Film 1101

Here's a glimpse of the exhibit by my first semester class for 2012, Introduction to Photography, at UWI's Film School.

Noel Norton is gone

Noel Norton, the remarkable photographer whose fifty-year career touched many clients and photographers passed away on January 12.
BitDepth 818, on his passing, is here.
Here's a story I wrote about him in 1999 for the Guardian's Sunday Magazine and another I wrote in 2005 on the occasion of his honorary doctorate from UTT.
A rememberance of his wife and lifelong business partner, Mary, is here.

Christmas themed desktop images

Feel the vibe of Christmas with these desktop images that reflect the season as it's celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago. Download them here for your computer monitor.

Team Wire redux

A chance reuniting of the old photography team at The Wire. Read More...

You stole my photo - Episode 8

Just off to the right of the camera during the report on the new cultural archive announced by the Culture Ministry, was, yes, my photo of Mungal Patasar. Stolen again for the exhibit created to launch the collection of cultural artifacts called Remember When.

I am reliably informed that I wasn't the only person to puzzle over photographs and video that they hadn't remembered licensing to the otherwise commendable effort at launching an online cultural museum.

Here's the thing, if an image, or a video, or a story or any other intellectual property is still owned by its creator, whether or nor it's being actively exploited, the right to make use of that work remains with its creator until a license is negotiated for its use. If you don't do that, you're stealing people's work and it really doesn't matter how noble the cause that you espouse.

So let's get this clear. That photo of Mungal Patasar that you're using in your exhibit must be licensed from me. You have no rights to it and you are stealing it, plain and simple. It isn't even that hard to find out who shot it. You could just ask Mungal, who has had a long relationship with your Ministry.

It isn't as if you're the only people to steal this photo, but don't feel good just because National Geographic did too. A Ministry of Culture and Multiculturalism should begin by having respect for the people actually creating the culture they purport to represent, shouldn't it?

Of course, this might just be a pipe dream. I've seen what you've done with your scans of Jeffrey Chock's photos of a Nrityanjali Dance Theatre. Since all old grayscale negatives need hands on retouching, it's particularly appalling that you felt comfortable posting images of the dancers performing in the snow of technical slackness.

You stole my photo - Episode 8

This isn't the first time that this photo of Modupe Onilu has been used without my permission, but the first time was for an event I had some sympathy for. Onilu's been working hard to raise funds to continue his education as a musician and tossed this photo into a promotion for a fund-raising show.

We had a little exchange of e-mails about it and I gave my blessing for its use that time. Now the photo has showed up again, the identifying copyright information cropped out of it in an advertisement for shows being held as part of the Emancipation celebrations by the Emancipation Support Committee.

This is, in a word, kind of shitty.
Millions of dollars are being spent on this event. People are being flown in to perform. Hundreds of yards of African material are being ironed even as I write this.
Nobody, apparently, has the time to engage in a simple matter of rights clearances for images being used in a television advertisement?

The ad is one of those hastily thrown together things that makes use of clips and stills obviously gathered from myriad sources. It's one of the wonders of our modern age that a Google search can find so much material so quickly and another that almost anyone can create a broadcast quality clip out of it all.

But this sort of nastiness, outright theft of someone else's property with no regard for their rights to the material, will continue until two things happen.

One. The people who commission advertising of all kinds recognise their liability when copyrights are infringed and insist on rights clearances for the material being used in their promotions.

Two. When performers get their acts together and commission photography for publicity use that they can legitimately allow the producers of advertising materials to access when it's time to include their images in this sort of broadcast.

Someone, somewhere, grabbed this photo, originally shot for the online magazine, Outlish, stripped the identifying watermarks from it and made use of it. I don't care how short your deadlines are, nor does any court of law. You clear the works with the rights owner or you don't use the material.

Emancipation Support Committee, I demand to be liberated from this kind of oppression of my civil right to exploit the rewards associated with my hard work. Until then, you stole my photo.

You stole my photo - Episode 7

Okay, Wayne's gone. It's tragic and we all feel a sense of loss. I liked the guy and his dedication to his work. I even photographed him this year, working on the costume that would be his last creation for Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.

But you know what, TV6? That's my photo. I'm guessing that the image was made available by Wayne's family and friends, because when there was a plan to do a Carnival exhibit of the Oval Wall images, I asked his permission to use that image for my submission and I gave him a copy of it.

