09 January 2011

the audacity of naught


the state of things

 warhol's silver factory from here.

With NEW blogs springing up every day- Beautiful images & words are springing up with them. I try to credit everything I put on this blog. I know sometimes I fail. Many of the images I feature are scanned by me from an extensive library- I only scanned them. They are not mine to claim. I am always surprised, amused, dismayed when I see bloggers paste watermark images over images they have scanned, or even more surprising- claim ownership of images from magazines, the content of magazines barely having even reached subscribers- by adding footnotes to their blogs like:
All content, photos, images and text are the property of ..unless credited. Nothing shall be copied, altered, or reused in any way without....  (Many times these images are not credited)

I have the following added at the lower portion of my own blog:

It is really all I can hope for. I appreciate another blogger noting an image was found on my blog when they use it on their own. It isn't something I expect.  I can not worry over an image I have scanned- when one does that it is part of the catalog of internet images- Simple fact. Better to credit the artist-painter or photographer than to credit a blog-I think. Photographers are in the cross hairs of this boon. The art they render is becoming no more than a paper airplane. We as bloggers should all be more conscientious about this, at least make the effort to note the artist whose work you are literally pasting in as your content.

Some bloggers claim property over the Comments readers leave. I do not. I leave comments often. I enjoy reading posts and I love leaving comments, getting comments and responding to my readers. I occasionally share comments on a subsequent post I may write with permission of the reader. For a number of months I used, with permission, a comment from a supportive blogger in my blog profile with the reader's sobriquet. In recent changes to my profile- rather than crediting the quote directly - I described and thanked them which I hoped would be appropriate.  This wasn't enough and the commenter asked to have those words removed. I completely understand & I did so. I never want anyone to fear leaving a comment, worrying that I will snatch their ideas and words as my own.
There is a fine line here- I hope in interacting with readers and other bloggers-inspiration will follow- that interaction is why I participate.

I look forward to getting my latest subscriptions to more magazines that I like to admit. I use them for inspiration, I occasionally post  their content-when I can create something to the topic. 
How am I inspired? How does it relate to what interests me- the connectors of design, history and art? 
I do make it a rule to never post about a magazine's current content until their next issue is published. I always get crazy  when I see the beautiful photography and content of a new & current issue tossed out on a blog before I even get a copy of the magazine. I wonder if images are scanned, grabbed off  magazine sites or offered up by publishers? I can not fathom a magazine's reasoning if that is the case. Yes- bloggers do promote magazines -alliances are formed. I know advertisers drive magazines and keep them going-but as a paying subscriber, I am infuriated by the practice. It has a great deal to do with bloggers' rush to be the "first" to get something out and numbers-Statistics. Those little statcounters floating about many blogs mean- they are counting You. You are there and therefore You are a statistic-registering your support of and readership of the blog. I have one on my blog, after a year of posting pages on Little Augury, I added the counter. I rarely air these numbers, they are for my own use and they are your  numbers as well. Many bloggers are using them for the purposes of luring advertisers and sponsors to their blogs and publishing their numbers to do so.

Where the story of blogs goes is up to the blog community, the readers and the publications we all flock to for inspiration. As more bloggers enter the field in order to share, reflect and prosper- Less and Less is certain.

I am looking forward to heading to DCOTA the Design Center of the Americas to participate with fellow bloggers in discussing  'Redesigning Design'  moderated by Allison Mezzafonte from Elledecor.com. If  you are close by or will be attending the DCOTA Winter Market 2011 on January the 18th- join us a 2:00- we will discuss how the World of the Internet has changed the World of Design. 



  1. Excellent, thought-provoking post LA. I try and credit all sources (and photographers) whenever possible on my blog, which is something Diane Dorren Saeks admonishes, too. Its only fair. Sometimes it is awfully difficult to get to the original source, though, given the proliferation of the same image being used over and again, unattributed, on so many blogs. We, as bloggers, have a duty to provide credit where it is due, even though it can, at times, be challenging, and may take a few extra moments to. Thanks, Reggie

  2. I'm glad you wrote this essay and I agree with it, wholeheartedly. I looked at my statistics for the first time ever this week and they were not unpleasing. It had never occurred to me to do so before as it is the comments I receive that I value.

