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Alternate History: Robert Capa and Magnum (2)

Staking Out the Claim

In his unauthorized, workmanlike 2003 biography Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa, Alex Kershaw, describing the motives behind the founding of Magnum Photos, wrote as follows:

“Since 1945, Capa had been active in the American Society of Magazine Photographers. He had eloquently […]

The Photographer and the Painting (5)

Instead of securing licenses for all these replications of other photographers’ works, Sandro Miller relied instead on a legal opinion interpreting the “fair use” exception to the copyright law as covering these restagings. I don’t see how simply replicating a scenario with John Malkovich substituting for the original subject comments in any significant way on the image from which its iconography derives. With all other elements of each image duplicated as faithfully as possible, is Malkovich’s presence in and of itself “transformative”? […]

The Photographer and the Painting (4)

Photographers’ commonplace practice of basing photographs on works of graphic art, often in detail and faithful to the originals, is celebrated, not condemned, by the very same community that objects, vociferously, when painters and other graphic artists imitate or derive iconography from photographic images. What inexplicable double standard operates here? […]

Year-End Ends and Odds

Kim Kardashian, intent on extending her 15 minutes of fame indefinitely (or at least milking it for all it’s worth), will release a book of selfies next April. This gives a whole new meaning to the term “vanity publishing.” Titled “Selfish,” priced at $19.95, under the prestigious imprint of Rizzoli International Publications, it will run 352 pages and include more than 1,000 selfies — surely as redundant an act as one could conceive for someone whose image has become inescapable. […]

Still More Ends and Odds

Among the things I cherish about print as a communication medium, irrevocability ranks very high indeed. I love that, because it keeps me honest. The habits I acquired as a writer publishing in print media have carried over to my writing online. So I want to assure my readers that whatever they read with my byline on it, in any medium, going all the way back to 1964 — I wrote and published that. That was me, at least at that time. I own it, warts and all. […]