Friday Happy Hour: Lady Gaga Owns Your Photos & More

Friday Happy Hour: Lady Gaga Owns Your Photos & More

The photo industry never ceases to surprise us. This week Allen posted his so-called rant, “Why I Love Photography“. The post has attracted over 1k Facebook likes, 1,200 tweets, and 120 comments. Clearly he hit a chord. Other topics this week that were worth paying attention to? Just check out our roundup below.

The “Fame Monster” owns your soul (and your photographs)

Sure, one look at Lady Gaga and you can tell that she’s a little ridiculous. (A dress made of meat? Really? We still can’t get over this.) Now her latest media stint is hitting the papers – that is, Lady Gaga demands that photographers surrender ownership of their photos of her.

Photo by mpi04/MediaPunch Inc.

Concert photographers may be used to signing Photo Release Forms that limit how close they can get to the stage, which songs they can photograph, etc., but Lady Gaga’s release form takes the cake. Now this story is from last spring, but we thought it deserved some attention; according to TBD, a local news site for the Washington D.C. area, their photographer Jay Westcott was required to sign this form in order to photograph Lady Gag’s concert last March:

In short, by signing this form, your photos belong to Lady Gaga. TBD editors told Westcott not to sign the agreement and not to shoot the concert. Apparently other “big name” artists have similar agreements, like the Foo Fighters and the Beastie Boys. But seriously, how big is too big? Perhaps this is what we’ve come to with stars who know that the media needs them way more than they need the media.

Cowbird to change the way we use photos to tell stories

A Jonathan Harris project – the man behind Today (1 photo everyday for 440 days) – Cowbird is simple: 1 photograph and accompanying text/audio to tell the story behind the photo. The goal is to pioneer a new form of participatory journalism, and build a long-term library that documents the human experience.

You currently must request an invite to Cowbird, but once inside you’re encouraged to use it as a visual diary of your life and add your stories to the library for public viewing. Cowbird automatically finds similar stories by other photographers and authors in the community, so that you can discover like-minded individuals and follow their stories.

For those not interested in signing up for another service (though it’s free!), simply browsing the library by themes and topics like mystery, euphoria, Africa, hopelessness, and wisdom is enough to keep you enthralled for hours. Learn more about what Cowbird has to offer and take a look for yourself.

Creative Freelancer Conference – discount!

We’re pleased to share with you our “tell-a-friend” discount to this year’s Creative Freelancer Conference in Boston from June 21-22. This $50 discount off the full-conference rate gets you two days of workshops and speakers on the best tools to maximize your freelance income.

You’ll get expert advice on money management, marketing, client relations, and more. Plus, the chance to connect with fellow freelancers.  We attended last year and this was once of the best events we’ve ever participated in. Visit the event website to see who’s speaking (including our own Allen Murabayashi) – and don’t forget to apply the coupon code CSPKR for your discount!

Emiliano Granado’s portraits featured in Men’s Health magazine

This is the stuff of dreams: PhotoShelter friend and Argentine photographer Emiliano Granado was working on a personal project, Time For Print, when the photo editor at Men’s Health commissioned him to take some sexy Polaroids for the magazine. You read it right – real Polaroids! Here are some shots from behind the scenes that Emiliano shared on his blog:

Courtesy of Emiliano Granado

Courtesy of Emiliano Granado

Courtesy of Emiliano Granado

Last fall, PhotoShelter hosted a live webinar with Men’s Health‘s Senior Photo Editor Michelle Stark. Watch the video recording and get tips for what photo buyers like Michelle are looking for and how you might get picked up by magazine editors. – an online gallery

Have you heard of yet? We recently stumbled upon this online photo gallery and social network, which curates photos from around the world to publish in their galleries online. They claim to take only 1/20th of the photos uploaded, which makes it sound pretty exclusive. Photographers are enticed by the exposure offered by’s 150,000 daily visitors, and art collectors are drawn by the option to purchase premium art prints. There’s also a photographer’s community where you can solicit feedback and participate in online discussions.

Check out the images – what do you think of their collection?

Sheri Lynn Behr awarded a 2012 Individual Artist Fellowship

A shout out to PhotoShelter member Sheri Lynn Behr who was awarded the 2012 Individual Artist Fellowship grant for Photography from the New Jersey Council on the Arts! Sheri has been photographing musicians and celebrities in the New York area since the 1970s. Some of her photos of The Ramones, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones are now collected as fine art photographs. Congrats, Sheri!

