Photostealing and head fakes

Posted on Wednesday 3 September 2008

Via memeorandum this morning, I see that a “photo” of Sarah Palin in a bikini has surfaced.

Or not. But that’s not going to keep people from pushing it out there.

One would think that a little common sense would have grown some legs in this brave new technology world… but nope. As of right now, a google search surfaces 78,500 91,300 hits for the term “sarah palin bikini” — and that’s bound to grow. And no, it isn’t just because of politics. Sorry, right-leaning bloggers. Some folks just get their kicks salivating over “racy” photos.

But putting on my photographer cap for just a moment… this is part of a much larger problem. You think there are a lot of google searches for the faked bikini photo? Ha! Try well over a million hits for “photo stealing flickr“. It’s a HUGE problem. There are even instructions out there on how to hack around protections.

Most of the complaints come up around people claiming others’ photography as their own original work (or lifting / posting without attribution), but compiling licensed images that aren’t yours without permission is also crossing a legal line.

Polimom’s work also includes some photoshopped images. Here, for instance:

Rocks and wind

And here:

Diving lessons

It can be a lot of fun — but I don’t use somebody else’s work to do it. It’s unprofessional, uncivil, and downright disrespectful — and not just toward the original photographer.

Or didn’t you think there was a flesh-and-blood woman out there somewhere, watching photographs of her body flash around the ‘net, attached to somebody else’s head?

Added: A post on the politics of photo manipulation, here.

    September 5, 2008 | 10:00 pm

    Not related to the point at all, but the diving picture still strikes me as amongst the best manipulations I’ve seen yet.

    September 6, 2008 | 7:00 am

    Hi Therese — thanks very much! It looks much more complicated than it actually was…


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