Discussion Topic: Photography, Tumblr, and Copyright

Photo District News recently published an article “Why Photographers Love Tumblr.” What do you think of the open access to photographers’ images? Do you find the issue of copyright troubling? What are the implications for other social media sites like Pinterest?

The photographer Brantley Gutierrez’s success with Tumblr is discussed in the article. On the right is Gutierrez’s photograph of musician Mike Einziger.

Read the article here (now unlocked! see comments below)

Check out the photos that accompanied the original article

See instructions on how to “post” and “comment” under “Blogging Guidelines” above.

Please post your responses by Saturday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day).


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11 Responses to Discussion Topic: Photography, Tumblr, and Copyright

  1. kkathia123 says:

    Prof., Is it obligatory to subscribe to the page (Photo District News) to read the article?

  2. Sandra Cheng says:

    No, you shouldn’t but it looks like PDN pulled off their free feed, so I’ll link it to a ‘free’ version, thanks for letting me know!

  3. andi lika says:

    Tumblr seems to have removed the boundries that existed for artist before. This site, unlike blogs, allows artist to share their work with a larger audience in a short period of time. Not all photographs need to be in a gallery. Just a simple post to Tumblr can serve as inspiration to others. This site is a great source for sharing ideas and appreciating art at a click of a button. Some artist voice their concerns over copyright issues, the fact that once the photographs are on Tumblr they can be reposted again and again. The benefits that such a site offers seems to out weight the cons. I believe that this site is a great source for artist and those who appreciate art alike. It removes the boundries that exist and the time delay.

    • aleckzzz23 says:

      The photographer you are talking about was not concerning at all. According to the article, one of the best features of this web resource is reblogging. The post can be reblogged unlimited times but the credit to the original post will attached to the photo. In that way anyone will know not only the original author of the photo but also his ideas and comments posted with the photo.

      However, as the photos can be hi-rez, the real concerns should be about illegal commercial using of the art from Tumblr. Sometimes even watermarks will not help. But that is the reality, if you want to get something you have to pay the price. In order to get a chance to became famous you have to spread your art among people, and not all of them are honest-minded.

  4. I think the reason why photographers love this kind of social network is because is an easy and fast way to share their work with the world, and if something like this is available why not use it. This is an excellent way to show your talent and for the people to get to know you and your work.

    I know is not easy for artists to get their paintings or pictures displayed in a gallery, so Tumblr is like that first step because like it happened to Brantley Gutierrez somebody might like your work and hire you. I don’t see anything wrong with this idea as long as the pictures people are publishing are their own pictures

    • vera says:

      I absolutely agree with you. Amateur photographers often do not know how to promote their talent. Most of them cannot afford to rent a gallery space to exhibit their work. In the era of technology young photographers are being encouraged to take advantage of the social media and if I was a beginner and wanted to get the audience to know me and respond to what I do, I would definitely sign up for the Tumblr account. In his article Conor Risch states that once an image is reblogged its owner essentially loses control of how and where his work is displayed. Personally, I do not see a problem with images being shared among the Tumblr users. After all, the main idea of the art is to be shared and appreciated by many. Everyone likes to see the benefits of their hard work, and there is nothing more rewarding for a blogger to see than their work being liked and reblogged by others. Plus, according to the article, reblog function automatically credits the author of the original post.

  5. kkathia123 says:

    I don’t want to seem like a person who doesn’t know about networking sites, but before I read about this article, I didn’t know much about the page called Tumblr. Unlike any other social media site, Tumblr is loved by photographers because they are able to share their photographs with friends, families and even with followers. Also, artists are able to get feedbacks about their arts and even “likes” from Tumblr users. I think of the open access to photographers’ images as a wonderful way to market their arts and themselves as professional photographers. I personally don’t find the issue of copyright troubling because Tumblr has its own mechanism of crediting the authors of the photos shown, and “if a photographer includes a copyright notice, it will remain attached to the image no matter how many times it’s reblogged,” according to Lecca who is a photo editor that uses Tumblr. The implications for other not as “famous” social media sites like Pinterest are the decrease of the amount of users that are going to visit the pages; users are going to forget about the existence of Pinterest and others and will sign up on Tumblr because they are going to see more currents arts etc. I believe that if there is an opportunity to share your work of arts in one of the most famous social media site, why don’t take the chance?

  6. I feel that open access to photography and other art forms in general is something to be celebrated. Artists can share their work instantly in a safe environment. Through Tumblr they can advertise their talents or simply share their work for the joy of it. It is a way to have their work noticed.

    I don’t see an issue with copyright because of Tumblr’s copyright notice capabilities. Wherever the work goes through reblogging, the credit to the artist will go with it. This is another benefit for the photographer in terms of networking and trying to get their work noticed. As their images cycle through hundreds or thousands of people in a community that is known for art, potential employers or admirers can track the image back to the creator effortlessly. It creates a hub for inspiration and networking among artists of all kinds. It also serves as hot spot for a public that simply enjoys art.

    Before you asked the question I was not aware Pinterest existed. There’s not enough information in the article for me to weigh it against Tumblr but as far as other social media sites go, such as Facebook, they simply cannot compete with the image sharing capabilities of Tumblr. Tumblr was made to share images and excels in it. It has also garnered a reputation as being a site for sharing and promoting art. For people who revel in the work of artists, they will likely abandon the other sites in favor of Tumblr.

  7. Romaine says:

    I personally think open access photographers images and work is amazing perk in this day and age. As the world becomes more digital and interconnected with social media, sharing is now much easier and looked upon in a positive manner. Having the ability is to freely view an artist’s work without having to pay to see it in a gallery is an amazing feeling. I think tumblr is a very useful site for photographers who are attempting to build a larger following and audience at a fair price (free). Copyright is always an issue for creators and publishers, with so much sharing going on social media eventually someone may claim or use your work as their own. Everything we do have a drawback in some manner and copyright claims are often the main problem over the internet, it is very easy for someone to claim your work as their own.
    Pinterest and other social media like it does have a future in this day and age, where the main focus is sharing. I do see other forms of sharing other aspect of our lives popping up on the web very soon.

  8. sarah52 says:

    Tumblr is a great platform for photographers and people who loves photography, the artist gets a platform to show his/her work and gets appreciated and people get inspired from it to begin their own photography life. It also helps amateur artist to get a platform they needed to be viewed and recognized through their photography.
    Tumblr has its own mechanism built for copyright and I find it very useful. Anyone could re-blog an image and the artist gets the credit for it. Without the copyright re-blogging would have made it difficult to find the artist or the origin of the image.
    Of all the social media sites Tumblr has the most recognition for displaying images as an art. It is solely dedicated into photography. So unless there is another site cooler than tumblr, the popularity would remain the same as it is right now.

  9. Alexis Y says:

    Tumblr seems be a great site for many people who appreciates photography in a professional sense and a personal sense. You can say its another “Facebook type” that only can be appreciated by photographers. It help to create opportunity jobs for photographers, seeing that it’s really popular with many magazine companies, movie producers and others of that status. It’s a great way of marketing and creates recognition for yourself.

    I find the every image needs be copyrighted because  proper credit need do be given to where it is due. There are many people in the world that would steal credit that they didn’t work for like plagiarism, which is a serious crime. So I like the fact that that images posted by photographer will show the name of its originator.

    We know that all media sites want to prosper and all are competing or battling one another.  The one important factor for media sites to gain recognition is through famous individuals. For example Facebook, it was not so popular like it is now. There were a lot of celebrity talking about that caused the population active in Facebook to tremendously increase. So the way of putting your business out there is what causes you to be recognized and Tumblr seems to be the “IT” factor right now.

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