    Would love to be in the audience, of course but, alas, am in the office. Best.

  3. Happy, Happy New Year! I hope you have a great 2011. Love your thoughts here. They are good.

  4. Reggie darling, I agree-it is harder to pin down the photographs that are so over captured-that is why going to a photographer if mentioned is a better way to credit, though some are not. It is a muddle. I am wholly fed up with cutesy blogs that have no brain- and- RD you know I carry my soapbox with me. xo Gaye

  5. Blue- it is about the interaction for me too.

    Gwen- same to you,and thanks.

  6. Brilliant and On Point,
    as always....
    Thank you for your clear balanced viewpoint!

  7. Food for thought (as usual)...thanks for the meal..k

  8. "I am wholly fed up with cutesy blogs that have no brain" - this. Yes this! Maybe it is the new year reinvigorating me and stirring up trouble but I'm right beside you in this. I sense that many bloggers push, push, push to get content out to increase views and thus metrics for advertisers. But where is the soul? Showing another blog or a publisher's content without any thought or consideration to add is a waste of my time. My blog may have multiple personality disorder these days, but that's true to my struggle to unearth the real me for the rest to see. It feels great - and great to not be another blog that posts a pair of cute shoes and then some cute earrings and then maybe a photo of Jackie O.


  9. Cutesy blogs that have no brain are rampant. It is so easy.

  10. I've had similar thoughts before and I must say I think it all boils down to the original intent of the blogger. Some people blog for the exchange and the discussion, others to promote businesses and others to promote themselves. It doesn't seem that any of these reasons is right or wrong or better or not. I cannot begrudge anyone for wanting financial compensation for what eventually amounts to a tremendous outlay of energy. Do I like some more than others? Sure. Does it make me crazy when mindless cutting and pasting seems to draw numbers? Sometimes. But I didn't start blogging to count readers or make money, so I shouldn't let it bug me when someone else does.

    The image thing does get tricky, though. I don't think those copyright notices are meant for the images they are borrowing, just their own. Still, it's hard to click and drag then scream ownership when someone else does the same. And, and I haven't looked into this in awhile, but my understanding was that copyright was only an issue if one was making money off of them. Seems to me that once you have ads and sponsorships that changes the game.

    As always, enjoying the conversation here.

  11. Thea and Kathy- it has been percolating for a while. mostly a pulling together of different streams of thought- one specifically was the issue of crediting blogs vs. photographers- I know this is a courtesy to our fellows- but really the image is not theirs . I don't expect it from others though I always try to link if I can and also find the original source. I do think photographers are hurting over this slapdashery of their work.

  12. Well there goes my idea for tomorrow's post: a darling photo of a cute puppy & a double-page spread of a great new catalog! Oh, well...
    Don't get me started. I'd rather post nothing than a breathless, empty-headed piece of fluff just to fill up space. And, of course, I would say that, since that's exactly what I have posted on my blog this week: nothing. But, then, I have a reason: I've been busy. But at least I got the thing started. After all, Rome wasn't burnt in a day. Built. Whatever.

    Anyway, here's the thing: the Very! First! Post! I ever put up was not only borrowed, it was borrowed in its entirety, all two thousand something words of it, and reposted on another blog by someone I didn't know & who didn't even ask permission, and you know what? I'm just fine with that. In fact, I was--and excuse my breathless tone, here--thrilled, because he not only used my words, he also, by stripping out my own images & replacing them with his own, created a new & different piece out of the mix. And why not?

    At the opera, the Willam Tell Overture means your butt will be asleep for the next four hours. When I was a kid, it meant it was time for The Lone Ranger. When I was in college, it provided the only laugh in A Clockwork Orange. Let's face it, all art is about taking the materials at hand--whatever those materials happen to be, whether musical notes, or stone, or a charred stick on a cave wall, or a certain sequence of words--and using them to create something new. And then somebody creating something out of that. Like Picasso says, "All art is copying."

    But people gotta do something with the materials. They can't just open up a can, dump the contents onto a plate & call it dinner. I remember the week that half of Blogville's front pages feaured the same picture of Drew Barrymore lying on her weekend-DIY-project-looking sofa. Who was it that said "That's not writing--that's typing." Same deal, except with Internet access.

