Maybe I should get myself a “Real Job”

Going back to the seventies, as a male, if I was thinking about a career at school, doing an art degree would the last thing to be considered, even if my dad and I both loved and practiced art. Baby boomers had to get a “real Job” to feed their families. The chosen career had to be at least sustainable until you retire. I followed my dad’s footsteps into an Electrical Engineering (electronics) and the rest is history.

Today there is a new world of opportunities and the way we look at employment. Employment is no longer based on a lifelong career and you are not expected to work at one organisation for life. The Current employee or business need to rediscover itself in the context of and ever changing world and reeducation and developing of new skills is required more often than in the past.

This weeks classwork left me with an impression that there is a “Real Job” in photography. Not only one but many. And I reiterate: it is photography related. This was a mind blowing realization for me… Starting with the interview in week 1 with Lydia Pang, Ted Forbes’s discussion on why one should study a degree, followed my the contemplation of the incomplete listing in the section, Presentation – Other Careers in the Photography Industry, reaching its apex in the Interview with Gem Thatcher and closing with the redefinition, for me, of what a professional photographer is in the presentation by Module leader Anna-Maria Pfab– DNA of a 21st Century Photographer based on Grant, Scott, Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained 

If you follow my blog you will see the start of this transformation. My Initial “Busines plan” was to become a freelance photographer, earn most of my income from wedding photography and expand my photography work through doing education in photography. The latter being the main motivation for me seeking a higher education and my MA. But this mind set is changing,

My first shift even happened before I started with this course when going through an introspection (Nagel,2019), I realized that I had a deep desire to find a way to express for myself as a human being. . ” I always felt the need express myself, to take photographs, paint, draw, write, teach, study …do more…. I know now that I have been missing my artistic expression (Nagel, 2019).” At that time I decided to embark on a path, not governed by my need for an income, even if that is important, but to make the the path that I want to walk for the rest of my life.

Let me share what inspired me this week. Gem Fletcher interview with Lydia Pang (Fletcher, 2019) as a youthful idealist showed me a proactive approach to get what you want. That you did not need to know your way but to “try everything” to discover what you don’t like and continue with and pursue more passionately that that you do. As far as commenting on opportunities, she also made it clear that in the post internet environment, all links are equal and that the internet and social media. If used properly , provides the opportunity to make yourself authentically available and present your work to the industry to parties that is looking for your viewpoint. And the biggest learning for me is something that is not new, is that we are primarily creatives seeking other creatives to participate in a common collective. Ted Forbe’s podcast reaffirmed that this is higher education’s greatest benefit.

The sample list of careers in photography, elucidate the way one can align your particular skills with a direction without compromising your primary passion, photography. Photography and video is arguably becoming the largest communication methods and it is still an emerging and growing field. This means that, even if the need to be a professional photographer is seemingly on the decline, due to citizen journalism and the proliferation and ubiquity of photography, there is an increase in demand to leverage from specialist in photography to use this photography. New interest is growing for creative professionals that need to interact with corporate as well as individuals that know how to leverage from these mediums. Corporate needs to make the most of these opportunities that this present. And that this landscape is ever changing and vibrant!

During Marianne Hanoun’s Gem Fletchers interview Fletcher states: “Being a good freelancer involves more than great creative work. You need to be able to pitch your ideas, market your brand, manage client relationships and budgets, and think strategically (Hanoun, 2017) .” Her multitude of roles reinforced the idea that you don’t have to paint yourself in a specific corner to make a success in this industry.

Unlike Pang, who does personal work as an escape, Fletcher illustrate that she also does personal projects to try new avenues and interest and staying hands on. Keeping her current. Pang focus more on writing about and looking at photographs and photographers rather than making any herself. Both approaches are fine today.

Fletcher is prepared to cross the “holy” divides. As she says: “The industry is constantly shifting and evolving and the opportunity to work across multiple disciplines is now embraced rather than frowned upon. This is really liberating (Hanoun, 2017) .

