is the royalty-free business model entering the fine art gallery market?

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The recent situation with self-appointed artist Richard Prince, in yet one more of his appropriations of intellectual property of real artists and creators, centering his defense, first and foremost, in powerful attorneys, and secondly , and yet more important, using small yet exploitable loopholes in US Copyright Law, mostly arguing and “extended version” of the Fair Use Doctrine to justify the appropriation, are leading the discussion to varied and controversial positions.

Some experts in copyright and patent law argue that MAYBE there is a possibility Prince would not loose if an infringement lawsuit is finally going to court, due precisely to what could amount to a technical glitch, basically an ironical glitch, in a situation which has never happened before, therefore, there are no precedents as to what would happen in court, possibly rendering the complaints of original authors useless on legal grounds.

Those interested in hearing some of the many positions on the matter, may check links like:

https://fstoppers.com/business/latest-richard-prince-controversy-clarified-patent-and-copyright-attorney-john-71927

That said, and there is still much to hear about this, what called my attention for real, is the reaction of one of the creators affected by the recent appropriation by Prince of images from different Instagram accounts, via screen shots or whatever technical method.

Mr. Prince managed to get well known Gagosian Gallery into running this show, where stolen shots went for sale for huge amounts of money (US$ 90000 per print), and sales were going great! But the Suicide Girls, a brand username used in their Instagram account, found some of their images as part of the Prince’s show.

When asked what was she (Missy Suicide) planning on doing about it, she mentioned the many times her images have been stolen before, knowing full well copyright law only protects powerful corporations, but does little for individuals, but in addition to that , she did something that, in my personal opinion is PURE GENIUS!!

 The Suicide Girls printed their own images, the ones on display at the Gagosian, exactly in the way Mr Prince printed them, and now the prints are for sale at 99.9% discount, this is, you can get exactly the same print for only $90, if you buy it directly from her, instead of paying $90 K at the gallery.

 Here’s an excerpt from the suicide girls on the matter: “Do we have Mr. Prince’s permission to sell these prints? We have the same permission from him that he had from us.” wink emoticon I’m just bummed that his art is out of reach for people like me and the people portrayed in the art he is selling.

 “I hope you love them. Beautiful Art, 99.9% off the original price.” “We will be donating the profits from sales to EFF.org. Urban art publisher Eyes On Walls (EyesOnWalls.com) is supporting the project by fulfilling the large canvas reproductions at cost.”

 Read the Full Statement at:

  https://suicidegirls.com/members/missy/blog/2837632/tuesday/ 

 Now, my point: I find it very interesting to see how the market is going to move, after finding out that what is being sold at a Beverly Hills gallery, on a -supposedly- exclusive basis, for large amounts of dollars, is now available for almost nothing, and in endless amounts. The art world has based the perceived value of artworks, among other things, in the scarcity of the product, and whatever Mr Prince thought he was doing, might eventually backfire, when collectors and people who can afford $90k for a print, realize they could have bought it for just $90 (and still can!!)

 This would be some kind of Royalty Free business model entering the Art Market, and I am positive the can of worms that has been opened will still bring more surprises!

 I have previously discussed the repercussions of digital technologies in the Fine Art Market, and this is one extreme case, one more case, where Copyright Law is being attacked by all fronts. In recent years, Corporate America, has made a strong lobby to see the rights of individuals reduced to zero or close to it, while their rights are enhanced to absurd levels (if in doubt, check the penalties for copying any one movie in a DVD or BluRay disk, as the FBI stamp and logo threatens the infringer with prison and fines of up to $250000, while ‘individual creators just end up empty-handed when infringed and abused.

 So far, the only thing creators can do is to register their work at the Copyright Office BEFORE making the images publicly available. Many artist, and of course, the regular Facebook and Instagram user does not remotely think about it when getting ready to post their best shots, but visual artists should seriously consider investing a little money (with $40 you can register hundreds of images in one shot), as to, at least, expect the possibility of fighting a real fight in court when infringements and abuses happen with their work.

 Stay tuned, as the re-appropriation of the appropriation of intellectual property will keep giving us surprises!! 

 Cheers!

 Jorge

#richardprince #gagosiangallery #copyrightlaw #copyrightinfringement #suicidegirls #appropriation

Success Strategies for Photographers in Linkedin

c8b66-combolinkedinlogo   I had previously posted a whole set of tips and suggestions on how to successfully use Linkedin as a professional networking channel, taking advantage of the fact, that, contrary to FaceBook and other channels, Linkedin gathers a huge percentage of professionals from all areas and fields of human performance. This characteristic makes Linkedin a potentially useful platform to build up new business relationships and strategic alliances, which can help on the profitability of your own business.

