Category Archives: Photo News

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Wildflowers of the Carolinas

Wildflowers of the Carolinas by Adventure Publications is a field guide overflowing with full-page photographs and detailed descriptions of beautiful flowers native to the Carolinas.

Both famed naturalists, writers and photographers, Rick and Nora Bowers, together with Stan Tekiela, provide a multitude of images and in-depth information about the hundreds of plants featured in this marvelous book.

And along with such impressive names, one other name appears in the copyright section.  Mine.

A picture I took happens to be included.  The publishers discovered it here after I posted it in spring 2007.  Fully licensed and acknowledged, I’m honored they chose to include my work amongst the plethora of fantastic images that can be found between the covers of this handy and well-organized reference guide.

“But you didn’t take that photo in the Carolinas!”  That was Mom’s reaction, one immediately followed by her reminding me that I had digitally captured that flower at the family farm in East Texas.  Thankfully her memory isn’t as bad as mine since I was certain I had taken that shot while visiting the Carolinas.

Um, not really.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Plants can be native to more than one state at a time, let alone more than one region of the country.  Where the photo was taken is of no significance since it’s a picture of a flower also native to the Carolinas.

I’ll let you in on another little secret: I think any regional or local nature book with photographs is likely to contain representations not necessarily captured in the region or locale covered by the book.

Earth-shattering insight aside, don’t let a little truth stand in the way of heading over to Adventure Publications and buying a copy (or you can head to your favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore or other on-line vendor if the mood strikes you).

Available soon

I’m holding in my hot little hands the final edition of a nature field guide which includes a licensed copy of one of my photographs.

The time is almost here for me to reveal the now coming-very-soon book in which you will find one of my images published.

I hope it’s the first of many.  Even if it’s not, though, this has been a marvelous experience.

Stay tuned!  As soon as the field guide is available for purchase, I will share the details here.

How unprofessional!

Now I’m naming names.

You see, the internet is the Wild West of the common era.  Do something bad and people are apt to wipe your name through the digital mud.

And that’s what I intend to do here.

FlameTV, “an independent television production company based in London,” recently sent me an e-mail requesting free rights forever to use one of my photographs worldwide in whatever media they so desired, whether that be the “new comedy series for the UK” they claimed to be developing or any other outlet to which they decided to submit it.

What they requested for such use was that I “sign a materials release form for the photo, which would grant FlameTV a non-exclusive license for world transmission, in all media for perpetuity.”

In trade?  They said they would “be more than happy to write a short statement for [my] portfolio about [FlameTV’s] usage of [my] image.”

Yep.  That’s it.  For commercial use of a picture, all they can offer is a note to my parents to say they used the picture for commercial purposes.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  Not a damn thank you or a reach-around or even a peck on the cheek.

So I replied in the negative with this message to Sam Shepherd, the FlameTV representative who e-mailed me:

Thank you so much for contacting me regarding the use of my photograph.

Unfortunately, I do not grant unpaid licenses for any image if intended for commercial purposes, especially in perpetuity and for all media.

Please understand photography is a hobby for me and no portfolio is forthcoming; therefore, except in cases of not-for-profit use, I’m rather exacting when it comes to licensing my work for profit.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to contact me regarding this matter. If FlameTV wishes to reassess its licensing terms in this regard, I’d be more than happy to discuss an arrangement.

Basically, they offered me nothing, so I gave them nothing.  If they want to make a profit with content they didn’t create without sharing said profit, they can do it elsewhere.

As someone who has been in the professional world for decades, I know the importance of not burning bridges.  Therefore, even when denying something (like employment or rights or whatever), I always left a sweet taste in the mouth of those I contacted.

In this case, that meant I should have received a “thank you for your consideration and feedback” message.

What did I get instead?

The immeasurable silence of amateurism, the cold shoulder of unprofessional conduct perpetrated by those wanting something for nothing.

Like spoiled children, FlameTV stalked off several days ago sans any response, sans any professional action that would intimate they intended to conduct business with fairness, equality, competence, and know-how.

Instead, they blew me off and didn’t offer even a parting handshake.

Pitiful.  Unprincipled.  Pathetic.  Dishonorable.

Plainly said, that was WRONG!

Unpaid in perpetuity

While I’m still waiting on the final word regarding publication of a photograph in a regional nature guide, I received yet another request for licensing rights for one of my pictures.  This one, however, has me looking askance at best.

I’m writing to you on behalf of […] an independent television production company based in London. We are currently looking for photographs to use in a new comedy series for the UK, and I would like to ask your permission to use your photo […].

If you consent, we would require you to sign a materials release form for the photo, which would grant [us] a non-exclusive license for world transmission, in all media for perpetuity. I can have this emailed or faxed to you.

Let us be clear on this.

They are requesting legal permission to utilize one of my images for commercial purposes, one to be broadcast in all media in which they choose to dabble, and they want that right indefinitely.

Probably aware of what’s being asked for in light of what’s not being offered, the letter closed with this statement:

[I]f we do use the image I’ll be more than happy to write a short statement for your portfolio about our usage of your image.

Let’s be clear about something: I’m not a professional photographer, and I have no plans to ever be one.  It’s nothing more than a hobby for me.

That means I have no portfolio—not technically or otherwise—and I never will.

Therefore my images are personal, items not meant to drum up business or prospects.

Asking to use the image forever in whatever way they deem fit, all without proper attribution or payment, seems presumptive and—not to put too fine a point on it—dreadfully mercenary.

I’m declining this offer as it stands.  I hate to do that, mind you, but I must.

More photo publication news

From an e-mail received last Tuesday:

This is just a note to keep in touch. [The book] got pushed back a bit by two other guidebooks but I’m just starting back in on it.

And from an e-mail sent today:

To what address should I mail a contract for you to sign? I don’t have your last name, either. Also, how would you like the photo credit to read?

Don’t assume more from this than is necessary: the standard review and contract process, not to mention the justifiable pre-publication steps in case one of my photos winds up in the final publication.

Still. . .couldn’t you just spit!?!?

Well, at least do a happy dance, right?

To be contacted and considered is an honor in my sincere opinion, especially considering photography is nothing more than a hobby for me—with an increasingly crippled camera, no less!

[regarding the possibility of having one of my photos included in a regional field guide to wildflowers, one published by a respectable company and written by some prominent naturalists; the saga began here and continued here, here, and here]