Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Don’t Steal This Picture

Apparently I have both modeled for and taken one of the more popular fetish-art images floating around on the web, and at the time, I had no idea I’d done it.

It was several years ago, and I was deep in a self-portrait phase with my photography. I often said that I was my own best model – I worked for free, I was always available when I wanted to shoot, and I always understood the look I was going for. And having modeled for other people a fair amount, I understood how to hold my body for the best effect. The camera I was using back then didn’t have a remote release, so I was forced to use the ten-second timer. Ten seconds is not a lot of time to get from in back of a camera to in front of the lens and into a pose, but I did wind up getting some good images. (And while I really like film, the nice thing about digital is that you just delete the ones that suck.) It took some effort to get good shots, but it was a very educational process for me.

And thus one night, I was shooting in our dining room, which has wood floors and these cool pocket doors, and I thought I’d try some single-light techniques with them. I did a bunch of different poses, but this is the keeper from that session.

Now, I used to call this the “here come the aliens!” picture. Or else, “the X-files shot”. I suppose one might even read a religious undertone to this, someone “seeing the light”, or something like that. Doors and windows are a constant theme in a lot of my images. But I actually didn’t take it intending to suggest a submissive woman. If I’d wanted that, I would have used a second model, say, opening the doors or something. And I would have posed in a more traditionally submissive way - hands behind the back, and head down.

I have never posted it on any BDSM site. It originally went up for artistic and technical critique (without the red text) on, a very serious photography site where I used to hang around. But apparently I wasn't the only kinkster there, and it must read like a female-submissive image to everyone but me, because I swear, not a week goes by that I don’t get an email from some kind and honorable person telling me they saw this image on someone else’s fetish-oriented website.

I will usually go scold the person in question and quote copyright law to them, and try to badger them into taking my picture down, because, hey, that’s my art, and that’s my body, and you didn’t ask me for permission. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Short of hiring a lawyer to send them a cease-and-desist letter, there's little I can really do.

It’s especially annoying when some woman is using the image in such a way that strongly suggests it’s a picture of her – like in a personal ad. Hey lady, you get to the gym three times a week and run five miles and then you take a picture of your own naked butt, okay? I earned that behind and I don't like having other people use it to troll for dates.

Lately I haven’t had time to follow up on all the image-thief sightings, although rest assured, I appreciate the information, and it does annoy me when people steal images. I just wish I had a dollar for every perve who’s using this picture without permission. I had no idea what a monster I was creating.

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