Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Photographer's Right

Sometimes I am amazed at the genius that business owners exhibit, in order to promote their businesses. Often times I've seen an advertisement in a magazine, a commercial on TV or just heard about a business idea through word-of-mouth and think, "That was brilliant!"

Similarly, I am equally amazed at people's stupidity when it comes their businesses. Case-in-point, yesterday my family & I traveled up to Hillsborough, New Hampshire for their annual Hot Air Balloon Festival & Fair. Both Steven & I were each armed with one of DSLR's, he the Canon 40D and me with the Canon 20D.

It was a pretty day, the fair was busy and we were making photographs of things that caught our interest. Now the fairgrounds have a Midway with carnival rides and games, as well as a vendor faire. We came across this really neat booth where a woman was selling decorative fabric hot air balloons. There was something for everyone, be it for a nursery, a race car fan, a sailing enthusiast, or just a colorful souvenir of a day at the fair and festival. We both raised our cameras to take pictures of these little balloons because it would have made for a great photograph. As soon as the owner saw us with our cameras, she came rushing out and told us what we were doing was illegal and we were not allowed to photograph her work. My husband, being the well-studied man that he is, told her very politely that we were within our legal rights as this was a public place. She started spouting off rather snottily about how she sells these things all over the world and she knows her rights and ours wherever she sells them and we were not permitted to do so. We argued the point with her for a few minutes and finally I said, "You know what dear, we know what our rights are. We could give her some free publicity on our photo and blog sites, but she's too short-sighted to see the bigger picture. That's her problem." We walked away...for a while.

Needless to say, I am not one to take things lying down and walked past her booth and exercised my rights several times. If she wasn't so small minded, I would have normally provided her information & examples of her work for people to enjoy, potentially contact her and purchase. But since she couldn't see the big picture, she won't get any free advertising from me.

Hindsight is 20-20 as we all know. If we had really wanted to push the issue, we should have asked a local police officer to come over and explain our rights to her. We should have also made use of the fact that WMUR Channel 9 of New Hampshire had a reporter on scene to report on the balloon festival, and made our point in the court of public opinion. Woulda, coulda, shoulda....

As I reviewed our photos today I came across the ones I took of this lady's booth and decided to voice my rights for all to see. From now on, I will carry the following document with me to present to an offended party, The Photographer's Right published by attorney Bert P. Krages II of Portland, Oregon.

If you are a photographer or even a person who just likes taking snapshots, keep a copy of this with your camera. If challenged, I encourage you to stand up for your rights.

Peace, Jennifer
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