Thing is, Success is, from my point of view, more of a process than a goal. It can be easily proven that, once a goal is achieved, in any aspect of our lives, the mind already has yet another new goal to achieve, and on and on, indefinitely,  so it makes sense to focus more on the process to achieve success than in the goals themselves. Improving the process will facilitate achieving new goals.

The well known formula: [Garbage In = Garbage Out] applies wonderfully to Linkedin and every other platform and channel you intend to use for marketing and promotional purposes.

Basically, if you do not commit to provide useful, appealing content, a well groomed profile and stay active on the process of updating all your info on Linkedin, and participate in Groups, you can not expect better results than the ones you have today. Too many Photographers believe that they just need to create a profile, as brief as possible, and sit and wait for a torrential rain of new clients and projects to pour on them. Then the complaints about Linkedin not being useful as an instant cash cow pop out in every forum.

I can not emphasize enough how critical it is to prepare a very effective Profile about yourself in Linkedin. Almost everything is relevant!! From your education to the causes and organizations you donate time and resources to, to the historical career path which has led you to who and how and where you are today, everything counts, if posted properly.

Just recently, the Linkedin Blog published the 10 words people OVERUSE the most in Linkedin in their Profiles, and therefore, have been rendered technically useless for self-promotion, specially if you want to differentiate yourself properly, so your Linkedin Profile should avoid the following:

Ten most overused Profile buzzwords:

• Motivated
• Passionate
• Creative
• Driven
• Extensive experience
• Responsible
• Strategic
• Track record
• Organizational
• Expert

Sounds familiar?? How many of these are right now in your Profile?

To make this brief, consider this: if  by any chance you actually are NOT motivated passionate, creative, responsible, etc,etc, then you are not  a good profesional anyways, and again, if you are all of the above, a cool Pro, make no mistake:  every other Pro who is your actual competition, claims to be exactly the same cool Pro!

So, use your motivation, passion, creativity and experience to build up a better profile, avoiding most of the words above!!!

The matter of connecting with potential clients stays the same: One of the most useful decisions is joining Linkedin Groups, BUT, do not join a dozen of photographer’s groups, since basically none of them will need your services!! Of course, it makes sense to be in touch with the photographer’s community, so being in a couple of those groups is healthy to stay in touch with changes in the industry, etc, so, do not discard all of those, but know in advance those do not offer lots of marketing opportunities. For the same reason, Retouchers, Educators, Assistants, Coaches and Consultants  need to be in photographer’s groups, since they  can become their clients.

Think exactly in the same way, to decide what groups you should consider joining. You have to be in places where your potential clients  also roam. If you are interested in architectural clients, join architect’s groups, same for Corporate, same for Fashion, same for Advertising  etc,etc.

Participation in those groups will streamline the process of connecting with people who might become your future clients or strategic allies. It is also important to note that potential clients, prospects, may not necessarily react instantly to your profile and activity.They may bookmark your profile and will check it out for changes/updates in time, and might consider you for a project later on, when their need for your type of work arises. Months may pass by before this happens. Be patient!!

This is solid proof that success in Linkedin is a process, as you can not measure your success by what you have already achieved, but for what is coming ahead.

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About the Author: Jorge Parra shoots Fashion, Beauty and Portrait Photography for Advertising. 

You can check on Jorge’s Linkedin Profile right here.

Also, you can check some of his visual work on his recently updated website

The Digital (and Conceptual) Crossover in the Visual Arts

ChemoDigital image by Jorge Parra Photography
©Jorge Parra

This discussion comes out of a real aha! moment, after attending the presentation of Howard Herring, President and CEO of the New World Symphony America’s Orchestral Academy , during one of the fantastic Creative Mornings Miami events, under the efficient leadership of Maliks Benjamin

I have previously started a discussion on the impact of digital technologies in the way we do business, and it’s implications in the Visual Arts (see for example http://linkd.in/12i2K0Z), but there is still more to talk: a critical conceptual and relevant element in the discussion was very clearly exposed by Mr Herring in his presentation: the fact that many artists and creators are still having issues embracing digital technologies as the way to create new work.

 Of course, we are the generation dealing with the transition process, and that is already hard and harsh. Many of us learnt our craft the “analog way” and many are reluctant to just switch over to digital technologies.

It was impressive to hear Herring talk about the problems in the music world, all the more so in classical music ( Mr Herring is in charge of developing the right digital tools and strategies to teaching classical music to young musicians, whose interests are mostly elsewhere) and the experience has been quite challenging and yet, successful.

Many other artists, and specially photographers, have had troubles in embracing digital cameras, computers, software, plug-ins etc, etc, after having lived for decades under the analog technologies, shooting in film, chemical processing, chemical printing, manual retouching of both negatives and prints, tons of darkroom techniques to produce “alternative” results, and then, in the scope of less than 10 years, it all changed. Film manufacturing is going to minimum amounts, Kodachrome ceased to produce new film, ( actually, Kodak went out of business!), Polaroid closed doors, and , while still a few artists keep shooting in film ( just the same in the movie industry), most shooters from older generations have had to forcefully adapt, in an attempt to not go down the drain.

It is then when Herring’s presentation brought in a fantastic insight to the state of things, bringing back from the past no other than Marshall McLuhan, a well respected communications visionaire from the 60’s and 70’s. Herring recalls one of the most remembered phrases, “The Medium is the Message”, and even though McLuhan did not even foretold the advent of the internet and the digital revolution, the relevance of his words resonate today more than ever.

Basically, in current terms, we have to understand, absorb and digest the fact that EACH NEW MEDIA IS MEANT FOR AN INTRINSICALLY NEW MESSAGE.

 And here’s a simple train of thoughts I offer to explain this:

Back when the telegram was invented and put to use, communications were brief and to the point ( probably, the first iteration of Twitter). Then comes the Radio, and now the message is not just written word in a few characters on paper, there is now audio, and conversation is “streamed” through the airwaves. Then comes Television, and now the message involves both audio and moving images, generating an altogether new message (or type of messages), that no telegram or radio program could provide. You can, of course interject photography and movies in between.

So here we are, with each new media, a new message was intrinsically created and developed.Then we jump back to current times, with the Internet and all the digital technologies popping out.

We then have to question ourselves: for these new media, which are the new messages?

For the initial years, the term Disruption has been used over and over. Digital is destroying our way of life, or at least the one we have lived through several years/decades. The Digital Crossover is right there, in front of us.

But disruption is the initial stage and things just change and move on. Most everyone was convinced at the onset of the 20th century that Painting was going to die, due to the disruption created by Photography, but then again, Painting just took another, less pictorial, representational road, and thanks to that we have contemporary Painting, well away from Photography.

We then have to deal the realities of living the “disruption era” of digital technologies, the Digital Crossover. As a sad reality, among the visual artists, I see so many photographers still entangled in this recurrent and pointless drama. The fact that so many shooters are just trying to emulate analog photography, while using their digital cameras, is merely a disappointing way to deny the new message that is implicit in digital photography!

The fact that cameras look almost exactly the same may be part of the issue, but when I see so many of my colleagues, for example, longing for grain (and actually, adding noise to digital captures, in order to make them look like grainy film) and so many other complaints about how film photography was soo much better, I only have one solution to their longing: get back to film photography. Use the old media in the context it was developed. Artists and creators can still go a long way creating interesting images in film ( some movie directors, like Tarantino have sworn they will stop shooting movies when they run out of film), but in the meantime, if you are going to embrace digital technologies in your visual art, then get ready and curious to explore a new media, create and produce your own, new/revamped message.

Recently I tried to sit with my teenage daughter, to explain to her the basics of Photoshop, and she flatly refused to go there. She quickly showed me all the editing she does directly on her smart phone, and even challenged me to do it as fast as she does. For her, Photoshop is already old school!

So, for this coming generations, who were born in this digital/technological environment, for them the new media and it’s new message are matter-of-fact. Looks like once again, and more than ever, we have to keep learning from our kids, and stay in touch with the ever-changing technological landscape, as we learn to embrace the new world we are crossing over.

The same applies to so many other careers and professions, from lawyers to architects, to engineers, etc., meaning, we all have to stay in learning and experimenting mode, in order to stay relevant, as the business models also keep changing, sometimes in unexpected and aggressive ways.

My question/challenge to the Visual Artists is: are you willing to explore and craft your new (or revamped) message, as a way to stay relevant in this digital world we are crossing over, full speed ahead?

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About the Author: Jorge Parra is a Photographer who shoots mainly Fashion, Beauty and Portrait  for Advertising, and based in Miami, FL. He is also an Advanced Photography Instructor at the Miami Ad School.  

Jorge’s photographic work can be seen in his spanking new website,  

www.JorgeParra.com.

New York Fashion Week s/s 2011 and The Green Shows. Eco-Activism vs Glamour

©2010 Jorge Parra

I was glad and curious to attend the The Green Shows at the New York Fashion Week this week, presenting  a group of   fashion designers who are working on sustainability by way of reusing and recycling materials , fabrics and objects that many would consider trash or rejects, and transform them into fashion garments.