Of course, if you got a copy of that photo, it's got my sticker on the back of it, but it's likely that you found it somewhere online or in a copy of Caribbean Beat, because that photo's never appeared in the Express.
So while it was all in a good and noble cause, after all the man's work and career deserves a good photo of him at the peak of his powers, you know what? You Stole My Photo. Just sayin'.

Doubles fun

Had a wonderful, if horribly rushed opportunity with Hachette publishers recently to provide the images for a planned story on Doubles in Trinidad for Morning Calm, the inflight magazine of Singapore Airways.

There were just a few days left on the publication's deadline when they contacted me (for reasons that are irrelevant to mention here) and the request came just as Carnival was heating up, but it also was a chance to plunge deep into the world of channa and bara to find out just what was going on there.

Confession. I'm not really a doubles kind of guy, but the folks who love doubles LOVE doubles and have strong, deep, absolute convictions about what constitutes a good sidewalk meal. Quite the learning opportunity.
The other two pages of the story are here...

You stole my photo - Episode 6

Friends, colleagues...
Yes Ella is a wonderful, impressive woman, and at the risk of calling down some of the power in that voice, she hasn't negotiated with me to give you the right to reproduce my photo of her.
Not that I think that Ella Andall, who walked away from recording music at the height of sidewalk piracy, would knowingly allow a copyright infringement of her own image, of all things.

So let's assume that you grabbed the photo online, or perhaps from the issue of Caribbean Beat it was commissioned for. Now that hardly seems fair, does it?
Particularly since I shoot for not just your competition, but in this case, your specific competition in the women's-issues-in-print-on-Sunday market, Womanwise.

Put that way, just grabbing my photo and using it without either asking or giving credit just seems nasty and spiteful, doesn't it? Particularly since I've allowed you to use other images, for free, in the past with a lil' tiny credit.

It seems like a cruel thing now, doesn't it, to know that you so casually stole my photo. Welcome to the club, you have some quite infamous company here.

You stole my photo - Episode 5

Really, International Soca Monarch organisers?
A two million dollar prize and no budget to pay for image assets to use in your advertising? No attention to copyright clearances and image licensing in an event that's all about the kultear?

Where do I even start with this? Which low-level dude with a pirated copy of After Effects putting together this butchery of graphics do I send an invoice to? Which creative consultant approving this crappy piece of promotion do I brace for a fee?

Really, if you don't care enough to do a decent ad for your big competition what chance do I have of getting paid for this infringement of my copyright?

You stole my photo - Episode 4

I got the link from someone who knew this photo well and kind of suspected that it was being used without authorisation.
They were right.

Posted by to YouTube, the video was Destra's new song for Carnival 2011 and my photograph of her, shot for Womanwise while she was pregnant, for the entire duration of the track.
I e-mailed the poster of the video, Julian's Promos and explained my position.

I don't pursue these kinds of infringements with a view to financial recompense. There's no clear revenue stream for anyone involved, though everyone who participates can benefit from the exposure if appropriate credit is given.

That credit should be negotiated at the time of production, when all the elements are being sourced and assembled. According to the producer of this video, he found the image in a Google image search and saw no credits. I ran the same search and found the image with my copyright notice embedded in it, so that made no sense to me, particularly since the photo is artfully cropped to get rid of my copyright notice.

This was the verbatim response from the IslandMix representative...
"I really wasn't aware of this, the photo showed up in Google and Yahoo photo search with no labels. If it is ok with you I can add your credits over the whole video, or I can delete the video for you."

The terminally curious can run their own Google search and view the results.

My response was as follows...
"Credits would be acceptable. Asking first would be exemplary.

Even found through Google, there would be a watermark on the image and contact and copyright information embedded in the file, so it's not as if the picture was floating around with no home and no owner.

I just ran a search on Google and the copy of the image that it finds is both watermarked and clearly linked to my website, so, not to be contentious or anything, but that response rings a bit hollow. I respect the work of fellow creators and I only ask that they respect my rights in turn.

Finding an image on Google doesn't absolve one from doing due diligence on ownership and negotiating fairly."

Photography theft discussion

Made some contributions to the very interesting comments thread on this post by Aka_Lol on the theft of his image by Newsday.

