The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for July 1st, 2012

curious customs

with 3 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Marie J. Turecamo tug presented itself to a humble narrator recently, framing iconic views of the harbor for your perusal on this week’s “Maritime Sunday”. Periodically, when some magazine art buyer or advertising stalwart is looking for a harbor shot, my phone will ring and someone will ask for “a tugboat moving past the Statue of Liberty” or something similar. Invariably, the caller is seeking out free usage of the shot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Other photographers get angry with me when I allow free usage of this shot or that to various personages or groups, accusing me of devaluing the craft. “Information wants to be free” is my normal reply, and “an image too dearly held has no intrinsic valuation” is the follow up. This is when I’m called a schmuck, and informed that I’m being “taken advantage of”. Allow me to set the record straight on this subject, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A regular beneficiary of my largesse, whether it be the estimable Working Harbor Committee or the Newtown Creek Alliance or any of the other “worthy” harbor groups whom I regularly supply images to, receives a limited license to the photo. They cannot, for instance, use my shots in a manner which I haven’t specified or agreed to- web usage versus printed material. A byline is required, and if at any time I decide to ask them to pull the shot, this is my right as I’m retaining the image copyright and full usage rights. In advertising lingo, the shots are offered and licensed as “stock”, and the compensation asked for use of them is somewhat asymmetrical and seldom monetary.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I’m ultimately after is photographic access to people, places, and situations which are normally unattainable. I’ve been inside the Manhattan Bridge, walked on a Queensboro bridge completely devoid of traffic, been privy to dozens of situations that “press” photographers would have killed to get near. I’ve been to off limits spots all around the harbor, delved into the deepest recesses of the City, ascended to unattainable and high vantages, and seen things that most living New Yorkers barely suspect. If a group is doing something worth doing, as in the case of WHC with its education programs and senior citizen programming, or NCA’s quest to save the Newtown Creek from sophistry- I’m happy to donate the usage of a few images. On the other hand, if you see something you’d like a print of, or would like to license an image or two for commercial usage- contact me here.

%d bloggers like this: