Something strange has happened.
One of my favorite images has been “stolen” and reused. When I say reused, I mean hundreds of wallpaper websites are using it. Literally, hundreds of hits came up when I did a reverse image search on it. Everything from demotivational posters to Facebook pages to bar advertisements to music pages, there it was. Here’s a snippit of what came up (with many more from where this came from):
The image is about 4 years old. I took it during my 2nd year of pharmacy school, with my very first DLSR, the Canon Rebel XS and a “nifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8, nonetheless. It is of my friend in pharmacy school. He asked me if I would go out and take some photos with him and his guitar, and being an ambitious little wannabe photographer, I happily obliged as a birthday gift for him. It was a blast! One of the best photo shoots I’ve ever had, and one of the most successful shoots I ever had… or at least I thought it was great. Toward the end of our venture around Savannah, he told me about this mechanic shop nearby that had some old junk classic cars out back. We stopped by, checked out the cars in the back and I positioned him in front of an old Cadillac. I took his whole body first, but then I realized that the guitar aligned with the Cadillac’s grill and I knelt to take a photo up close, without his upper body in the photo. About that time, the owner of the shop came out, and I apologized for disturbing him. He laughed and said, “Oh hell, I don’t know why anyone would want a picture of that junk, but take all you want!”
Turned out to produce one of my best images, even to this day it is one of my favorites of all time.
This is it:
^ Notice I added a watermark? Yeah.
So, you might be wondering… Does it bother me that someone stole my image? Yes and no.
#1. It’s my image. I took it, it is my work. Stealing is stealing.
BUT… at the same time…
#2. I posted it on the internet (on my Smugmug) without a watermark. Oops. This pretty much gives anyone access to it. If I post it out there, well, it’s a risk.
So, if I hadn’t, then we might not even be discussing it, or talking about what a cool picture it must be… which brings me to…
#3. If someone has “stolen” the image, it is because it was good enough that someone wanted it. That is flattering. It tells me that if people want to use it. They like it. They want to put it on their Facebook page to promote their business, or on their blog because it looks good.
This tells me that it is good enough to get on iStockphoto or something of the like. So, in the end, I guess I am flattered. And of course, I can always hire DMCA to do a takedown.
Really, though, I wonder if it bothers my friend… it’s MY image, of course… but after all, it’s HIS crotch that is all over the internet. 😉