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... and I don't necessarily support it in the various ways the entertainment industry abuses it. It is certainly more often used to protect conglomerates than creative artists.

But taking me to task because you either don't think it should be that way, or you just don't believe me, is kind of missing the point.

If you think I'm wrong about what the law says, go do your own research and satisfy yourself that you're right ... all I tried to do was make people aware of the issues. You can choose for yourself to what degree you're going to let the opinions of others affect what you create.

I don't give out my work as stock because I committed to each model that I would control how they were presented.

My work is mostly nudes; the models want to have confidence that their images won't show up on adult products, and that has actually happened several times.

There are a large number of rather brave nude stock models here that encourage others to use their images. They have given you permission. My models have not.

The models have found and shown me numerous examples of people unknown to me appropriating their likenesses in often crude and sometimes downright nasty ways. I am NEVER going to approve of someone trampling on THEIR rights and it has nothing to with my Copyright.

I like them better than I like you.
  • Mood: Pestered
In Which I Give an Open Response to Someone Who Has Copied From Me in the Hope They Don't Ruin Their Career Before It Starts

I get asked constantly if someone can "base" a painting off of one of my photographs. More often, someone just does it and then demands my permission after the fact ...

About 35 years ago, I did something similar ...

I found a photograph I really liked and I based a painting on it, changing minor details that clashed with my sense of composition. It was of a woman sitting on a chair, facing away and looking backwards at the camera. I spent a long time on it and really liked it once I was done.

I showed it to a gallery owner along with some more original works and he thought it was the best of them. But he said "That woman looks familiar, who's the model?" and I couldn't tell him. When I admitted that it was from someone else's photograph he essentially said he couldn't work with me.

I eventually found out where the photograph came from. It was a picture of Charlotte Rampling originally published in Playboy. After doing some research on international copyright law, it became obvious that I did not own the copyright to my own painting. I kept it for many years, but could not show it, and eventually tore it up and reused the stretcher bars for a new canvas. But I learned an important lesson and THAT's when I started taking photographs of my own models.

I've never copied from anyone else's work again.

Up until I started shooting underwater, my photographs were only used for my paintings. I'm now doing more photography than painting but I've still sold more paintings than photographs by a wide margin. I've got paintings hanging in galleries as far away as S. Korea ...

Now I'm sure that modern attitudes about copyright have changed a great deal since I was young, but many of the laws have not kept pace with cultural acceptance.

What I think about what the budding artists here have often done, transferring a composition from one of my photographs to their painting, is not particularly relevant. If you post an infringing image online, you could potentially be sued. Frankly, I'm too old to go to that much trouble ... But did you consider that you don't have the models' permission to use their likeness? When someone sits for you, or lets you take their picture for a painting, it's hard for them to convince anyone that you didn't have their permission. But if you do it without their knowledge it's just as clear that you did not. Models have rights too, you know, and they're actually a lot easier to enforce than copyright ...

But if you were to give one of these images to a gallery, and then they sold it for any amount at all, and then someday the buyer ran across my photograph and realized that he had paid money for a painting that was in some sense a copy, that would be criminal FRAUD and could land the gallery owner in jail, or at least destroy his reputation. Even if nothing really came of it but the buyer demanding his money back, you might find that no gallery would touch your work afterward ...

Copying is something that students are taught to do and it's usually a very good way to learn. Copying from an Old Master in a museum (which are not Copyright) is completely acceptable as no one will think you're trying to pass it off as the original.

But copying (in any way) from a contemporary source is likely to cause more problems than it solves. Passing off my composition as your own work could really wreck your career ... even if I agreed to it!

My lack of response to an inquiry would change nothing. Since I didn't give permission, nor formally assign the Copyright, it would be a clear infringement if it ever came to Court. Once you admit that it was based on someone else's work it would never be in doubt. It would be a good idea to pick up a book on "Copyright Law for Artists" - I think it's still in print - before you do anything like this again.

