Watermarks are commonly used by photographers these days to protect their work from unauthorized use and distribution. However, they’re not very popular among photo viewers, since they do a lot to detract from the content of the photographs. Photographer Kip Praslowicz was thinking about this earlier this week, and writes,
[...] it seems like many amateur [photographers] spend more time putting elaborate watermarks on their images than they do making images worth stealing [...] I don’t really recall ever seeing the photographs of famous art photographers with a gaudy watermark.
He then decided to see what famous photographs would look like if the photographers behind them had slapped obnoxious watermarks onto them.
You might recognize the photograph above. Titled Valley Of The Shadow Of Death and snapped by British photographer Roger Fenton in 1855, it’s considered to be one of the oldest known photographs of warfare. Problem is, it might also be one of the oldest known examples of a staged photograph.
Watts Martin of Coyote Tracks has an interesting piece titled “Iconic” that discusses the idea of trade dress — the reason why Apple doesn’t have any branding on the front face of the iPhone:
You don’t need to see the name plate on a Ford Mustang or a Corvette or a Porsche 911 to recognize one. Or a Coke bottle. Or, once you’ve seen one, a Tivoli Audio tabletop radio. Or a McIntosh amp. These products have a design language that’s become part of their brand identity [...] That’s what Apple wants, too: products that look like Apple. They’ve nailed it. You can look at a computer or a tablet or a phone being used in a coffee shop and you can immediately tell Apple or not Apple even if you can’t see the logo. And this is virtually unique in their industry: you’ll usually need the logo to know exactly what the not Apple product is.
This is why trade dress battles are so important to Apple. Try introducing a soda in a container that’s easily mistaken for a Coke bottle and see how far “har har har, you can’t patent curved glass!” gets you as a defense. If somebody makes a product that can be easily mistaken for an Apple device, then Apple is going to do whatever they can to get that product either off the market or changed.
DSLRs are pretty uniform in their appearance, so we don’t see much fuss about trade dress in that sector, but it’s interesting that there isn’t more tension between Leica and Fujifilm — two companies that both offer cameras without front branding.
Iconic [Coyotke Tracks via Daring Fireball]
Lunch atop a Skyscraper is one of the most recognizable photos of the 20th century. The 1932 photo shows 11 construction workers taking a lunch break on a girder 850 feet above New York City. A second photo from the same shoot shows four of the men sleeping on the beam. The images are iconic and epic, but may not be as candid as they seem.
New emerging information about the images is casting doubt on the fact that they’re simple snapshots showing ordinary workers on the job. Instead, the photos were reportedly staged as part of a promotional effort for the Rockefeller Center.
Recognize this photograph? It shows 14-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio screaming and kneeling over the body of 20-year-old Jeffrey Miller, shot during the Kent State Massacre. Kent State photojournalism student John Paul Filo — just 22-years-old at the time — captured the image, and was later awarded the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.
Men at Lunch is an amazing new documentary film by Seán Ó Cualáin that explores the story of one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century: Lunch atop a Skyscraper. the 1932 photo of eleven construction workers taking a lunch break while sitting on a girder suspended 850 feet above New York City.
Ever wonder what the most viewed photograph of all time is? One leading candidate is Bliss, the photograph chosen by Microsoft to be the default wallpaper of Windows XP. Showing rolling green hills in Sonoma County, California, the image was shot by the side of a highway by professional photographer Charles O’Rear using a medium format camera. It has reportedly been viewed by over 1 billion people since it first emerged in 2002.
I am not anti-Instgram, nor am I anti-cellphone photography. But there is a tendency to believe that the art filters that are readily available with many cellphone photo apps somehow “improve” reality. Many of the frequently used filters either significantly boost color saturation, or try to give the appearance of an antiqued, polaroid-esque photo.
But this doesn’t mean it’s better than a more true-to-life image. To prove my point, here are a few iconic photos “re-taken” with art filters a la Instagram. Do you agree?
Here are some uncropped (or “unzoomed”) versions of iconic photographs that show more context than their famous cropped counterparts. It’s interesting to see what photographers and photo editors chose to keep and what they chose to throw away. The image above is an alternate view of Tank Man.
A rare Beatles photograph taken in the same shoot as the iconic Abbey Road album cover is set to go up for auction on May 22nd, and is expected to fetch up to £9,000 (~$14,300). The photograph by Iain Macmillan was one of seven photographs captured while the band walked back and forth across the zebra crossing. A police officer held up traffic while the photographer was given 10 minutes to do the shoot while standing on a ladder. Only 25 copies of this “wrong way” photo were ever printed.
(via Bloomsbury Auctions via The Guardian)