The interesting thing, as I saw it, is that there is still a good way to go before most of those products can be truly marketable into mainstream or even boutique stores.

The simple reason for this is that the designers are still too involved in their Eco-friendly/Green Activism, most designers have a defined background and participation in environmental/Green causes and therefore,  many designs and pieces only convey a statement, sometimes a protest, sometimes an irony, and activism has to be “toned down” into a more refined and subtle form, so the message is still there, but the glamour, usability and good-looking factors prevail. We are talking fashion here!

It was notable to see lots of designers  like LAVUK, Auralis, and Samantha Pleet working with recycled fabrics, and going  more towards casual and party wear. Other great collections like the “Black Label” by british designer Ashton  Michael introduced greatly designed pieces from recycled fabrics and natural products, for a very targeted population of young, androgynous consumers, lovers of the post apocalyptic look.

It is  for this very reason, that  the most remarkable looks, putting together a great deal of elegance, form and function while still conveying the green message, are the High Fashion designs for the “Upcycled Couture” Collection by Miami designer Luis Valenzuela, bringing class, style and forward thinking to the Green evolution, in atmosphere of luxury and glamour. His shoes made a remarkable presence, and he was one of the few designers to present shoes of his own creation.

I don’t see any reason why green and recycled has to convey a message of wear, deterioration, only post nuke attitudes and solutions. Homeless people, specially in New York, are masters at recycling garbage , and trust me, they don’k look great!

Backstage at the Green Shows, I spotted shirts and dresses left behind from some of the presentations. Does this mean that the designers just wanted to showcase the look – or rather the message- in the runway and just immediately after the event  those pieces became garbage for real? Integration of green fashion design into a marketable product needs more than than just an eco-friendly message.

The Green Design  for fashion is still in it’s early stages, no doubt much advanced than the Green Shows of last year, where most dresses were unwearable, they were just a protest, an activist’s message, but not a truly fashionable thing.
The 2011 S/S collections bring an air of freshness, and true approach to real fashion design, and, if the movement does not  slow down, and goes beyond being a trendy thing of the moment, we should see great solutions and great looks moving together for a future in which trash will have to be renamed , given the high value it may have in the proper hands of these true fashion designers.

For More images, just visit my FaceBook Business Page

Jorge Parra

Great Art keeps coming to Miami, to stay!

I am so glad of having met with my old friend Carlos Cabeza here in Miami.

 Carlos is great artist who has been living and working in Paris for more than 20 years, doing amazing work for companies like Capellini, plus many international exhibits.

His name in the Art world dates back to the time when he was assistant to Jesus Soto, the creator and major developer of Kinetic Art.
Carlos is now bringing some of his energy to Miami, and we will see a great show in October, when the new Oscar Ascanio Gallery will finally open doors in Winwood.
Oscar also deserves a warm welcome, because he is one of the most respected Gallery owners in Latin America, having published, edited and curated more than 30 books on Latin American Art, and from now on, we will have him permanently in Miami.

I had the chance to shoot an interesting portrait of Carlos immersed in one of his art installations, and also giving final touches to a very long ( 6 mt long) piece which will be on display at the opening. Carlos is also inviting local artist from Miami to a gallery in Paris he is curating for, as to create an Art Bridge between the 2 cities.

Carlos and Oscar, you are very welcome to Miami!!

Cheers!

Jorge

Synthetic Habitat: Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting Design Photography Website has been totally rebuilt

Hi Everyone!

Please check my Synthetic Habitat website for my work in the fields of Architecture, Interior Design, and very specially, Lighting Design Photography, an area where only a very few have dared entering and work on, and succeed!.

Although I am mostly and Advertising shooter, working mainly with People,Fashion,Lifestyle, and fine art, I have been contacted by several creatives, architects and Design firms to work in these fields for the last 4 years, and they have been expecting a new, fresh look from me, which I have successfully brought out, and this has made me travel worldwide in different assignments.

I still love to shoot with beautiful models and exotic locations, but I also derive lots of pleasure photographing places and spaces, with my”organic” approach to these visuals, exploring the sensuality, warmth and comfort of the spaces, in a field full of expert technical shooters, with little or no soul.

The blend of styles I can create is a perfect match for campaigns for hotels, spas, resorts, restaurants and private properties.

Check my new site at:

www.SyntheticHabitat.com

and make contact for comments, opinions, critics and suggestions.

Best wishes to all!!

Jorge Parra