But even if I had given my permission, and it was completely legal, what do you think a gallery owner would think of it once he knew it was a copy of someone else's composition? Composition is what an artist actually creates ... in photography, one does it by selection of the frame and pose, in painting, one does it by construction of the scene ... If you copy someone's photograph you have done Nothing! Transferring an image from one medium to another is about as creative as a Xerox machine.

Whether you are a young artist just starting out, or older than I am, I hope you learn this lesson as painlessly as I did ...


p.s. Last time I did a search the image was easy to find, but apparently Playboy has gotten aggressive and had them taken down. It was not Helmut Newton's picture of Rampling sitting on a table which is still available ...

That gallery owner actually did me a big favor ... maybe you can pass this advice on some day.

  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Paige and Plant Unledded
In which We Muse on the Nature of Nature

I keep getting asked how I *do* the reflections. There seems to be a common misapprehension that because I am forced to do quite a lot of retouching in PhotoShop that I am in fact manufacturing the reflections there.

Strictly speaking, this is not possible for a number of reasons, although I know many people do a quite credible job and no one seems to notice the difference.

But imagine holding a cup upside down over a mirror. (We're all more or less visually oriented people here, so I am not going to try to prove it with illustrations but if any of this is unclear go ahead and try it out literally.)

When you look down on the cup over the mirror you can see the bottom of the cup and the handle and presumably your hand holding it. And in the mirror you naturally see the inside of the cup and whatever part of the handle and your hand you can see is from a completely different angle.

So it should be pretty obvious that there's no way to manipulate the image of the bottom of the cup to give you an image of the inside.

Now hang the cup from a convenient string and start backing away. The further back you get, the smaller the angle between looking straight at it and looking at the reflection becomes, and the more similar the reflection becomes to a "flipped" version of the straight-on image.

Aha! That's it! We just have to portray the image as being far enough away so that the angles are too close to matter!

Well, yes and no. Consider a scene like the far side of a lake where we might want to create a rippled reflection which for some reason we don't already have in the picture. Because it's so far away, flipping each tree upside down and then wobbling the water a bit will be a reasonable rendering of the reflection. But as we come around the shore (which is not straight) the line which we need to reflect across curves down as it comes toward us. So simply grabbing the scene and flipping it vertically still doesn't work since the trees on the nearer side should not be flipped on the same line as the far shore (or their trunks will be partially missing). With a lot of continuous curved skewing (taking care that the verticals lines aren't bent over) you should be able to do it and then wobble the water for a nice effect.

But as far "creating" a closeup reflection of a model, you really can't synthesize it. In "The Waterbourne Girl" you can clearly see body parts (like her left hand) in the reflection that are not in the direct view. So there's no way to turn one into the other mechanically.

If you really need to create a realistic reflection just take two pictures while your model holds the pose: one directly and then a second, closer, looking down. Once you scale them to match you can warp the second one to get a believable image.

I think it's easier just to jump in the pool ...

Hopefully, you'll believe me now. If not I can't imagine anything else to say to convince you ...


  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Jesse Cook (and GlaDOS)
  • Playing: Fallout(3)

I think I slept through it ...

Wed Oct 8, 2008, 9:06 AM
In which I'm just happy to be here

Monday morning I had emergency surgery to remove a dental implant that I got three weeks ago, along with a small (fingernail size) section of bone that was so infected the surgeon described it as "mushy". I saw it, it looked like bloody sand ...

So in a haze of painkillers, I logged on to DA and found 2K+ messages ... took me a while to realize what it meant. So thanks to Helewidis for noticing and thanks to all the people who've left congratulations.

And to those few who feel compelled to trash my work LOL, I think you should consider how your criticisms are likely to be perceived by your peers. I think it quite natural to feel jealous if you feel your work has been ignored, but getting all sarky isn't likely to attract the kind of attention you would like. I expect that it happens just about every time a DD is awarded, but remember, fame in the modern age is fleeting.

In this case it was over before I woke up!


  • Mood: Pain
  • Playing: Oblivion
  • Eating: nothing

A Seriously Time-Consuming Project!