Fletcher and Pangs interviews opens up the world of possibilities to me and I have decided to not be too rigid when planning the development of my practice and immerse myself to her concluding wisdom. “The number one would be make work. You learn more and faster from doing, than anything else. Get out in the world, make connections with people, collaborate with friends. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for advice or feedback, but be smart about it (be short, clear and concise). Make the most of opportunities, ask questions. Be curious and open. (Hanoun, 2017)  

The final part of my discovery lies within the tri-classification by Scott of professional photographers. When researching the market the local market and having no insight into corporate photography opportunities I came to the conclusion that most the most sustainable commercial opportunities lies as a “Domestic Professional”. Wedding, boudoir, pre-and postnatal and portraiture photography seemed the only way to guarantee a sustainable income. We don’t have access solid market information in South Africa and most of my peers work as either full time or part-time domestic professionals. But that was just a perception created when using the internet to do research. It is the prevalent marketing engine for this type of photographer. It was also the level I felt the most comfortable in. While there is a lot of competition in the low end market, the mid to upper market is still a great opportunity.

It was the general professional and high-end professional levels that has proven to be eye opening.

According to Schott ” the high-end professional who works with a cross section of professional clients within one or across a wide spectrum of photographic genres.” is the highest inspirational level for creative professionals in the photographic industry. “They are defined by a high quality client base, which in turn results in a strong financial reward for their work (Scott, 2014).”

To get there you need to become a general professional. “The general professional who also works with a cross section of professional clients within one or across a wide spectrum of photographic genres. They have a slightly less prestigious client base and therefore receive a lesser financial reward for their work.(Scott, 2014)”

Scott Makes the point that “they usually come from a creative academic background and are informed by the work of their peers” I.e know how to work in a collaborative environment. Both of these areas are focused on creating, keeping, and enlarging their commercial client base.

I am currently an IT architect and these statements in a way hold true. I work mainly for some of the largest IT organisations and collaborate with peers on major projects. Corporates actually find me through some of my peers as my reputation is build from previous engagements. I am currently freelancing. It is also a competitive environment. I really did not realize until now that if engaged with corporates, such as editorial, ad and branding companies, that require photographic skills, I would discover a whole new world of opportunities. It is something I need to test.

As I intend to do documentary photography, I need to identify enterprises and collaborators that I can engage with to achieve this goal. I will make this part of my project.

I would be able to use my current skills and the Masters Degree to migrate myself from IT to the creative professional I always wanted to be. Having an up to date degree and years of experience as a domestic professional, and doing personal projects during the next year and a bit will go a long way to get started. However, I will need to build that reputation through internship,work and collaboration on private projects and marketing myself to corporates and as Pang recommend use the platforms they will use to present my work . Even If Pang states that we can be found, because corporates are looking, I believe personal relationships in the industry will also go a long way to getting me commissions. The only hurdle is that I am 60 and may be perceived as being too old. But I am up for that challenge, and as long as my health and mental acuity persists I may land myself a dream project. I have already discovered that as a freelancer you are always as good as your last job.

To conclude: a career in photography is a real job! And I need to consider it! Even if it is just for living out my dream! But the path exists and I need to take control of that and decide which way to go.


Nagel, A. (2019). Finding my Artistic Expression. [online] André Nagel’s Critical Research Journal. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Grant, Scott, Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (2014), CRC Press, p. 5

Hanoun, M. (2017). “Photography is a gateway to so many different people and…. [online] Lecture In Progress. Available at: [Accessed 14 Oct. 2019].

Fletcher, G. (2019). ‎The Messy Truth: Lydia Pang – On Commissioning on Apple Podcasts. [online] Apple Podcasts. Available at: [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

Rights of Subjects in Documentary work

Initiated by our Tutor we contemplated the rights of the subjects in the plagiarism photographs and whether the model release form from the original photographer/artist legally cover the second appropriation of the image?

There was also a sense of discomfort that the rights of the model/subjects are not being considered in both these cases. Especially when in both these cases their include people from the BAME* community.  

I could not agree more. the terms of the release form should apply. Especially when it comes to documentary work where you have the opportunity to engage with people. I have done some street photography in the past where  I did not ask permission to photograph the people. There is no law prohibiting me from doing it in South Africa. However, for my current project work I feel ethically challenged to ask verbal permission to photograph people and explain why I am doing it.  I am guided by David Goldblatt’s approach which allows me to engage with my subjects. This becomes a very personal and life-changing exercise for me.  But, in some cases, under certain circumstances, I need to take the photograph first. In those events, I will ask permission to use the photograph and I will delete the photograph if they disapprove. This process allows me to engage them in conversation and record their story and become less of a Flaneur. I am contemplating, where possible, returning to some of my subjects and give them a photograph and may consider getting them to sign a release in turn if I intend exhibiting it in the future.

