Clowning Around

October 27th, 2006 by Susannah

Featured Gem 9

Featured Gem 9
Real Photo Postcard

‘Clowning Around’

Date: Unspecified
People: Unidentified
Studio: Unidentified
Postcard Back: Blank

Notes: Clown/Pierrot and carnival costumes are another favourite theme of mine, so I was excited to find this wonderful ‘gem’ whilst scouring a toy fair with my sister. I know very little about the image as there are absolutely no identifying markings! It appears to have been kept safely in an album for many years (yellowing in the bottom left). It is in lovely condition!

I do love the detail of this costume and the pose is perfect.
Just check out that wig!!

3 Responses to “Clowning Around”

  1. peacay
    November 1st, 2006 04:35

    You know, I am somewhat tempted to snag that image, remove the alleged copyright notice and post it somewhere else.

    I understand you paid money for an item and that you own it. But the original photographer and publisher and subject in the picture didn’t intend for intrusive advertising to be placed on their image.

    If you want to post a small amount of said image or you wish to hide the full image behind something like zoomify architecture or put context menu popups asking that people not save the image or indeed put such (useless of course) messages below the image then well and good.

    But the “image” isn’t yours. The digital image is but this is not the same thing. It’s basically defacing art, no more edifying than spraying graffiti over a Picasso.

    If you put an image on the internet and you didn’t create that image then please refrain from attempting to assert dubious copyright control over it with nonsense overlays. Or – don’t post it on the internet at all.

    See I don’t realllllly get it. What do you think will happen if you don’t include the embedded site link? Are you worried about someone stealing a 50kb (f.i.f.t.y.!!) image and going and printing out postcards such that your investment devalues? Or is this some sort of design to acquire quasi-kudos, to inspire in the mind of the reader some level of importance and professionalism because of your obvious photoshop-o-wizardry, or are you hoping that someone will think so much of this image that they will now go elsewhere and describe it and provide a link to your site, encouraging others to visit here so they too can marvel at the antique picture ..err…with new overlay, instrusive text? Or..?

    In my experience, most people will happily provide attribution if you approach these things with a little bit less of a draconian attitude. A simple “please provide a link back to this site if you wish to post the image somewhere else, thanks” would garner you goodwill as well as traffic in all probability. [in point of fact, people will usually provide a link without any prompt]

    And I like your site seriously, and have told a couple of people about it, so I’m restraining myself on the rhetoric front. I had actually come here to decide whether to add this place to a latest dump of links to a post. I’ll return, but linking can wait.

    I hope this has not come across as rude as that was not my intention. Assertive and pointed yes. Questioning, prompting, yes. But I didn’t intend to insult you. You’re welcome to email me if you want.


  2. Susannah
    November 10th, 2006 18:09

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your feedback. Your comments certainly gave me food for thought and I definitely think you have my motives wrong. After a few incidents and after taking advice on the matter, I was advised to watermark the entire image if I was going to place it online at all. I did have several issues with the images being taken and used for profit (YES f.i.f.t.y k or not!). The watermarks were placed after much deliberation. Coincidently I have been reviewing the presentation of these images and the information will be displayed below the larger clickable file only (as a temporary trial anyhow).

    “But the “image” isn’t yours. The digital image is but this is not the same thing”. I am totally aware of this. I don’t think anyone thinks the images are my own work?! All of the images are out of copyright. I am only laying claim to the digital file. The scan is still copyrighted to me whether the watermark is there or not. I do realise the image is not ‘mine’ and I don’t see anywhere were I say that is case. If you really do read my site you will notice that all images are credited to the original photographer/studio wherever possible. Whether you think it is nonsense or not, for business purposes I need the images to be identified back to the source or their download.

    One of the other reasons I am putting these images online is because I thought others might find them of value visually and/or historically. From the feedback I have received people have been enjoying them very much and finding them very useful (watermark or not!). I have had requests for unwatermarked images and I have obliged where appropriate.

