Blogging, comments, photos...and a rant ensues.

posted on: Thursday, 17 April 2014

We've been together for four and a half years now, my blog and I. When we started I was full of ideas about where the relationship would take me, what I would gain from it, what I could mould it into. At the start I was competitive and entered blog contests and responded to blog challenges. I trawled other blogs and commented, 'making friends'. If I went away on holiday I arranged guest posts and made sure that the blog was never unattended for a moment. I posted all the time, tracking my stats - I sometimes look back on my archive and think, frankly, how did I have the time to post 31 times in a month in 2010?! I still had a big job at that time and a younger family! Like any relationship though, I put in what I wanted to. Now the blog and I are trusted bed-fellows and we rub along. Sometimes I post more often, sometimes not. They say take only what you need from life - so from the blog, this is what I take:

It's a place to write. To express what's going on with me. To catch up with friends. I have spent many an hour wondering why I write it and what it all means (often documented). But I carry on. I consider myself to be a blog veteran now. But it remains that I have never monetised the blog. There are no adverts. There are no collaborations or reviews. The only self-serving things I ever wanted from it was to promote my small business and furtively, that maybe a book editor would stumble by and offer me a book deal ;-) Hah.

I understand that there are some blogs which are much more than just a convivial relationship between blog and blog writer. They are a job or a role or a pathway to greatness. I have seen blog friends take the germ of an idea on a blog and make it a mainstream business, a full-on lifestyle, and I applaud them.

So when I get an anon comment like I did yesterday, despite myself, I react. I have rarely had comments that smart; overall the readers are kind and thought-provoking. Because I am not 'out there' trying to be anything, I have always figured I go below the radar for the kind of vitriol that exists on the web. But the issue of photo crediting has raised its head again and so I'm going to respond.

Anyone can see that the Internet has proliferated the use of photos in a way that a few short years ago we could not even imagine. Whilst this has been a gift to many (countless happy hours spent on Pinterest) it must have led to confusion and frustration amongst photographers, models, stylists, brands etc whose work can be seen ANYWHERE without credit.  This poster, for example, by the prominent blog Design Sponge started a whole furore of debate about the topic a few years back.

There has been the blurring of international boundaries on the web, the application of copyright laws between countries, a reliance on good practice that has, in all honestly, seeped away over time. I have observed all of this. And to some degree - in response to the claim that I don't credit photos accordingly, I agree, I put my hands up and say 'yes, guilty'. But equally I accept that the arena in which we work is a changeable one; that the shifting sand of the Internet is virtually impossible to stand still on. And as such, what pervades is this.

I blog because I love it. Am I going to consult a copyright lawyer each time I want to post a picture that I didn't photograph myself? No. Is that wrong? Maybe, yes. Do I live in the real world and have an understanding of the principles of legal risk? Yes. Do I think what I do is ethically wrong? Unsure, now you mention it. Am I like everyman (or woman) who blogs? Yes, I would say so. Am I going to stop blogging? No.

Here is what I wish: that people who want to outline the wrongs of society do so on things that really matter. Like how on Instagram or Tumblr, just a few short clicks can lead you to such vile photographs of harm and suicide or pornography and exploitation that honestly, they make your stomach recoil. That young people will see and act on these, who perhaps have not had the life experience that I have had to know that the staged, styled photographs are not real and are designed to make you feel something - good or bad. That there are images lurking on the web that we should all be in disgust about.

So is the real issue whether the photographer or the stylist or the magazine who printed it gets the credit? Are generally well-meaning bloggers really the culprit for publishing photos that may not always be credited? Do they try their hardest to locate the source of the image but as time has gone on the trail has been eroded? Is there a whole lot more wrong with the Internet than what I post here?

We have to all make our minds up about what we see and read. But my view, for what it's worth, is that gentle words and beautiful images do not harm and if a photographer ever contacted me (as they have once or twice, but rarely in my blog career) and asked me to credit their image I would do it gladly and with apologies for not having done so sooner. This may well be one of those posts I regret pressing 'publish' to and I am inclined to pause for a day and think about it. But on the other hand, the most often stated sentiment I receive in comments is that I write with honesty, so this is my honest opinion.

15 comments:

  1. HOORAY for this post! I am with you 100% on your sentiments Lou. The comment left by Anon! was cowardly and missing the point completely. The honesty in your posts is what sets you apart, we are all guilty of missing a credit here and there, and like you we rectify the omission if asked to. In the great scheme of things.......it isn't an issue for most of us. Take a deep breath and have a wonderful Easter.
    Have a fabulous Easter

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  2. An excellent post. The comment left by Anon was, well, both boring and rude!!! And missing the point entirely. I would like to say they should be using their energy for taking a stance on much more important issues (such as those you mention), but the comment seems to indicate that very little energy is available to them… I appreciate that if you are a photographer and your photograph is used without a credit, it must be annoying, frustrating, and potentially may lose them a fee, but again, as you say quite often these days giving a credit other than "Source:Pinterest" which is really no credit at all, is quite often impossible. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs and indeed your honesty is what keeps me following.