    That kind of lazy, cut-&-paste post is one thing that never happens at LA. Sometimes, I have a hard time finding the connection between quotes & photos here, or between two apparently unrelated images, but that just tells me that I need to look harder, because they're there. I just haven't found them yet. But that's OK, because a magician who explains his illusions as he performs them soon runs out of audience. The mystery is one of the things that keep me coming back here.

  13. MT. & Mrs B. I think we have a consensus that we blog for our "soul" as MT puts it. It does get frustrating as a subscriber-more than a blogger- to see the newest a magazine is offering Me as a subscriber on a blog before the magazine reaches me. If I did not get the same mags it might not bother me. If I did not blog I would feel the very same. Why buy the cow-when the milk is free? right? MT I am glad you have returned this year refreshed.
    Mrs. B. Yes- both sides, however it is I think to the detriment of the photographers-they are getting the worse of it. Definitely blogs that post those images and are luring advertisers should beware-I think it will eventually get round to them and it does seem like advertisers would consider it for a moment. Brand is everything- the image a photographer has is the same. It is a slippery slope. I agree the blogger should protect their own image-but when they make it unclear what is and isn't their own or regard the image they paste as their own-which many do-I think-It can not do a photographer a bit of good-it only diminishes the work terribly.

  14. Totally agree. I credit photographers whenever I can, which is most of the time. I've had one ask me to pull his work and did. I saw it as exposure; he saw it as infringement. I get it.

  15. When it comes down to it, so much of this is good manners -something many of us often say is sadly lacking in todays society, particularly online. I'm very big on 'sharing' ideas, etc, but credit is SO important! I'm looking forward to finally meeting you next week!

  16. Thank you for this posting - I enjoyed your thoughts and the discussion that has followed. I was a part of the Graphic Artists Guild back in the mid-80s, when it was a driving force behind changes in copyright law. At that time, if a client bought my art to illustrate advertising, they retained the physical artwork. After the copyright law was changed (in 1986, I believe), clients paid for the right to use the art (that they had commissioned) and I retained both the physical artwork and its future use. That experience has always made me very conscious of crediting the photographer, though if you'll notice my posts, I try to cite books, authors, years - as much as I can.

  17. LA: I was working on a related post as this went up. I've incorporated some of your words, if that's alright?


  18. and to Room Temperature: as the pilferer in question, though this isn't the ideal forum, perhaps, I wanted to thank you for your understanding regarding what I was trying to do with your so beautifully written piece. As an aside, I think legend has it that Not-Writing-But-Typing was Capote re: Kerouac's "On the Road".

  19. Room Temp. Sporting of you to say the least.I read that essay you wrote and no wonder (see below) was compelled to yell it to the roof tops. So glad we have all merged here at this little crossroads. Your words are invaluable.

    Keehnan- you post is quite brilliant. I am pleased you found something here to work with.

  20. Mrs. B. yes- neither can be blamed. I feel the same.

    AD- I feel the same on all counts. pgt

    Mark- I do see your efforts-You are a professional and that shows. I appreciate your addition to this dilemma.

  21. I agree that it is always important to credit images + photographers. And, I also feel strongly about blogs posting current-issue magazine content. Not good. I savor every page of the magazines I choose to subscribe to and feel cheated out of that enjoyment when I come across this situation. I usually click off the blog, as fast as possible!

  22. I have found myself coming back to this post and rereading it several times. You have very articulately summed up some of the things I have been thinking lately. Part of the reason I almost exclusively use my own photographs on my blog is because I am painfully aware of copyright issues (having worked on so many print publications). And in doing so, I have found that it has made me look harder, and think more carefully. While I am quite honored when people use my images on their blogs, I have found that from time to time my images have been used without any sort of credit or source. I find that shocking. Excellent post Gaye!

  23. I've never understood how it is okay to put your watermark on someone else's image. What one says, how one says it, connections drawn, a private collage...that is all one can own, and even that, tenuously so. Tumblr drives me bonkers - no credits?! Gleaning from greatness is great, only if done with a mind for that which is truly great.



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