Tue May 27, 2008, 10:51 PM
In which We plumb the depths of our creative stubborness

Last year I started trying to shoot in 3D with the intention of printing them out on, or at least in front of, lenticular screens. Lenticular screens are typically plastic sheets with vertically oriented half-lenses, that is they warp light from side to side but not up and down, which can be used to view prints that have multiple images that either present motion or a combination of false depth and true stereo, or both depth and motion.

The idea is that each eye sees a slightly different strip of the area beneath each lenticule, of which there can be between 16 and 80 per inch laid parallel across the image. And the magnification factor of the lens is such that many individual strips may lie between each lenticule which can create an additional 3D effect by showing different views as you turn the print or move to the side, which in turn can simulate the views you actually see in real life, or in a true hologram. You've probably encountered this material on DVD packaging where the image changes depending on the angle at which you hold it.

I started off with a cheap prism beam splitter that combined two images from approximately the distance between human eyes into a single frame. It was clearly 3D stereo but had rather poor optical qualities as far as focus, vignette, exposure and consistency.

So I eventually bought a second D2X and matching zoom and prime lenses and connected them with a synch cable and was able to take some fairly good stereo pairs.

Now lenticulars are normally made with many individual images spaced close together, either by using a single camera on a graduated track to take many exposures, or a series of prisms and/or mirrors to take many views in a single exposure, or just lots of small (because they must be close together) cameras. But, of course, I want to take the pictures underwater, where you can't use multiple exposures because nothing can hold still, can't make a complicated optical system practical, and can't synch the many small cameras needed for motion capture.

Two cameras was about all I thought could be reasonably made to work. So I started working on a software solution ...

Eight months later I'm ready to start over again: I've had incredible problems getting the two images properly synchronized. Not only the exposure but the focus point, the color response and the depth of field all need to be exactly the same. Modern cameras just don't work that way: each frame is uniquely focused and exposed depending on the conditions impinging on the cameras precise location. The world is different (enough) one foot to the side.

So I've finally traded in my slightly mismatched pair of D2Xes for a pair of identical twin D3s with sequential serial numbers. And I'm finally getting consistent color response and exposure from identical manual settings but finding out that the switch to the larger sensor has reduced my depth of field to 4 inches! Fortunately, the large sensor is much less noisy and I can stop down several stops and still get a better image than from the D2X with aperture wide open.

I'm very interested in hearing from anyone who knows of software that can take hyperstereo pairs and produce intermediate views; morphing based on outlines does not qualify. The lenticular print shops that I've found do not have anything that can do it; one of them is rather desperate to see what my software can do, presuming I can make it work. But if it's already out there, I might as well just buy it ...

More reports as events warrant.


P. S. How to view crossview images

If 3D images are presented normally with the left view on the left side and the right view as expected on the right side, someone with good control over their eyes (which generally means someone with bad eyesight like myself) can stare "through" the images and make them line up such that the 3D effect can be perceived. But this will only work when the corresponding features of the two images are closer than the distance between the viewer's eyes, ~3 inches, which means the images have to be correspondingly small. This is a consequence of the simple fact that the world never requires us to angle our eyes away from each other to see it.

If the two images are reversed horizontally then you must look slightly crosseyed at them in order for the right eye to look at the left side while the left eye sees the right. While this may be less obvious than the previous method it has the the advantage that the images may be much larger, the only limit being how much you can stand to have your eyes crossed. I typically setup two screens and can comfortably view images at 1280x1024 for editing.

One trick that may help will be to hold your finger in front of your face and look at it while paying attention to the images behind it. When you can see three images, one 3D in the middle and two extraneous on either side, you can move your finger down and focus on the crossed pair. Usually your eyes will snap to the 3D image and maintain it as this is what your visual system is designed to do.

Getting closer to the images makes it substantially harder as you must cross your eyes more and you may actually be able to feel the strain in your eyes. The easiest way to view crossed stereo pairs is to bring up the largest image size available and then move back from them so that your eyes need only slightly cross to view them.