You stole my photo - Episode 3

This was the image theft that made me realise that everything was stacked against me as a photographer trying to promote work using the Internet in a world where everyone thinks it's okay to just take your stuff and use it.

What would I have to do to pursue my rights as the creator of creative work visible on the Internet?
I'd have to track down the people responsible for the infringement.
I'd have to explain to them that what they had done was wrong and that I expected redress.
I'd have to follow up that with a formal letter and request for payment.
I'd probably have to hound them down for days, weeks or even months if, and only if they actually agreed to pay the requested fee.
If they didn't, I'd then have to institute legal proceedings, quite likely at a cost entirely out of proportion to the value of the infringement, mostly to make a point.
So, I decided to just make the point.

I thank Edmund Prince Nurse, RPA Production of the Downtown Carnival Magazine and even the former Mayor of Port of Spain, Murchinson Brown, who gave his blessings to the project, for helping me to realise that the only approach worth taking would be to learn from the small merchants who have had to deal with microfraud for years, and to pin their crimes to a virtual wall.

Nurse and his artist at RPA Production directly engaged in the theft of my photo of Destra, done exclusively for the Guardian magazine Womanwise, by failing to exercise due diligence over the ownership and rights to the image they so casually used.

In addition, my image had a watermark, identifying me as the author and copyright holder and my web address, which would allow anyone interested in contacting me to do so, purposefully removed.
Former Mayor Brown, you are culpable for endorsing the work of thieves of copyrighted works.

You stole my photo. This is what happens when you do that.

You stole my photo - Episode 2

So I find this out when I get the complimentary tickets for the show.
What do I find? My photograph of Mungal Patasar, done for Caribbean Beat at his home.
Why am I pissed? Because if someone from the San Fernando Jazz Festival had asked, I would have given them permission to make use of the photo, probably in return for... complimentary tickets?
What's going on here is a simple thing that's almost impossible to fix, I think. If you're producing a print project and you don't know where the photographs came from, then as the client, you have a responsibility to ask, because they came from somewhere.
Because when people like me come calling full of righteous anger, we aren't going after some scrunting graphic designer with a heart full of drop shadow, we're coming after the people who earned the real money from the project, we're coming after you.

You stole my photo - Episode 1

It took a couple of months for me to find this, but find it I did, along with another bit of theft in the Downtown Carnival Magazine which I don't have a copy of to scan.

This photograph of Nikki Crosby was done as a promotional image for Gayelle the Channel and while it's quite easily found on Facebook and Flickr, it's clearly watermarked, so the artist who put together this, um, creative collage would have had to remove my clear notice of copyright before merrily carrying on with stealing my work.

Shame on you, and shame on Randy Glasgow, who in promoting creative talent, shouldn't be allowing his artists to steal it so handily. I'm pretty tired of folks who casually steal my work. It's a terrific hassle to chase after miscreants, who for the most part don't want to pay, so I'll happy hang their efforts in this little gallery of copyright infringement shame.

Outlish gallery refreshed

Richard Rawlins and Sean Annandsingh of Babash are added to the Outlish gallery.

Great Fete galleries on Flickr

Photographs of Great Fete 2010 at Pigeon Point and environs in Tobago

That Mairoon Ali photo

On the HaHaHa productions portrait from Mark Lyndersay on Vimeo.

Host Andy Johnson and guests (and subjects) Penelope Spencer and Nikki Crosby chat on the TV6 Morning Edtion show about the portrait I did of the group to launch my work on Womanwise for the Sunday Guardian.


Womanwise photographer notes

Photography technique notes have been posted to my photo blog on the first six subjects shot for the Sunday Guardian's Womanwise magazine. Go behind the scenes with photos of the women of HaHaHa Productions, Sonya Wells, Marjorie Boothman, Patricia Dardaine-Ragguet, Mariel Brown and Crystal Felix here.
Notes on the lightweight gear I use for these photo sessions are to be found here...

Great Fete 2009 gallery posted

The stock gallery for Great Fete 2009, from site preparation to Sunday morning is posted here...

WomanWise: Patricia Dardaine-Ragguet

The Guardian doesn't carry the cover of WomanWise anywhere on its website, apparently, so here's Patricia Dardaine-Ragguet in the photo from last Sunday's issue.

