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Thoughts On Using Stock Photography In Your Art?

Discussion in 'Travis Smith' started by Eyesore, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    There is a heated debate going on over this photograph taken by a deviantArt member. The photo in question: http://www.deviantart.com/view/23066589/

    Quite a photo, if I may say so. Well, it ended up here:

    [​IMG]

    Now, many people are saying that it's lazy to use stock photography. I disagree. I am very artistic and would probably be a good photographer, but I lack the equipment necessary to be a photographer. So I use stock photography quite often. Geoff, who designed the artwork for Synchestra, did multiple covers and Devin like this the best. Very little was changed as you can see. So is Geoff somehow a lazy artist? I view stock photography like I view sampling in music. It's a part of music, a part of art. I have no issues with it. What are your thoughts?

    Have you, or do you, Travis, use stock photography?
     
  2. Novembers Paul

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    It's a resource. It would be more original of a piece if he took the photo himself, but honestly, I don't mind using stock. There are certain looks I can't get for myself, so I need to rely on some stock art. If the person is offering his photos as stock, he has little to say about it, but at the same time, Devon can't really be upset if he sees this used elsewhere as well. It's the chance you take using stock.
     
  3. Seems like Trav

    Seems like Trav No Such Thing

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    I have a few thoughts on this, really, and I think that many factors come into to play in each situation, and how they are involved is what decides my feelings on it for the most part. I’ll see if i can answer without generalizing (or rambling) too much.

    First of all, I RARELY use stock photography for myself. If I do, it is rare and always a last resort. Something that has to be a photo, yet i could never possibly (or timely) photograph myself. For example, maybe someone wants a picture of mars in the sky or has specifically requested a certain type of animal or structure that is only in certain parts of the world and wants it the next day and doesn’t have the budget to fly me to the location. 99% of the imagery you see in my art is mine.

    These are the only times I will consider it, and even then thy will only be small elements in the picture. I try to avoid it because I like to keep my images as personal as possible, and using premade or stock stuff takes away from that a bit. Rmember, I’m speaking for mysefl here. Unless specifically asked to, I would not make an entire cover image from a stock photo, (at least without changing it a bunch, if allowed) and if I did, I would not take an art credit for it. I wouldn’t be able to take a stock photo, do a few adjustments, put a logo on it and call it “mine”. If that’s what you want, why ask me to do it in the first place...? Of course, other factors can figure in as well (Even in these cases I have friends with photos that might help and I sometimes trade elements with them - If i need an image I lack, i prefer to do this before stock - it still keeps things a bit more original, and I will always credit them). This is a personal preference, and not a judgement. Sometimes a band might provide you a photo themselves that they want used but see what you can do with it, so many things can be involved.

    Some people do use it to be lazy. I know this because I know people that do. They don’t really care all that much and just wanna get the job done. I can’t really speak for them and say this is wrong, as It depends on the connection you have or want to keep with your work. If it’s fine for you I don’t see a problem with it. But i think for me there’s more to be proud of, a better feeling of accomplishment, and a more personal connection when it’s “all you”. However, as stated above, sometimes there are impossibilities with this and exceptions have to be made. I think it’s up to each one’s perspective where that line is drawn and when it’s been stepped over.

    With that said, and now, if i dare, moving to the topic of the post - the DTB cover - there are a few things to consider, and if I had to give my (outsider's) opinion on this, my thought is that Geoff wasn’t being lazy when he did this. Having worked with Dev before, I know that he knows what he wants, and doesn’t settle. When he sees it, and it’s perfect, that’s all that matters. If a picture says what he wants it to, I don’t think he’d be overly concerned where it came from. I mean as far as it being a stock photo or not. Also, I assume he was given a few things to look at and choose from and this was one of them. It probably struck him a certain way and that was it. I would imagine (hope) he knew it was stock at the beginning to avoid something like this popping up negatively later on, but imagine that where it came from was seconday to it’s being the right vision in the first place. It’s a good looking picture, and
    probably speaks for the music very well, or else it wouldn’t be there. It is also my understanding that the cover is a small part of the overall picture, so we’ll see how it all fits in.

    In this particular case, the only negative i see right off hand is the release itself being a bit overshadowed (precursored?) by this little cotroversy, if I may call it such. I’ll be anxiously awaiting it nonetheless.
     
  4. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    Excellent post, Trav. Thanks.
     
  5. Seems like Trav

    Seems like Trav No Such Thing

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    I'll probably add some things for clarity later, and need to fix some typos in it.
     
  6. Rex

    Rex Member

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    For what my opinion matters, I totally agree with Travis on all points. I try to always use my own photography whenever possible. Once in a while I'll use something that's not my own, but its very rare and I totally understand where Travis is coming from when he talks about it "being all his own" and feeling more of a sense of accomplishment when completed.

    But with all that said, when its made for a client and the client has something in their mind and is set on something, sometimes all you can do to meet the client's wishes is to use stock photography.
     
