July 22, 2009

Release Me

My portraits have been generating the most attention lately thanks to the Stobist shout-out. Good stuff. That post sent a whole lot of traffic my way and I appreciate the link. Of course, with that attention has come a fair amount of email-based questions and feedback. I hope to answer everyone but seeing as my time has been prioritized towards the Vespa Tour, forgive me in advance for not being overly personal in my responses.

That said, releases are a big source of inquiry and as a rule, I don't get them. It'll likely screw me in the long run but I'm not terribly concerned with that. I shoot for myself. And honestly, 99% of the time, this blog is the only "publication" it's going to have. For the Watchmen book, the actors all signed a release to the studio/production and since the portrait book is their property, it's not my deal.

When I approach randoms on the street, with few exceptions, I don't get a release. When I do, it's a simple one; little more than a paragraph. I once paid folks one U.S. dollar for photos in Uruguay but never turned the images over to stock so it's was just a waste of money.

On my current trip, I bought a flipcam to get a video release from folks but never remember to take it out after shooting portraits. This little girl would have needed her parents consent but I was only doing a test exposure with no expectation of making such a compelling shot. Go figure.

For anyone aspiring to shoot on the street as I do, I'd advise getting a simple release and having someone else get your subjects to sign it. It's better if the request comes from someone other than you. If you're a guy, have a woman make the request. The feminine vibe is much more effective when it come to litigious matters. Trust me.

Make pictures. Do as I say, not as I do.
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