Gerard Gaskin in CRB

Pleasantly surprised to find myself mentioned in this story in the new Caribbean Review of Books about the photographer Gerard Gaskin. The author is Christopher Cozier, about whom I never tire of noting that I published his first piece of mass reproduced art, a cartoon, etched onto stencil paper, for the Trinity College (Maraval) newsletter, the Buzzer.

I'm equally surprised to have been one of the people chosen in the first pass of his portrait project on Trinidad and Tobago artists.
Gerard shot the photo here in my front yard, part of the style of the works, apparently, about three years ago. More recent versions of the work have been in grayscale. Photo by Gerard Gaskin, all copyrights honoured and reserved with this reproduction.

Marjorie Boothman for the Sunday Guardian

Photographed Marjorie Boothman for the Sunday Guardian last week. Some interesting challenges getting the shot on the location, which is a temporary living space while the family home is being renovated. Here's another outtake from the photography. There's another image on the home page. The painting behind Mrs Boothman is by her son Roger.

New WomanWise photos

Here's another outtake from the wonderfully engaging photography session I had with film producer Sonya Wells for the Sunday Guardian's WomanWise Magazine.
There's another unused image on the home page.

Sunday Guardian portraits

Looks like I might be doing some shooting for the Sunday Guardian's WomanWise Magazine.
Been missing doing stylish portraiture for print since I stopped working on the Business Guardian far too long ago.
The women of HaHaHa Productions this week, film producer Sonya Wells next week.
Click on the thumbnail to see an unused image from last week's shoot.

AMPOTT Awards Speech, 2009

Speech given on behalf of the judges at the awards event for the 2009 competition. View the winners here... Read More...

Viey La Cou series begins

The Viey La Cou series begins today with Dame Lorraine. I took extensive notes on these photographs in the late 1980's and have since lost them. If anyone recognises the players, please let me know so that I can put names to the faces.

In the 20 years since I shot these photos, most of these old players have since left the stage and younger players with more enthusiasm and far less history have taken their place. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to capture these images when so many of these characters were still being played by performers who had been doing the roles for decades.

I'll be posting the complete series after they appear on the front page of this website in the Virtual Gallery and putting a photographer's note in the Photo Blog.

McNally talk posted

The final posting of notes from PhotoPlus Expo 2008, notes on talks given by Joe McNally is posted here...

Remembering Bheem Singh

Bheem was always kind to strangers but he doted on his children and their children. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

Bheem Singh died on November 09 and was buried on November 12 in a quiet ceremony at St Mary's Church in St James.
In one of those curious turns that makes Trinidad and Tobago such a unique and intriguing nation, the man who returned Divali, a Hindu festival to St James with a street display outside his home at Ethel Street, was buried under Christian rites.

Bheem Singh was always kind and generous to me and his tireless patience with my efforts to photograph his work for the festival, so he was, after a fashion, the first of my Local Lives subjects.
I first photographed the work he was doing with his sons on Ethel Street for The Wire, but the photos weren't published. When I came by to apologise for wasting his time, he berated me instead for not visiting on Divali night to share in the food his family generously served to anyone who visited their home.

This year, neither Bheem nor I were at the family's celebrations. He was in hospital while the family bravely carried on with the celebrations and I was was in New York, having carelessly failed to factor in the overlap with my travel.
He was a generous, kind and cheerful man, a great neighbour in St James. He will be missed, particularly when the lights of the deyas are lit each year.

I've finally posted the last three of the published
Local Lives essays, including A Light in the West.

Fundraisers for Jeffrey Chock announced

Notes about fundraising events for the photographer Jeffrey Chock. Read More...

PhotoBlog: Lenses, not cameras

A new entry on my photography blog explores the importance of high quality lenses on digital camera bodies. Find it here...

Chock fundraising

First notice of the fundraising effort in support of the medical expenses for Jeffrey Chock. Read More...

Virtual exhibit hall

New image gallery added to the brand new section of the website, The Virtual Gallery.
This new section offers images in much higher than normal resolution (images will be 1200 pixels wide or 1024 pixels high on their long side, depending on orientation) and will fit nicely on a screen that’s 17 inches or larger.
The display is roughly equivalent to viewing an 8 x 10 inch print.

This runs counter to the traditional thinking on web reproduction, these larger files being easy targets for theft. But there’s also a very valuable counter movement, exemplified by
the Boston Globe’s take on photography on the web. Which is, in summary, so what?

