Monday, June 22, 2015

An image falls in the forest

The following image was posted by @ishotkatemoss on instagram yesterday with the description, tags and comments below:

Let keep it clean: it's not only father's day but today is the International Day of Yoga. So we revisit kate, Sotheby’s and @marcquinnart in a blog post at #ishotkatemoss #katemoss #marcquinn #yoga #sculpture #hose #hosedown #clean #sothebys #fathersday #internationaldayofyoga #observe #slowdown #shoot #submit

  • ishotkatemoss Images from @100frederik @zacknach @ed.butler @cassius_jae @lauenreich @marierousseaunyu @maisonangelic @maugalvan
  • ishotkatemoss Plus additional images in blog post from @lizny3 @grantgoldman3 @rlowkes and @kaitlinkaitlinkaitlinkaitlin   

By mid-afternoon, 9 hours after submitting the image and description to instagram, the post had the grand total of 25 'likes'. Then a comment came through and a discussion ensued:
  • zacknach@ishotkatemoss I do not give consent for you to steal my photos for "your" nonsense. I want this removed. Top center photo is mine.
  • ishotkatemoss@zacknach There is no commercial purpose to the reposting and all images are in the public domain when posted to instagram, which is part of the point of the commentary i.e that we have little control over our images. This is why the photos are credited. Read the blog to understand the discussion around copyright use and artistic appropriation, which we address at length. Also ask yourself 'Did @marcquinnart give you permission to photograph his sculpture?' Please feel free to email us at if you have any additional feedback
  • zacknach@ishotkatemoss they are not public domain to repost as your own. Reread the terms of agreements and you will see that you need explicit consent to repost another users copyrighted information. Further, commercial or not, I do not approve of your message and want this removed or I will report.
  • zacknach@ishotkatemoss to quote the guidelines: "You own the photos and videos you post on Instagram. We ask that you respect other members of the Instagram community and don’t share content that isn’t yours."
  • ishotkatemoss@zacknach Not posting as our own but giving full credit. That being said, we will repost an updated image later today reflecting on your feedback. Please follow the project as one topic we investigate is appropriation in the digital age.

We went back to review zacknach's original post ... the image had 15 'likes', one of which was in fact from ishotkatemoss. This all raises a series of interesting questions and allowed us to reflect further on the role of images, public display and 'sharing', the idea of ownership in the digital age, and the construct of digital acknowledgement and cross-promotion (you see, a number of the other credited photographers were actually members of the ishotkatemoss post 'likes'). 

Would this instagram post and conversation have been of interest if in fact the post did not have any other people credited? And more importantly,  if an image from 6 weeks ago, that originally had so few views and affirmation, falls in the 20 billion image forest of instagram, will anyone see it?

Then another comment came through, to which we responded:
  • everymanespresso Sue me. 
  •  ishotkatemoss@everymanespresso Memories of the city coming after the best coffee shop in NY ... People only go after the greats i.e Everyman and Richard Prince! One day we may join such esteemed company

Now, this is important as you see @everymanespresso isn't just your ordinary instagram user ... run by Sam Penix, Everyman Espresso is widely known as one of, if not, the greatest coffee shop in NYC. And you see Sam, was sued by the not-so-fair City of New York, not due to the tattoo on his knuckles but the fact that the image of his tattoo was used as the store logo and apparently impinged on the city's trademark ... 

Sam's tattoo Photo: Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times
Unfortunately, this isn't a joke with a good punch line! Read the NYTimes article from May 2013. So, dear readers, let's all celebrate honorable and open artistic expression and dialogue with a coffee at Everyman.

For more interesting information and conversation about images in the public domain, spurred on recently by a certain exhibition, search on the web for "Richard Prince, instagram" or start by having a look at this article in Vulture.
And in honor of zacknach, we have submitted the following video as our latest instagram post:
An image falls in the instagram forest: in honor of zacknach's comments from the last post, we have created a work of (non-commercial) art, inspired by and utilizing images from those credited below. Please read all about it today at and feel free to comment - the debate is important and part of the point of this project #ishotkatemoss #katemoss #marcquinn #yoga #sculpture #hose #hosedown #clean #sothebys #complaints #noncommercial #appropriation #richardprince #copyright #credit #image #forest #observe #slowdown #shoot #submit 

  • ishotkatemoss Caffeinated by @everymanespresso. In addition to zacknach, inspired (and utilizing images) by @100fredrik @ed.butler @cassius_jae @laurenreich @marierousseaunyu @maisonangelic @maugalvan plus @marcquinnart and @richardprince1234

And, to prove we hold no grudge, if you would like to see zacknach's photography, please visit:
And Zack, we really think you should: Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

1 comment:

  1. Comments from the last week:

    ed.butler It's all good

    ishotkatemoss Thanks @ed.butler

    everymanespresso Instagram's intent is to create a community that we can share in. It is polite to give credit to the creator(which was done), but we all had to realize as people who make art, that when it leaves the nest it is subject to the influences of the world around it. Wouldn't it be rather ridiculous if your 7 year old was sent a cease and desist order from a photographer that was upset that they used a photo from a magazine to make a 2nd grade collage? Grow up and embrace change. No one is using the photo to profit or gain something. It is a reasonable way to participate in the community of Instagram- as Instagram has intended!

    vukotabrajovic Nice!