Photo by Sheri Lynn Behr

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There are 11 comments for this article
  1. Tom Craig at 4:44 pm

    The problem is the weak Copyright laws which allows this kind of License hijacking. For example;, the copyright law in France clearly forbids any kind of usurpation of the photographers work. No matter what. No contract, even signed, can ever cancel this law. it is called the Droits d’Auteur, and hijackers, counterfeiters and other thieves hate it.

  2. Misery at 9:25 pm

    In many cases with rights grabbing photo releases, it’s the record label or management trying to squeeze out any bit of potential income from any media possible (in the same vein as music videos now being seen as a product people need to pay for, rather than advertising for the artist’s album/tour), combined with a gross misunderstanding of how much photographers actually make (don’t make) shooting concert images. I’ve known bands who had exactly the same release Foo Fighters requires (FF, the Beastie Boys and other notorious examples had the same management and PR firm) but had no knowledge whatsoever of that release being used (and they immediately made it disappear when they found out it existed, via unhappy photographer friends)

    The head of that PR firm dropped into a concert photographer’s group discussion 2 years back and claimed the release was in place so the artist wouldn’t be extorted by some evil photog who expected to be paid for using his images.

    He stated, “in the cases of my artists who make “rights grabs,” they are often people who have been charged exorbitant amounts of money to buy their own images for box sets, merchandise, etc. so it is a two edged sword. think about how you’d feel: you give someone a free ticket, a photo pass, and 10-15 years later when you’re putting your box set together that same person is extorting you for $50K for a rare image of your dead friend.

    i realize this is a forum for amateurs and n00bs so this probably won’t get any sympathy. you’ll probably mostly think “well those guys are loaded and we’re struggling geniuses” so you’re the ones who are being wronged.”

    (I don’t know what or how many music photographers he thinks get $50,000 for one photo unless he’s conflating us with paparazzi and thinks [any] bands are as in demand as Brangelina).

    Key words there aside from the put downs are “buy their own images” and likening a “free ticket [and] a photo pass” as sufficient payment for professional services and intellectual property rights… because apparently allowing you the experience of shooting their artist is payment enough, and rights of publicity are exactly the same thing as copyright. -__-

    Not to single him out, as discussions in the UK between photographers and agencies like David Redfern and music industry labels and managers have also demonstrated that the contracts are there to try to hold on to any potential media income while the entire music industry adapts to digital distribution and a trickle of album sales, instead of prior big releases of physical cds/albums (while facing loss of income from torrent sites), because they think photographers are getting paid ~vastly~ more than we actually are, and also want to protect their artists rights of publicity etc in the cases of bootleg merchandise.

    Except, it’s unlikely bootleg merch originates from photographers who get photo passes and shoot on assignment… it’s from the 100,000 fans with point and shoots in the audience, or people who steal images from photographer’s portfolio sites or agencies (at any time, you’ll find Getty Images photos being sold on Ebay from someone who lifted them online, and I’ve had images taken from my account here)

    Then you go to shoot huge artists like Metallica, Madonna, and Bruce Springsteen and there’re no photo releases required…

  3. Steve Dolson at 7:50 am

    “Lauren is part of the marketing team at PhotoShelter.” Good luck, PhotoShelter! If she pass a year-old story for news, gods know what she must be doing in ‘marketing’…

    “She claims to make the best Oreo cheesecake around.” That I believe. Cheesy is her department.

  4. Paul R. Giunta at 11:35 am

    As a concert photographer I absolutely refuse to sign these. Why would I go work for an artist like this for free? Releases like this are common and range from small bands to acts like Gaga and some cases when dealing with the publicists they can be waved depending on who you are shooting for, If they cannot, you just need to walk away.

  5. Misery at 5:53 pm

    @ Felix wrote, “Don’t think it’s a big deal. Other artists and bands don’t allow dslr’s in concert arenas at all!!!”

    The photo release applies to photojournalists who are accredited (by PR, management or record label) to shoot the concert for a media outlet or agency, not audience members who try to walk into the venue with a camera.

    Being allowed into a venue with a DSLR == compensation for professional services and transfer of copyright, including loss of future income via licensing for the rest of the photographer’s life +70.

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