For quite a while I have been absent from WordPress, DeviantArt, Flickr, Instagram and other internet outlets and social media, places where I used to regularly share my photographic and artistic works. The main reason was that I was discouraged to find one of my photos being used by a company without asking me permission — let alone letting me know.
Thieves come in all sizes.
After finding my photo being used (((in all glory))) in their website, I immediately contacted them. I never jump into conclusions, after all, maybe someone thought it would be a naive idea. So I figured, better to ask. And indeed I ask them, and what I thought would be a normal phone conversation swiftly escalated into an all-out confrontation.
Not only they denied it, but they questioned me how would I prove it was my photograph. I should tell you my photograph was heavily edited and cut so that my signature wouldn’t be visible. I was appalled by the bravado with which that fella (((with quite a manlet’s voice))) attacked me — a clear sign they knew they were wrong. It is a big company, and for some reason we still believe that they can’t be thieves. This should show — once again– that thieves come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.
Did anyone catch his name?
My resolve was to protest with bigger and louder watermarks. Something that would infuriate people, because after all that is what protests are about — aren’t they? Or perhaps I slept during my Anarchy 101 classes.
Any how, people did get angry with my watermarks. Apparently I did touch a fiber amongst photography and art lovers. At some point in Imgur people flooded with comments criticizing the watermark, instead of the work itself. Their attention turned towards the watermark signature en masse — well not literally, but you get the point. The joke that struck me the most was when an imgurian said, “Did anyone catch his name?”
The internet can make you believe you’re crazy.
At that point I decided to not post pictures anymore, photography or art-wise. Which now I know I was wrong. But at the moment I had an urge to disconnect to keep my sanity. Yes, the Internet can make you believe you’re crazy. And crazy things I did — like not sharing my art and photography any more.
Watermarks make them uncomfortable.
Slowly but surely I began to share again at Instagram, and for the past weeks at DeviantArt. Now I am returning. And we’ll see what new adventures my photographs take me to. Many people ask me about stories or anecdotes when taking photographs, especially street photography (because it may seem more invasive). I always tell people the backlash, the ignorant critique, and the raising eyebrows are what have got me more in trouble than the actual shooting of the picture. And now… the watermarks. Apparently people have no issue with nudes, candid shots, critter close-ups, or poverty pictures I document — watermarks make them uncomfortable. Well, here you go — kryptonite for our times. I always believed kryptonite was telling the truth, but oh well.