographs extends a great deal further than I thought it did, apart from defence department land, national parks, or any place where a local community wants to soak me for my wallet and has enough government-funded lawyers to help them do it. I can no longer be prevented from standing on my front lawn to take a picture down the street. I can move the lights in my studio around at will. I do not have to delete images taken at the staff bowling day.
2. I have full copyright to all the pictures I take unless it involves families or weddings and then I get to arm-wrestle bridal couples for this. The normal legal procedure is two falls out of three.
3. If I do not have a model release I cannot sell the picture. Unless I imprison the model. This seems a little harsh and is going to be difficult to implement as some of my models are big healthy people with muscles. I think it is time to start shooting still life pictures of flowers for greeting cards.
4. I must stop stealing actual images from other websites and claiming them as my own. Not only that, I am even enjoined not to copy other images. Come right down to it, three big corporations have put injunctions on the use of the colour blue, wooden fences, and soft-focus vignettes. The portrait trade is going to hell. If they lock up superimposed couples in brandy glasses then weddings are dead as well....
5. There are such things as moral rights and proper money - I know because Delwyn said so. Which naturally leads onto the speculation that somewhere there are immoral rights and improper money. I'm on holiday - that's where I want to be - it sounds like the'll have liquor and dancing girls...
6. You can sue the US Postal Service for millions and eventually win. It remains to be seen if they pay off in stamps...
Now the last lecturer was a lot of fun if your idea of fun is standing up on the roller coaster as it starts down. Laurel Papworth is her name and she is a cheery and intelligent lady from South Australia who cracks the whip in the three-ring social media circus. I mean she knows what is happening and how to maximise your effect in the thing - how to put the links in to stream the network to find the social influencers to get the core income to adjust the frammis on the ratchet and squantificate the website.
Yep. That bad. Whatever you thought you were on the internet, and however you thought you might be able to make money from it, a lecture like that shows you that you have roughly the same influence on the big players as a shuttlecock has in a game of badminton. Your function is to change direction suddenly at the behest of someone with a big bat.
Still, she was cute and bubbly and as smart as a whip.
Note: As I toiled up the side of the hill to the villa to write this I realise that I have traded a workplace with 2 flights of stairs for a workplace with 8 flights of stairs. I may end up dead but I am going to have good looking legs...
Oh, what the hell, I'm feeling better. Here's a cartoon.
Labels: AIPP, Events, Nikon