Gustavo Alfaro Photography

The thoughts and works of a random picture taker. :)

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Weighing in on the whole Pinterest thing

Earlier tonight a friend asked me what I thought about this lawyer chick going off on the whole Pinterest terms of agreement (TOA) so I figured I would take what I wrote her and post it in here in a blog for those that cared to read it.

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This seems to be a huge topic of debate among photographers and artists in general.

If you had asked me this over a year ago I would have said I would have found out who did it and sued them all.  :)  Today, however, my tune is of a different nature.

With the internet the way it is currently, it has become a necessary evil to post what you have on sites like facebook and pinterest.  As a result, the images will be traded, picked, posted, pinned, and even “stolen.”  With the internet being what it is – the freest of free enterprising tool – keeping these things from happening is super hard.  Once it’s out there, it’s there forever.  No if, ands, or buts, they’re there and not going anywhere.

If you were around in the first days of facebook, they had the exact same debate.  The result: facebook changed it’s TOA and people “felt” a little safer.  Then they opened it to regions, again, same issue.  Changed TOA again, and people “felt” safer.  Now, facebook is changing YET AGAIN and people are freaking.  They’ll change the TOA and people will feel safer.

My point is that the same thing will happen with Pinterest.  They will change their TOA and people will feel safer with no real basis than the black and white wording on a digital screen that no one reads unless you’re a lawyer/photographer.

So, my thoughts are currently like this:

You’re an artist.  Art is meant to be shared.  I can’t keep people from downloading my work from FB, but I can put my name on it and my own credits.  I can even lower resolution to an un-usable level since FB is going to change it anyway.  I can even police FB (like I used to do a year ago) and make people take photos down.  Realistically that’s not possible.  With my schedule and financial level I cannot afford that in time or money.  So, instead of fighting the oceanic tides of the global internet where nothing is sacred or safe, ride them.  Surf as you can and make something good out of it!  Share your art, get your name out, and ride the waves! :)

However, when I do see something I do not condone (like just yesterday) I contact the individual and/or facebook or whatever blog site, diplomatically ask for a resolution and generally people acquiesce to my requests.  Sometimes they do not and I’m forced to report them.  Then they’re taken down and people will be reprimanded.

Ask me again in a year and I’m sure my opinion will change. :)

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera. They are made with the eye, heart and head.

- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Nothing makes a woman look so old as trying desperately hard to look young.

- Chanel

If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.

- Bruce Lee

Picasso taught me to run faster than beauty. He who runs less fast than beauty will accomplish only something mediocre. As for him who runs faster than beauty, his work will seem ugly, but he forces beauty to join it and then, once joined, it will become beautiful for good.

- Jean Cocteau

Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know — because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly… And when I got it it turned to dust in my hands.

- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.

- Edward Weston

THE CLAW HAND!!! STOP IT!

There’s nothing, NOTHING like looking at a wonderfully lit, well composed, and engaging photo, that has good lines…till you get to the broken wrist around the shoulder/face area.  This is what I call the “claw” or THE CREEPER HAND!

It sucks.  It really does.  It speaks VOLUMES about the fauxtographer and the model.  Either the fauxtographer is snapping away and not paying attention to the composition and pose of each photograph, or the model is not paying attention to what’s going on with his/her body.  Or both.  Either way, it’s not a recipe for success.

Why is it so bad?

Well, think about it for a moment.  Take a sheet of paper and draw a curved line on that sheet of paper with a pencil, pen, whatever…or you can imagine it like you are right now.  Then, at the end of that curved line put a 70 degree angle.  Then…stop.  Just leave it.  Don’t do anything else to it.  Look at it…look at it…anything look off about that?  Yep.  Looks like someone smacked your arm and caused you to draw a straight line when you were meant to draw a circle.

Now, think about a person…

Generally a person’s arm bends, yes? Yes.  It bends here and there, but even when it bends – most times – it has a nice curve and good lines, right? Right.  Ok.  So now imagine a model in front of you with a nice, gently curved line from their shoulder to their elbow and then BAM the arm doubles back and the wrist bends bringing the hand back to the shoulder and the fingers immediately look straight and tense.  What the…what happened to the nice lines?!  That, my friends, is the claw hand.  That, fauxtographers, SUCKS.

It screams that no one is paying attention and it doesn’t look attractive at all, plain and simple.  Just doesn’t. It looks like they’re in pain, actually.  See this photo?

Not mine

There are some times when it works.  If you can make an effortless line/circle with your hand/arm position and it blends well into the photograph, or have turned your body to the camera in such a way to negate the effects the claw, then it MIGHT work, but in reality, just don’t do it if you can keep from it.

And to the layman, if you ever find yourself looking at a photo and going “something about this just doesn’t look right,” look at their hand position.  That’s first and foremost.

That’s all for today.  This has been a Gustavo Alfaro Photography PSA.  Now you know and knowing is half the battle.  The other half is blue and red lasers.

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See my work on my website.

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Author’s Note:

Image is not mine and I claim no ownership to it. It was found on google and used to illustrate a point.  Artist: Unknown.

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