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Would you credit it?

By 13th June 2008No Comments

Matthew and I are always taking photographs, particularly on a biodiversity theme, and have used these on several of our projects. See Wild on Wight for some of my close up photos of invertebrates and others.

Beetles (c) Cat James

Having our own photo library is great; there is usually a suitable image that we can use to illustrate our or our clients’ work. However, sometimes we just do not have what we need. Take Pinkeye Graphics latest job for the Footprint Trust, for example. The brief was to design a series of postcards to publicise the Warmahome project. I had already designed a logo and poster to promote this worthy enterprise and the postcards were to be the jam.

A bit of brainstorming later, four witty phrases emerged:

  • I’ve never been so insulated
  • How warm are your cockles?
  • Good news for brass monkeys
  • Let us fill your cavities

The Footprint Trust wanted the postcards to appeal to different sections of the community that might have need of Warmahome; not just the elderly, but young families. Age Concern had given permission for me to rummage in their photo library and, before long, I found a picture of a wonderful old lady – perfect for the campaign. However, when checking with the charity that I could use her picture, I was told to choose another as that photograph could only be used

“…in materials that address lesbian, gay and bisexual ageing or that aim to put across a positive lesbian, gay and bisexual inclusive message”.

Fair enough. Another, more suitable picture was chosen and consent was forthcoming.

My brother obligingly posed for the ‘How warm are your cockles’ postcard and Ray provided a picture of a young friend for the ‘Let us fill your cavities’ card. That just left a picture of a brass monkey.

This quickly became a hunt for any old monkey. I found an excellent picture of an orang-utan on a website and emailed the site’s owners for consent to use the image (and, by the way, did they have a higher resolution one?). This was their answer,

“We do not own the rights to the monkey image, so it’s not ours to give away. I think we got it from a photo library but that was 8 months ago so I don’t really remember…”. .

Within a week, I found the exact same orang-utan on a greetings card produced by an international corporation so I thought it best not to tempt their lawyers.

A long trawl through Flickr, elicited a great picture of a chimp and the photographer promised he would send me a high-res version. Alas, despite persistent begging emails from me, the photograph not forthcoming.

In the end I decided to buy a toy monkey. Walter enjoyed the photo sessions and with his Photoshopped bobble hat is coming to a postcard stand near you.

The lesson of this long, rambling tale is be sure that you get consent for any images that you chose to use in your artwork or, better still, take your own photos which you can use and abuse to your heart’s content.

Good news for brass monkeys

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