The rights of the people being photograph blur a bit in the case of journalism were getting the subjects to sign off is near impossible as it gets to photographing riots and protests.  That is probably why David Goldblatt generally avoided doing it or using those photographs in his exhibitions.

This should explain why I was so active in this forum discussion. I am personally experiencing the threat of my work to be abused in the same way.

* BAME (Black. Asian and Minority Ethnic).


Forum – Whose Image is it Anyway?

One of the Disputed Artworks in the case Prince vs Cariou (Boucher et al., 2019)

During this week 2, we were challenged to discuss copyright issues. “There have been some notable art copyright cases in recent decades. One of the most significant is French photographer Patrick Cariou’s claim, suing Richard Prince and his gallery, Gagosian, for copyright infringement.

Ethics vs Law (Do we still care?)

I share my responses as I believe they reflect on my thinking. and growth during the process:

There are ethics and laws. Not all laws are ethical. I am a South African, and I experienced that personally.

I don’t need to be a lawyer to know that taking someone’s work that cost him years of effort and research to create and without his consent then muck it up for purposes of art,  is blatantly unethical. It does not matter if the law says otherwise. Its common sense. But that is my emotional response.

Judgement under American Law

However, ethics weren’t challenged but the American Copyright Law. To provide and evaluate this case one needs to do some research into copyright law and the context. Landmark decisions are exactly that. A point in time in law where a boundary is challenged and crossed.

According to a study done by Suzy Frankel, Professor of Law, Victoria University of Wellington ” Copyright law internationally is awash with legal and practical problems and divergent political views (Frankel, 2015) .” Copyright is territorial, not international. And there is a need to find a durable solution.

Two sections in American copyright Law Apply.

“104. Subject matter of copyright: National origin” which states:

(b) Published Works.—The works specified by sections 102 and 103, when published, are subject to protection under this title if—

(1) on the date of first publication, one or more of the authors is a national or domiciliary of the United States, or is a national, domiciliary, or sovereign authority of a treaty party, or is a stateless person, wherever that person may be domiciled;

(2) the work is first published in the United States or in a foreign nation that, on the date of first publication, is a treaty party; or ”

This part was not contested.

“107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use which states

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

(US Copyright Office, 2019) .”

Which means both are protected under American Law. And maybe challenged under section 107 (3)

So if Patrick Cariou wished to have protection in America, he need not have to register copyright in America and may use the laws there when a breach arises. It needs to be done under that Jurisdiction as the breach occurred on American Soil. American Copyright Law only applies to America and its laws apply there.

The additional purpose of the Fair Use criteria provides a counterbalance to the 1st Amendment of the American Constitution, that of Free Speech. The Office of General Counsel at Harvard University notes that the five “Fair Use” tests are “purposely broad to prevent a rigid application that would potentially stifle creativity” (Harvard, 2019).

“Courts have taken both a quantitative and a qualitative approach in assessing the impact on the fair use analysis of the amount and substantially of the portion used.  What percentage of the original work has been used?  There are no bright lines, but the higher the percentage, the more likely this factor is to weigh against fair use.


Even if the percentage is fairly small, however, if the material used is qualitatively very important, this factor may weigh against fair use (Harvard, 2019). ”

It’s important to note that American Law is about the precedence and it is little wonder that it is the Andy Warhol foundation that fought for the American artist as Andy has done this without challenge in the past. They tout precedence in the form of Art history.

‘The district court determined that Prince’s “taking was substantially greater than necessary.” We are not clear as to how the district court could arrive at such a conclusion. In any event, the law does not require that the secondary artist may take no more than is necessary. We consider not only the quantity of the materials taken but
also “their quality and importance” to the original work. […] The secondary use “must be to `conjure up’ at least enough of the original” to fulfil its transformative purpose. ] Prince used key portions of certain of Cariou’s photographs. In doing that,
however, we determine that in twenty-five of his artworks, Prince transformed those photographs into something new and different and, as a result, this factor weighs heavily in Prince’s favour (Patrick CARIOU v. Richard PRINCE, 2013) .’

