I’m off for two weeks

For the next two weeks posts will be automated. It’s not possible to future post photos to Flickr so I had to write a small shell script to email Flickr with my photo, a subject, and a description every night.
Check out “mpack” which is the heart of the script. Hopefully I’ll upload the script here when I come back and have time to explain how it works!

Photographer’s Rights in Ireland

Digital Rights Ireland have published a post about the rights of photographers in our fair isle. It’s a detailed post that shows some of the differences between the rights a photographer might expect here and abroad.

I find it troubling that the Minister for Justice says “that the private interactions of a person – even in a public place – may be covered by the right to privacy”. This could include shopping or meeting someone for a coffee, even if it’s in the street and in a public place! His opinion will help shape the upcoming privacy bill, is this a facet of the bill? If a person expects privacy they shouldn’t be on the street in full view of potentially hundreds of people. Settle into a nice warm cafe and out of the wind!

A few days ago, I asked, “do I need a model release?” Maybe in Ireland the question should be, do I even have the right to photograph someone in public?

Edit: it’s February 2015 now and the DRI article has moved to here. It’s very old at this stage and may be slightly out of date. In a comment on a recent photo the following was posted by John Finn:

I have been in touch with the Data Protection Commissioner about the legality or otherwise of photographing people in public places. As it stands, the situation is that under Data Protection law, you have a right not to have your personal data collected, published or otherwise processed without your consent. This includes your image, and therefore covers photographs. There is an exemption to the Data Protection Acts for the purposes of art or journalism.

I think that those of us who dabble in street photography would claim the artistic defence were we ever to be challenged by someone who objected to seeing his/her image being used on the internet without his/her knowledge. However, it is a grey area. Would a judge necessarily agree that, for example, my taking a photo of someone walking down the street with his children was “artistic”? Could it be construed as being sinister, maybe even verging on the perverse?

The DP was unable to give a clear cut ruling on the matter other than stating that each case would be judged on its merits. There have not been any cases tested in court .

So, proceed with caution, is my advice. The vast majority of people will neither know nor care if their images are being distributed on the net but there’s always a first time. It might be prudent, were you ever to be so challenged by an offended individual, to delete the photo forthwith rather than stand on ceremony. It could prove to be the rock you’d perish on.

Do I need a model release?

I’ve touched on the subject of model release forms in the past. What rights does a street photographer have when it comes to publishing photos of people on the street, and even the thorny issue of publishing a photography book for charity. Does “earning money” include giving it all away again as the US Book did?

Mike Johnston gives a brief introduction to situations when you will need a model release. Some of the comments are enlightening, especially the contrast between France and the USA. Mike talks for a US perspective, but some of it applies to the EU in general terms.

I wasn’t aware of the difference between artistic use and commercial use. Mike explains it with a simple example, but if the same sort of rules apply to Ireland, I might be tempted to offer prints of some of my photos here. Who’ll buy my lovely photos then?

A Cork Skateboarder in Times Square

I received an email yesterday from GE Health. A few months ago they contacted me and asked me to add this skateboarder picture to their new Health website. It was to be displayed in Times Square during the month of April and yesterday’s email confirmed that it had been!

The email included a link to this webcam photo. It could have been taken anywhere but since there definitely was an ad campaign on April 7th, so it’s probably real!

Feed me your art

While trying to keep up with all the photoblogs I’d like to visit every day I subscribed to each one that offered a feed in my Bloglines account thinking that I’ll read these blogs like I read the rest of my favourite sites.
After importing them into Bloglines (not a difficult task, but it takes a while), I clicked around and quickly discovered that many photoblogs will only show a thumbnail or none at all in their feed!
I was particularly disheartened that Joes NYC stripped all post content and No Words, Iced Coffee and Headphoneland only showed thumbnails.
Thankfully, some of my favourite WP powered blogs, Just Photo and Simply Lotus display full size images in their feeds, and even one of the heavy hitters, Daily Dose of Imagery does too.

Blogger users can rest easy, Bloglines couldn’t auto find the feed on Shutterbug Exposed but Firefox did and I copied that into my Bloglines account. You get what you post on that site. Happy! Happy!

I noticed that many blogs powered by photoblog specific software only display thumbnails. Maybe it’s the default setting of these programs or they try to save bandwidth for their hosting companies but it doesn’t strike me as being very friendly to the visitor. As an example, the Pixelpost powered Glassey Alley displays thumbnails yet Ryan’s WordPress powered text/photoblog Rymus.net displays full size images.

Sure it’s nice, no, it’s important that you display your work with the surrounding colours and whitespace customised but in this age of information overload, RSS aggregators are a huge help to those of us swamped by too few hours in the day.

Photography Feeds on WordPress.com

One of the cool things to come out of WordPress.com has been global tags. Everyone who writes articles and posts categorises them in the normal way, but the magic bit is that these posts don’t remain in isolation. They’re added to the tags pool on WordPress.com! Go check out that page now to see what people on the site are talking about.
Even better for us RSS fans, Matt announced this morning that he has created feeds from those tags! I subscribed to the photography and photos feeds immediately, and that’s only the start of it. There are gimp and photoshop tags and a lot more. Just add the keyword to the end of http://wordpress.com/tags/ to sample what people have written. The RSS feed link is at the bottom of the page.
Thanks Matt, now take Sunday off! You deserve a break!

Umm, I won!

Just a few moments ago, I received texts from Darragh, Tom and Ryan to tell me that this blog had won Best Photoblog at the Irish Blog Awards!
It’s a good thing I’m not up there because I don’t know what to say except “thank you” to everyone who voted for me. I honestly didn’t expect to win, not when you see the competition I was up against. Crikey!

Looks like Geared Up is blogging the Awards live, and Irish Blogs is the place to go for more!
Congrats Tom! You won the Best Technology Blogger Award!
I see from Irish Eyes that Roger Galligan won “Best contribution to the Irish Blogosphere” which doesn’t surprise me at all. His Irish Blogs and Cork Blogs sites make all our weblogs much more accessible to new visitors and a central point from which to glean what bloggers in Ireland are talking about!
I voted for ya Roger, congratulations to you and the team! :)
More .. pictures on Flickr, and a video of the proceedings too!

And the winner of the best photo blog category is..

Sorry, I don’t know! It might be this blog, or it might be any of a number of other excellent blogs shortlisted a few weeks ago.
The blog awards are on tomorrow night in Dublin but unfortunately I won’t be there.
There isn’t much that would keep me away but right now I’d prefer to be in Cork and at home. It’s a happy reason, so don’t worry! I’ll reveal all in time!