  • Mood: Dumbfounded
In which We repost deleted works just so we can get the stolen copies taken down

Photobucket apparently requires a current link to an image to process a notice of Infringement.

I don't see how this is required by the DMCA ...

I hope nobody minds the retreads.

  • Mood: Annoyed

A New Series

Mon Jul 2, 2007, 7:18 PM
In which We drop our clothes at the riverbank and quite scandalize the whole town

:icondisassociation: spends more time on here than I do so I'm letting her bear the brunt of uploading them.

But I'm not sure people really notice them so I'm going to list them here ...

I hope she likes them. I came back from an abbreviated trip to the mountains with a fever that is now in its second day. Can't believe I could get anything from the stream that quickly.

Just BTW

botticelli's dream by disassociation and Untouched by Sun nor Moon by disassociation

are now hanging as framed canvases in the house of the producer who shot the documentary on me and

come to me my sister by disassociation, please keep playing by disassociation and in the morning she rises by disassociation

were featured in my recent solo show, the last of which sold before we could get it hung.

  • Mood: Sickened

Freedom from Popularity

Fri Jun 22, 2007, 10:59 AM
or Understanding that the Consensus of the Majority does not Constitute Truth

Every few months I come back over to this rather busy corner of the web to see if they have straightened out the licensing issues. As long as the controlling agreement remains somewhat vague, I don't feel comfortable risking the rights of my entire output, so I'll probably just rotate a few images through at a time. Sooner or later, someone is going to offer a lot of money to absorb DA and I don't want my own work marketed in competition with me. So the low res can come here, while the high res goes to the physical gallery ...

When I put up a few images a couple of days ago, one of them moved very close to the "Top of the Pops" for a while. Now since Popularity on DA is determined by absolute counts of favs, rather than the ratio of votes to views, its more controlled by exposure than anything else. So popular People see their works climb to the top even if a smaller fraction of their viewers vote for each work ...

So I go by the ratios, and I'm most interested in the competition between my own works, because I have a business case need-to-know which of them I should invest in, i.e. print up on large canvases and frame. Sometimes people don't really care for the stuff I'm happiest with and it's important to know that ahead of time. If the people who demonstrably like my work consistently pass over something, I'll know it's not up to par.

But while comparing the ratios on my stuff to the other images in the same category, and watching which of them were shooting up quickly, I noticed the obvious: Big Boobs Win! Almost always, it seems. I'm not saying they're not extraordinarily good pictures, but all other considerations being equal, the images with the most shapely large breasts pick up votes and views the fastest.

Instead of being annoyed, I found it very freeing.

The realization that artistry and composition won't push anyone's work to the top of the Popular list (unless big boobs are present) allows me to go back to what I was really interested in, namely collecting useful feedback on the images I sell.

(I once had a picture here that was both the most Popular and the top selling print in it's category. But I made more off of selling one print on canvas directly than the total for everything for two years ... maybe it was because she didn't have Big Boobs!)

So next Monday, I just happen to have a model flying up from L.A. who has an enormous rack (and also incredibly well formed) so we'll see what they do in the water. But I'm actually more eagerly anticipating Wednesday when I'm going to finally going to shoot my own doctor who's almost exactly the same age I am. I'm not sure I trust this place enough to expose her to the kind of sniping that seems to be motivated by something akin to jealousy.

Oddly enough, over on the free-for-all that is Flickr, people are more generally polite. Probably due to the fact you can delete their comments and block them effortlessly - and when enough people block someone the admins will boot them (as happens every day.)

This is by far the more artistic site, and one of the few where copyrights are rigorously respected (at least by the staff.) But when people leave a note just to sneer at something I wonder at their motivations. I also wonder if they really imagine that anything in these pictures is accidental ... when I present something with odd lighting it isn't because I didn't notice - usually that's the whole point of the image.

I can't believe you're still reading this. I'll probably rip it down as soon as someone gets all hot and bothered about my obviously invalid opinions! :D

  • Mood: Amused