The artist behind the camera

A few posts back I mentioned that famous names were off limits.  What about photographers, and their photographs?

Matthew Brady is the famous photographer known for giving us images of the Civil War; he was close friends with President Lincoln and even after the war ended, agreed to serve as his personal photographer.  Brady suddenly retired after Lincoln died.  There were of course other photographers who photographed the war as it happened, Brady wasn’t the only photographer to do so.  His name is the most popular.  Another well known photographer that documented US history was Lewis Hine; wanting to do something about child labor, he grabbed his camera and took photographs of families and children affected by the labor laws.  Several severe injuries that the kids endured were also shown in the photographs.  His photos helped bring child labor to an end.  I’ve colorized and am selling a few of the newsies Hine photographed – I found out that a lot of these photographers that documented history, colorizers are encouraged to use.  The only time you can’t use these kinds of photographs is if living family says no.

So what about names like Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, or Edward Steichen?  Photographers linked to another industry like fashion, how do you deal with that?  Do you have to deal with model, photographer, and designer permission?  Here’s the thing, many consider fashion as their brand, so when you colorize a historic fashion photograph you do need permission to change the brand.  In this case, if the model is a famous celebrity like Clara Bow or Clark Gable then you should get nervous, otherwise don’t worry about the whole model permission.  The creator and photographer have to give permission, or you can’t use it.  The brand Chanel has been around since 1909, and the photographers mentioned may be long gone but their work is still shown all around the world in art galleries.  Simplified?  Photographers work linked to another industry – permission is needed from both parties.  There is however a loophole – if the company has long since gone out of business, just check all the legal stuff surrounding the photographer.

Hope this is helpful!

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