Initially, I did not agree with the ruling only taking the quantitative side in consideration. While it is clear the copyright was infringed on quantitative bases the ruling was made on a qualitative basis. In this, I need to concur. Prince completely changed the intent of the photographs. But as discussed under in my blog on The Rights of subjects in documentary work (Nagel, 2019). This is something that was not challenged in this case. it is the effect of these minor changes that infuriated me and possibly Cariou. The reason he won the case… Is this really fair use really fair in this case?

But I learned a lot critically analyzing this case. but this only applies to American law.

How would other Countries deal with this?

But this poses another question. How would this case have been adjudicated in other countries? I concluded a brief investigation on how copyright laws of other countries would have dealt with the issue.

A view of the Copyright and Laws and Regulations 2019 for different counties is accessible at .

Starting with Cariou ‘s home country.

In France, the French court needs to determine if a work is an original on a case by case basis. France calls on moral law in these cases. Copyright needs not to be registered. Copyright exists merely if something is created. these rights are split between patrimonial or moral right. Patrimonial rights cover the artwork for 70 Years after was published. Moral rights have no time limit.

The moral law states that the original author has the legal right to protect the integrity of the work…and the right to oppose any modification or distortion of the work.  So Prince would have lost, even after the authors’ death. Prince 1- Cariou 1.

Britain Copyright introduces fair dealing (, 2019).

Fair dealing is a term used to describe acts which are permitted to a certain degree without infringing the work, these acts are:

  • Private and research study purposes.
  • Performance, copies or lending for educational purposes.
  • Criticism and news reporting.
  • Incidental inclusion.
  • Copies and lending by librarians.
  • Caricature, parody or pastiche. (clear description available at (Links to an external site.)).
  • Acts for the purposes of royal commissions, statutory enquiries, judicial proceedings and parliamentary purposes.
  • Recording of broadcasts for the purposes of listening to or viewing at a more convenient time, this is known as time-shifting.
  • Producing a back up copy for the personal use of a computer program.

In Britain making a Caricature, parody or Pastiche of a BAME subject would not have been approved. Prince 1- Cariou 2.

In South Africa, we don’t have a fair use policy as mentioned in Amy’s and other posts.  You require permission to adapt an original piece of art which includes photographs (Myburgh, 2019). A gallery can’t even use an image of art to sell the item without the distinct permission of the copyright owner. Prince 1-Cariou -3

I question whether the problem is that, unlike South Africa, that documentary photographs, in general, is still not seen as art in itself. That it is relegated to a lower purpose. To be used and abused? The precedence so important in American law is made! Would they allow fine art classics to be vandalised in the same way? Probably.

So in conclusion: It is what is deemed sufficiently transformational that is tested in this case. So due to the precedence, I can make a couple of scratches on the eyes of the subject and add another authors photograph of anything and it is deemed as sufficiently transformational.

What bothers me is that Patrick had no moral recourse under American law. Something he would have had in his own country. Under American law, the author loses all moral rights to the use of the picture. It is no wonder documentary photographers find it more difficult to find willing subjects in America. The moral obligation that Caroui had was to protect the dignity of a private subject has been waved in lieu of a joke, parody or caricature etc. This subject of his photograph is not a politician or celebrity that puts him/herself up to public ridicule. For me, it equates to the display as Sarah Baartmans body as a museum display in Paris (Smith, 2019). This is disrespectful. It is a human right abuse. Imagine if you were commissioned to do work for a bride and an American artist decide to do the present her in a degrading fashion. How will you be able to explain this to your customer?  Does it make any difference that this is an indigenous person that doesn’t live in America and probably cannot afford to sue the hell out of the artist? Rastafari is religious individuals and takes their simplicity and way of life very seriously. Not merely stoners and rock artists as the artist portrait. (Added 01/10/2019) I know I would offend if I really have to say how I feel. I may have already…I lived in a country for many years where human rights were abused and I remained silent. People tend to hide behind unjust LAW’s to abuse the rights of others. It was never the intent of the law. In South Africa, this was corrected where Human Rights were embedded into our constitution and human rights charters, which takes precedence over any interpretation of the LAW that transgresses that. We have a specialised court that deals with those matters. You are free to publish in South Africa and don’t need to register copyright and own your copyright unless you wave it, and I believe you will get a fair trial. I know this will be tested here in the future. It makes me rethink how I make available my work and who I collaborate with to ensure that American Vandals/Artists cannot get hold of my work.  David Goldblatt, a world-renowned documentary photographer, removed his work archive from the University in Cape town in protest to students vandalising imperialist art and being able to protect the freedom of expression and moved his archive for protection at Yale. How safe is his work really? Incidentally, he claimed that he was an artisan and disliked  Artist. I wonder why? (Herman, 2017)

Our tutor Clare Bottomley challenged us to look at another interesting case involving an iconic photograph. She asked whether the feeling around fair usage change when the image is so well known it becomes part of our collective consciousness?

