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What are the issues involved in photographing a sculpture. If I posted (without remuneration) a photo of a sculpture that someone else sculpted, can I claim the photo as my own. There is some non-sculptural detail like bakground, foreground, snow, etc.. What do you think?

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I know what you mean, Don. When I take a picture of somebody else's art - how can I realistically claim it as my own? At best, I feel that I have captured some of what the original artist intended. Extra details like snow and other contectual stuff help somewhat - but this very dilemma is making me less and less happy about photographing artwork.

But where do you draw the line? How about architecture? I guess that is why I feel happiest when I do some radical post processing or when I do a composite.

I suppose landscapes are fair game as long as they are not somebody's garden...
Or people. You don't own them either. I suppose I could research the name of the sculptor and make sure i mention it in the title.
I think the skill of the photographer comes into play. Like a beautiful model - we can't claim that we created her, but we can shoot her in a way that brings out the best. Given a particular subject - person, statue, building - a less skilled photographer might only produce a mediocre shot that no one would notice.

Yes, people might say "wow" because the subject is fantastic, but I believe the photographer has a large part in extracting that "wow" from the viewer's lips... Big Grin
What about the railings. They are someones handiwork and they may take ofence.Big Grin
Tricky subject. My wife brought home a camera magazine and in it was an article on Photographers legal rights. Whooo! some subject. Kids, airfields, military stuff, bridges in china.Sad
I'm so used to your post processing that this would look like three actual women sitting in the smow.Big Grin
It is a very realistic sculpture (not my fault).
If you take a picture of someone leses copyrighted work then profit from your photo, you are liable for copyright infringement... you are if you take the picture anyway... but less likely to be pursued if it's in a non profit capacity.
I don't think that's legally the case Craig... at least not in Australia or the US as far as I know. Not sure about Don in Canada, but I'd be surprised if it were different in this regard.

I know that in spirit the copyright laws are designed to prevent duplication of intellectual property as you say.. but things get very murky when the work changes form (ie a photograph is NOT a sculpture), and there are many specific laws to address these issues.

Andrew Nemeth Wrote:[Regarding Australian law,] no part of the Copyright Act prohibits photography! Instead copyright only applies to the duplication of original works, such as books, prints, paintings, drawings, motion pictures, DVDs, audio recordings etc.

So taking a photograph of a three dimensional object, such as a building or statue or interior space (and the people in them), can never be in breach of Copyright, as the image is not a duplication of the original work, but merely a rendering of a 3D entity into two dimensions. The only way to infringe the copyright of a building or other 3D object, is to create a sufficiently similar 3D copy. This photography cannot yet do :?)

Moreover, a building or 3D space can be photographed an infinite number of ways; copyright law only applies to the protection of specific instances of authored works. This applies even in the USA (likewise failed attempts to trademark the The Rock Hall of Fame, or the Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach golf course).

Don, according to that article (and assuming your local laws are comparable) then you can go for your life if it is located on public land or private land with no photography restrictions. You can probably even sell the photo if you wanted.
If you sat down and made a 3D duplicate of the sculpture then you might be in trouble, but taking a photo of it should be no problem legally. Of course this doesn't answer your ethical question... but the answer to that is a personal choice. Do what your conscience tells you I guess.
Personally I'd have no problem in taking such a photo, but I would question its merit based on how much I had contributed to it. It might still be a nice photo, but if I didn't add any of my own creative spice to the mix then it isn't really my nice photo.
Thanks Kombi. That is helpful.
A couple of nights ago, at my evaluation group (a small gathering from my photography club) someone submitted an image showing a head-and-shoulders portrait of a full-body statue. He was cautioned that while the image was well done, he shouldn't enter it into a club clinic or competition, as it would be barred for plagiarism.

While it doesn't deal directly with copyright and legality, there's also the question of propriety to deal with. I personally use the test of, "Does it add anything new" to the other person's artwork. If it doesn't, I don't take the picture.

In this specific case, as it's showing the environment and elements that exist around the sculpture, I'd have no problem with it.