I’ve had exhibitions of my work in the past and I still haven’t recovered from the experience 25 years later. I’d rather risk some petty theft and display some of my collections properly than massage my ego with another show in a hurry.

Let me know what you think about the first collection. I have another, much larger “show” waiting in the wings.

To assist you in viewing the images on your screen with greater accuracy, I’ve included these colour bars. Most modern monitors offer some colour controls that will eliminate particularly obvious colour casts.

The blocks in the bar are from left to right, 100 percent of blue, green, red and black, 50 percent gray, 25 percent gray and 100 percent white (that block should disappear on this page).

PhotoBlog: Portrait with a single light

The latest photoblog entry is a look behind the scenes at some recent photography for Gayelle TV that’s now on show here...

Norton website launched

Noel Norton has launched his new website. View it here. There's an excellent history of the studio's operations available on the site. You can read more about Mr Norton and his place in Trinidad and Tobago from my perspective here...

PhotoBlog: Photographing a CD cover

A note on my approach to photographing an album cover for jazz guitarist Theron Shaw is posted here...

PhotoBlog: I hate shooting tethered

Notes about the philosophy of shooting tethered are posted here...

Beat Big Up for La Fleur Morte

One of my personal projects, La Fleur Morte, is featured in the July/August issue of Caribbean Beat.
The story by journalist James Fuller offers some kind words about my work and manages to date me quite nicely.

I'm not so ancient, however, that I'm likely to be doddering about humming Neil Diamond songs for inspiration, so please note that James misheard me and the quote that he cites is by
Neil Gaiman, not the composer of the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull that some folks consider to be quite inspirational.

The image enlargements on this page are quite large and will require at least a 17 inch monitor to view properly, but anything less just didn't do the reproduction of the pages and the sample image of the flower of the Chalice Vine (Solandra Guttata) just didn't seem right any smaller.

You can view the story
online here...

You can also access many stories from the current issue of Caribbean Beat as well as archives of the magazine by
signing up for a free subscription here...

There's a blog posting on my website and
links to other material about the project here...

Interview with Magella Moreau and Dennis McComie of Gayelle TV's Cock a Doodle Doo.

Slideshow movie that I prepared for that appearance.

Download the interview
here and the slideshow here.

Remembering 1990

Reflecting on the impact of 1990 in images.

Instant obsolesence

Slowly, Polaroid is going away, the immediacy of digital photography replacing the fast fading thrill of watching a colour photo appear after a minute of almost magical developing. Read More...

Hosay in full swing

Hosay is approaching its climax again this year. It's Flag Night tonight. Have a look at the photoessay I did on the Panchaiti camp last year here and there's a look behind the scenes at how it got put together here.

La Fleur Morte

Click on each photo to see an enlarged detail.
These images are excerpts from a larger work that is in progress in which I examine the way that flowers, the reproductive organs of plants, deteriorate after they are picked and discarded.
The first two images were selected for display in the Art Society's November exhibition for 2007 and you can view an interview with Magella Moreau and Dennis McComie on the Gayelle Morning Show,
Cock a Doodle Doo here and download the interview here. If you're curious about the slideshow I put together for my appearance, you can find that download here and view it here.

Another Lightroom speedup


Speeding up Lightroom

What it says...

More thoughts about photojournalism

Ariti Jankie called asking for some comments about the AMPOTT awards, no doubt looking for some quotes to beef up the kind of story the Express is likely to produce after sweeping the still photography category.
This is what I sent her, after initially thinking that I really had nothing more to say. Of course, what I proceeded to do was prattle on about photojournalism.

AMPOTT Judges' Notes, 2007

Comments offered on behalf of the panel of judges at AMPOTT's photo and video awards at Gaston Court, Chaguanas, on the evening of August 30, 2007. Read More...

Gayelle TV interview

Links and background to an interview with GayelleTV about digital photography and film can be found here. Read More...

AMPOTT Judging

The judges at work choosing the winning images at AMPOTT's 2007 photography competition. Read More...

The Modern Eye

Modern styles in photography can be exciting, but sometimes, I just don't get it... Read More...

Alex Smailes & Carnival

I wrote this as a section opener for Alex Smailes' photography book on Carnival. For various production and editorial reasons, all the section openers were scrapped and this never got published. Until now...
I've also written about Noel Norton
here...

Five Fingers

Five fingers, bittersweet fruit of salted rhapsody