  7. Joel-RZ

    Joel-RZ Member

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    Great question Eyesore and a wonderfully thought out and interesting response Trav. I agree that if you go to a specific artist you most likely will want what they are capable of doing. There is absolutely no way I would go to someone like Trav, who obviously puts his heart into each piece he does, and not let them kinda run with the ball.
    Very interesting read!
     
  8. batmura

    batmura Sea of Tranquility

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    Hey Eyesore,

    Do you know if Devin knew it was a stock photo before he picked it? Did Geoff inform him and is the original photographer going to be credited in the liner notes?

    Thanks!
     
  9. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    That I do not know. I can assume Devin would have asked Geoff about the pic, it's a pretty stunning photograph. I can't imagine anyone just going, "Oh, that's cool!" and not ask where it was taken. You never know, though. We'll just have to wait and see.
     
  10. --

    -- ---

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    if i were a stock photographer, i imagine i would be flattered for someone to use a pic.

    it seems like stock has a lot strings attached, which are maybe different for every stock artist? seeing how a stock photo, or for that matter any image, is complete in itself, owned by the artist for whatever purposes such as prints, etc. and then you can slap a logo on it and sell it again. or again. add that to parody and iconographic images and of course money and it's all very messy.

    as a consumer i dont think i would care who or how it was made it as long as it looks cool. yet DTB could have pink polka dot cds and still be awesome.
     
  11. FUBAR

    FUBAR Member

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    I don't get it. Where's the merit in using someone else's art barley touching it then passing it off as your own. :erk:
     
  12. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    You haven't a clue as to whether or not Geoff has done this. I'm assuming you didn't read this entire thread before you made this ignorant comment?
     
  13. FUBAR

    FUBAR Member

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    Ok I guess that could come across as a little ignorant. No disrespect to Geoff he's an awesome artist. His website clearly shows his unique talent. But Geoff didn't take the photo did he? I dunno...its just he should credit the person who took it as the main desinger really because all he did was put the DTB logo by the tree...didn't he?
     
  14. Rex

    Rex Member

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    Does Geoff have a website? I'd like to see his other stuff.
     
  15. FUBAR

    FUBAR Member

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  16. Rex

    Rex Member

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    wow, I just joined the HevyDevy forums and read through that 12 page topic. LOL I've NEVER seen a thread go on that long just off of one cover. :tickled:
     
  17. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    Geoff actually PAID for a different photo apparently, better quality or whatever. I'm assuming he will credit the person who took the photo. You're jumping to conclusions.
     
  18. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    There's a little history there. When Geoff started really working with Devin there was some jealousy from other people who'd also been working with Devin, fans helping out, etc. But Devin apparently liked Geoff's work better, so it turned into this huge flame war. I basically stayed out of it as I was generally away from a computer around that time, but animosity is still held against Geoff. The person that started all the negative comments about Geoff in that thread was a person that was involved in the previous "war."

    I've known Geoff online for years now, he's always been kind and friendly and a huge fan of Devin, so I posed the question here and at other sites to get thoughts from outsiders to try and quell the negativity in that thread. I was hoping Travis was going to be like, "Yeah, I use stock all the time!" Hahaha. That would have shut them up quick.

    Oh well, it's past now, but it was a bit annoying. Especially the people that just joined when the album leaked and start posting about how they're NOT going to download it, blah-blah-blah! Yet, they joined for what? Just to say that or to get a link to download the album? =)
     
  19. Seems like Trav

    Seems like Trav No Such Thing

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    I musta missed that flame war, but as far as people go, I guess that kind of thing is expected.

    For me, working with Dev was something special, and I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't bummed about not continuing to, but it's nothing I'd flame someone for. Dev doesn't like to do the same thing all the time and he's always looking for variety and the next thing to say what he feels should be said, wherever it may be. A different trip now and again, if you will.

    Geoff has a good opportunity here and has obviously impressed Dev in the right way so more power to him.

    I think (assume) what fubar was trying to say (or referring to - correct me if i'm wrong) was when the cover was posted and everyone was praising Geoff after someone credited him and I think some were disappointed to find it was a stock piece. I guess. Maybe it didn't seem as individual to them after seeing all the other people downloading it and doing stuff with it. I don't know.

    As far as the stock thing, I have my views on it but I'm not gonna get into a big thing over it. As I said before, It's not really the thing for me, but I'm not gonna preach to anyone about it.
     
  20. Rex

    Rex Member

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    For something like this, my take on it would be, as long as he gives the original photographer photo credit (whether he paid for the image or not) in the liner notes, its totally fine with me for him to put his name as the cover artist.

    But I'm not entirely sure he's being upfront about paying for it. The image on the Deviantart site you linked too above is a high res 300dpi version that he could just as easily have gotten it from and used. We'll just have to take his word for it that he did, but it doesn't make any sense for it to be free to use on site from the original photographer, and then have to pay for the same thing on another site. Something just doesn't add up to me. But it's not my call or place to point fingers or point out this or that, it's not going to change anything in the long run.

    It's still a great looking cover regardless of how it came together. I guess what people are up in arms about is the integrety of it all.
     

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