    Yes the watermark is business related. The point of the ‘blatant advertising’ is not about ‘getting links’ or ‘getting traffic’ from fellow bloggers. Quite the opposite. I don’t really want these images posted elsewhere so if the watermark does stop anyone doing this well good-o! As a large part of my trade is in the form of photo library/photo research, the watermark is there for reasons beyond what you have surmised. My clientèle use watermarked images for comping on a daily basis and know to contact me if they require unwatermarked or hi-res scans for their work. I really would have thought it obvious that I didn’t want to ‘deface the art’ by not splashing it right across the centre of the image in 100pt type. Guess I can’t really stop you stealing the imagery as threatened, but I think that really says a lot more about you than me.

    I never ‘watermark’ the originals, even when I use the imagery in my own art. They are well stored in an acid free environment to be enjoyed by future generations. By scanning them and converting them into a digital format I am trying to save them from an uncertain fate and preserve them. I keep a digital file archived of each image in the condition as I found it (no removing of scratches, foxing, creases). You can’t be any ‘truer’ to the original than that.

    If others circulate the images for free or use the images for profit in similar ways that I intend to, then THAT is where the value diminishes. I have several projects in the works and am planning on using many of these images for financial gain whether anyone agrees with that or not!

    I’d hate to know your thoughts on people using copyright free/found imagery in art! These artists and designers form a large part of my readership. Anyway, I hope this gives you further insight into what my collection is all about and why the images are up there.

    Kind regards,

  3. peacay
    January 20th, 2007 20:41

    Thanks for your considered reply Susannah.

    I suppose in one sense I’ll agree to disagree although I do have some sympathy with circumstances as you describe them.

    I accept that it wasn’t your intention to try to communicate that this is ‘your work’ and I appreciate the difficulties associated with ownerhip of a digital image. I don’t know what the happy middle ground is (although as I indicated previously, nicely asking for reference is one way) but I’m not convinced that slapping a site logo (even if it’s not across the centre) on the image is the best way.

    Sure, I have mixed feelings about all this – and yes, you also gave me food for thought – I love collage work, I love mashups and I realise that the same argument about the intrusiveness of a site logo defacing art could be raised with respect to alteration of public domain images that are used in art projects.

    Obviously you don’t have to answer to me and I think, reading back, perhaps I was a little more sarcastic and pointed than I might have been at another time. I saw it at a particular ‘moment’.

    I tend towards the attitude that public domain images on the internet ought not come with caveats — in other words, that they are public property (but deserving of proper attribution) and that those people who disagree with this should probably not be posting images to the internet.

    I would suggest that it’s a little naive to hope that people won’t post such material elsewhere. It’s a bit of a slippery slope argument what with RSS feeds, livejournal republishings and the like already in existence. My own attitude against the logos derives from the commercial poster/print facilities (and libraries too) who don’t realise that demonstrating goodwill by uploading unaltered images will ultimately net them more customers [there are parallels here with mp3 files and record company intransigence] than does ensuring their logo is embedded in the image.

    Sure all these arguments can be run both ways.

    In any event if I was going to lift the image and remove the logo from that wonderful clown photograph, I wouldn’t probably be announcing it. It’s like I sometimes do post previously logo emblazoned images to my site (after painstaking removal work) and I generally give the barest attribution in such circumstances. In the alternative, I would almost certainly run a free unsolicited advert for their print shops in big bold letters every other week if their logos weren’t embedded. This is pure aesthetics for me and yes, it sleeps fitfully at times with the notion that mashup art can be good too.

    I’m absolutely not anti-commercial, nor do I see anything wrong with someone making a profit from public domain material (I have googleads on my site and am in the process of ‘trying’ to get a book of the site together {on the hush, hush}) so in one respect I speak from a self or site-interested point of view. I know this. But I tend towards making collections of one artist or genre or book etc so I get quite peeved when search queries return images that interfere with my purist aims.

    Sorry to be longwinded and a bit scattered – just so you see where I’m coming from. I’ll put your Xmas stocking back up now.

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