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  3. Good for you,Lou.I ,for one, agree.And, how ironic that Anon did not bother to leave a name...Xsue

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  4. I think we have reached a point with the internet where every photographer concerned about their work travelling around the net has watermarked their work.

    Also, even if you provide the link from pinterest, it's usually just a link to another link to another to another...the original source is so far back, you can't find it. I do think however that if your blog is your job and you are profiting from it, you should credit your sources. In the publishing world you have to provide sources and paid bloggers should adhere to publishing guidelines. The rest of us are small potatoes and should be allowed leeway with respect to the photos.

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  5. Oh, well said Lou ……. my blog is also free from advertising and not a money maker. It's just a bit if fun. Your annonymous commenter is a coward who cannot or will not give her name to her beliefs. I love a bit of photography and, I have seen my own photographs on other peoples blogs, uncredited and do I mind ? ….. No, I do not. I guess it must be annoying if it is your livelihood but, as you say, things have changed so much with Pinterest, Instragram, Tumblr etc. and it is so difficult to find the original person to give credit to. I just put my name on my photographs. A couple of times, a person contacted me and, very nicely, asked if I could credit them and so I did. I had one very rude email from a woman whose photo I used so, I sent a curt but apologetic email back !!
    You carry on with your lovely blog and beautiful images and, so will I !!
    Happy Easter Lou. XXXX

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  6. Well said! Please keep posting on your beautiful blog and with the stunning images. You have a faithful reader in me!

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  7. Yikes Lou,
    I totally agree with everything you've written.
    I'm in the same boat, as I use lovely images from other sites - crediting where I can but its not always easy.
    Keep on doing what you're doing - you have lots of friends here.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend,
    Liz x

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  8. Well said, expressed and written Lou. You know my thoughts on all this over zealous, high & mighty attitude after our chat! The comment from Anon is both pointless and childish - clearly nothing better to do with their time than to nip at people. Carry on as you are and have a wonderful Easter weekend! Lots of love xxx

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  9. Well, clearly the bottom line of all this is...some people just suck. :-)

    You know my thoughts, and of course I agree with all these other commenters above - well said, and as always, honest. Keep writing and posting for you and for all of us like-minded people out here.

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  10. OMG!!! I am surprised I haven't had more nasty comments like the one you received. With time I too have gradually forgotten to add photo credits especially as I get most of the images from Pinterest (is that a viable excuse?). I just always love that whenever folk want to leave nasty comments they ALWAYS do it anonymously. Isn't that fact enough to say they don't even warrant a reply if they can't even put their name to the comment?
    Don't let it affect you Lou. As you say there are far bigger issues to be concerned about. I know it stings at first, but other more important things will soon invade that feeling. You are a really talented writer so just keep on doing what you are good at x

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  11. Dear Louise,
    I saw the comment yesterday and felt annoyed on your behalf. I agree with your post and the comments above, and I understand the need to write a response. I myself am torn between responding - and thus not letting people get away with acting rude and the feeling that a rude ANONYMOUS comment never deserves a reply. I'm glad you don't plan to give up the blog - and I'm glad that you don't - as you mention - have ads and sponsors on your blog. More and more of my favourite blogs become businesses, and I understand and applaud people for making a career, and they may credit everything because of the money a 'click' gives, but I can't help to think that they lose their real and honest voice. But that's a whole different rant:-)

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  12. Such a good point! I try to credit all of my red carpet fashion photos because I know exactly where those come from, well at least the website I take them from. I know each time I take a photo from a website or Google that I'm leaving myself open to this. I try not to think of everything on the internet as fair game, but in a way... it is. I think anyone who reads my blog knows I am in no way trying to say the pictures are my own, or that I had anything to do with the work that went into them. And if anyone ever contacts me asking me to credit them for their work, I absolutely will. Or if someone asks me to take something down, I'll do that too.

    Only one time have I ever been contacted about something. I used the words "Think Pink" in a blog post title for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a lawyer emailed me the very next day saying it was copyrighted and I couldn't use it. Um... Ok. I changed the wording. Annoying, but I did it. Ha!

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  13. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Yes! To everything already said by these lovely commenters. You have a wonderful, honest blog, and use the imagery to only enhance your beautiful writing. I too struggle (and fail much harder than you) at citing where images are sourced, because it's just an endless hole, that usually leads to nowhere. I don't know what the answer is, but I know that comment was totally uncalled for. You are a kind, and loving person, and I'm sorry that someone , under the veil of anomonity, treated you as anything but. xx

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  14. You should never regret pushing the publish button. The person making the comment on your last post is spineless as they posted as anonymous to start with. I have attempted to credit all the photos I choose for my posts in the past and have clicked and clicked and clicked to no avail to get to the true source. Like you, I have been contacted in the past and will gladly link and give credit where credit is due. I applaud this post and you ~ Happy Easter xoxo

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