Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bag Lady

Recently discovered this image on instagram on a user's public profile:
ishotkatemoss particularly liked the fact that the instagram user had taken the image of someone's commercial photograph of kate, which had been intentionally pixelated via the application onto the tote, in a way that distorted her face due to the weight of the bag.

As such, we posted the image, with the following statement in introducing the photograph: 
"Bag lady from @vanportrait, who was having dinner with a recycled kate in Vienna "
In addition to the grand total of 15 likes (yes, believe it or not, we reach at least 15, count them 15 people a day!), which surpassed the number of likes from vanportrait's original page, we received a statement from @vanportrait:

vanportrait: I did not submit my print for this page. It is a very limited piece of my private collection @ishotkatemoss

We found this comment truly fascinating in the context of our project, digital image distribution and the conversation about photography and image making, for a variety of reasons:
1. The photograph is a digital image, not a print
2. The photograph is not limited. It is a digital snapshot that has been added to an instagram account, which therefore makes it readily and widely available on numerous other platforms (websta, gramfeed etc)
3. The image is not 'private' in any way that one can define the word 'private'
Furthermore, and probably even more striking, is the fact that the user had taken an image of a commercial photographer's image and was apparently unwittingly appropriating it for their own limited private collection ...

It raises the very valid questions, yet again, of where does one's ownership of images begin and end? How does this play out in our newly minted digital age of image sharing, specifically when the user chooses to add images to their public, easily accessible and widely promoted feed?

There has been a great deal already written by people far more versed in the legalities of instagram, facebook, twitter and other platforms appropriating others images for their own gain so we will let you do your own internet searches and deem the appropriateness of sharing images on a sharing platform ...

However, we did feel it worthwhile to respond to vanportrait and attempt to engage in a dialogue around important concepts and constructs:

ishotkatemoss: Thanks for the comment @vanportrait. We are having a non-commercial conversation using distorted and altered kate images in the public (not private) domain. The images, and the associated comments, form a dialogue for how we see the state of the world, image making, photography, art, fashion, life etc. Your comments are duly noted and will be included in the project. Please feel free to visit

And here we are ... the world keeps turning and photographs keep flowing, including many unnecessary representations of kate. We continue our conversation which may make little difference, but gives us and some of our audience an outlet to be creative in this maelstrom of images.

So please continue questioning, observing and slowing down before shooting and submitting to the barrage. 

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