The photograph by Graeme Williams taken in Thokoza township, Johannesburg, in 1991. Police watch an ANC rally while children taunt them. Photograph: Graeme William (McGreal, 2019)


The photo was taken at the Johannesburg art fair by Graeme Williams of Hank Willis Thomas’s version of Williams’s colour original. Photograph: Graeme Williams (McGreal, 2019)

I thought this is a better case to argue… Wiliams is making an artistic point. He may win based on transformation in an American court but at least he did a better job than Prince. If he labelled or documented his protest up-front I would have some sympathy for his purpose, but he didn’t. He was caught claiming another photographers work as his own and looks like merely trying to get out of trouble. Alternatively, he could have argued that he significantly altered the photograph but require him to present it to the courts. He basically admitted that he stole it and he feels it’s ok because he did not believe it was previously stolen and did not belong to the owner. I wonder if American law will uphold that. He even asks the artist to destroy the evidence.

Copyright Law court expenses are huge. My cynical response would be to simply copy what he did using photoshop, it may only take a day at most and give it to the gallery to sell at the same price and display it next to the other and use this conspiracy to my advantage… He did not change the meaning of the photograph and merely suggested how to change it. Challenge the gallery to sell the original with proof of ownership to a prospective client. If he wants to challenge the “copyright infringement he will then have to fight the lawsuit in South Africa using South African law.  He will not win the case. It would be interesting to me whether art buyers will buy the stolen one, or the original, merely because of the artist’s name. (And if not, provide my originals to him to sell my photographs for me under his own name – he can cut out the middle man, he is clearly a better salesman)

However, I pursued the matter further. Williams was not the only photographer against whom this infringement was done. Here is another.

Photographs by Hank Willis Thomas and Peter Mgubane (Patta, 2019)

He did the same with Peter Magubane’s. Thomas said he’s not so interested in the legal debate, and more interested in the moral debate. CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta said he raises the argument that Williams is a white photographer who took pictures of black South African kids without their permission. He wanted to make it a racist debate. This is the artist version of Click bate.  Why then rob Peter Mugubane?  According to Patta both South Africans that risked the lives to get the story.

The article states: “South African copyright laws are clear: You may not reproduce or alter an original photograph without the owner’s permission. While U.S. laws may not be as stringent, copyright lawyers told CBS News the original works are clearly identifiable in the works by Thomas, which amounts to copyright infringement (Patta, 2019) .”

I like Hank Willis’s other artwork though.


Frankel, S. (2015). The International Copyright Problem and Durable Solutions. [ebook] Wellington. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Patrick CARIOU v. Richard PRINCE. (2013). [ebook] United States Court of Appeals. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Havard (2019). Copyright and Fair Use. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

US Copyright Office (2019). Chapter 1 – Circular 92 | U.S. Copyright Office. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Nagel, A. (2019). Rights of Subjects in Documentary work. [online] André Nagel’s Critical Research Journal. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Phil, S. (2019). Copyright 2019 | Laws and Regulations | ICLG. [online] International Comparative Legal Guides International Business Reports. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

McGreal, C. (2019). Plagiarism or remixing? South African photographer accuses artist of theft. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Patta, D. (2019). U.S. artist accused of stealing iconic images from South African photographers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Herman, P. (2017). UCT defends stance on artistic freedom after Goldblatt pulls out. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Myburgh, A. (2019). Copyright – What it means for Visual Artists. [ebook] Johannesburg, p.3. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].

Smith, A. (2019). Saartjie Sarah Baartman: 10 Astonishing Facts You Didn’t Know About Her. [online] BuzzSouthAfrica – Famous People, Celebrity Bios, Trendy News & Updates. Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019]. (2019). P-01: UK Copyright Law fact sheet. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].