The Prince and the Pauper – Quick Task 3

Through our lectures we are introduced to new ideas and ways of thinking. In order to make the most of this information it is helpful to look deeper into some of the content to find artists and issues that really exist. I also want to look deeper into this area to see how it will effect me with regards to this project.

Following on from a discussion around appropriation or reappropriation of images where we looked at the controversial issue of using other peoples images to create your own I decided to research deeper into this subject to see if I can find other examples and try to get a better understanding of copyright law.

A case was making the headlines in recent years was when French Photographer Patrick Cariou took famous American artist Richard Prince to task over his appropriation of 41 images featuring Jamaican men that he had taken over a 6 year period. Cariou had published his work in a book titled, ‘What Rasta’ in 2000 before Prince used the images for his own work. Once Prince had finished his artistic creations these were put on display in a Major New York gallery attracting worldwide attention with Prince’s work selling for $10 million.

Patrick Carious image from What Rasta
Patrick Carious image from What Rasta
Richard Prince's heavily altered work.
Richard Prince’s heavily altered work.

In this case there is no Denial from Prince that he used Cariou’s images, something which he never gave any credit to Cariou for but based his argument on 2 key areas. The first that the images had been transformed from their original state to such a degree that the message being conveyed had completely changed and secondly that Cariou’s work could not be classed as art as they were just general photographs.

The judge took an altogether different view and decided in favour of the Frenchman and ordered all of the work covered by the successful suit to be collected and destroyed, however Richard Prince’s team appealed and April 2013 the original decision was over turned. Patrick Cariou now has the option to appeal so this case has not yet ended but it highlights the grey area that copyright infringement sits.

Art in America Magazine

New York Times

For my project it is highly likely that I will be photographing people so if I was hoping to use the images for more than just my studies then I will need to obtain an image release form from the people I photograph. I also need to take into account where I might go, what buildings I may shoot and the laws surrounding that image use. I am also drawn the idea of creating my own composite images made from other peoples work. This research could be particularly helpful for this.


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