Person doesn't want their photo shown

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by samantha marble, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I took a photo of a friend a few years ago after she came to my home after leaving the emergency room. The photo is not flattering but is an honest and strikingly sad portrait, something along the lines of a Nan Goldin. At the time I took it I had her verbal permission. I love this photo and have had it in my portfolio and on my website for some time. My friend asked me to take it down because it brings back bad memories for her. She also said that she wanted some sort of document stating that it won't be used again. I don't mind doing this because she is my friend, however, I may want to use for a show abroad or in my portfolio. I've been complimented on this photo by a lot of artists and I feel attached to it. I feel like as long as it's not in her face I should have the right to use it, not to sell but to show as an example of my work. I'm I breaking any laws?
     
  2. Does it matter if you're breaking any laws (you're probably not). But - does disregarding the wishes of your "friend" matter to you? You say you're attached to the photo. How attached are you to the person in it?
     
  3. Take it down and don't use it.
     
  4. Laws do vary by state, and though I am no lawyer, I would say that displaying anyone's likeness without their WRITTEN consent could get you into trouble (if the image was captured in a public venue and there wasn't an expectation of privacy that's different, but if this image was captured in her/your home, or your studio, there probably IS some expectation of privacy there for the subject).
    You can capture another striking portrait with the flick of a shutter - it takes a whole lot longer than that to capture another friend. I say you don't use the image, and as a show of good faith, give the original file/negative to her as proof that you won't use it anymore ...
     
  5. She also said that she wanted some sort of document stating that it won't be used again.​
    At which point I'd tell the person to bugger off.
     
  6. I had pictues of a friends wedding on my website until she got divorced and asked me to take them down. I took them down.
     
  7. I would say that displaying anyone's likeness without their WRITTEN consent could get you into trouble​
    How could the photo industry, as we know it, exist if this were true?
    but if this image was captured in her/your home, or your studio, there probably IS some expectation of privacy there for the subject​
    How could being in a studio or elsewhere allowing one's picture be taken (as in "I had her... ...permission) amount to an expectation of privacy?
    Plain ole' common sense suggests otherwise on these things.
    As to the original poster, hopefully your friend won't run a Google search one day that brings them to this thread.
     
  8. Breaking any laws, possibly no (unless you try to sell the image for commercial use). Breaking a friend's trust most certainly yes.
    Talk to her, without any pressure, and see what she says. Then, if she does not agree, take it down.
     
  9. Trust, Marios?
    She also said that she wanted some sort of document stating that it won't be used again.​
    I'm with Dennis on this one, although I'd stop using the photo as well.
     
  10. Talk to her, without any pressure, and see what she says.​
    Having already requested to "take it down because it brings back bad memories" and to get "some sort of document stating that it won't be used again" speaks rather clearly as to what she ' says'. Further inquiries will, itself, amount to 'pressure'.
     
  11. It was taken in your home, she knew you are a photographer, and she verbally agreed at the time to be photographed. What's not to understand? It's not illegal as long as you don't use it for commercial purposes. Removing and never using the photo will not change her memories of the time. And it reflects who she was and how she felt at the time. And if she changes her mind later? If you want it in your portfolio as the quality of your work, she has no rights or leverage outside your friendship. Personally, I'd say sorry, it's my decision if I choose to display it.
     
  12. I would honor her request and stop using it, but not provide a document.
     
  13. Samantha -
    If you value her friendship - take it down, remove from your portfolio and don't print / use it in a show here or aboard. I would go the extra step and provide her with a document saying that for as long as she is alive - I will not use, show, display, sell or print that image.
    She has made her wishes clear - no need to ask to reconsider.
    Legally - probably not much she can do - but friendship is more important sometimes than being "right".
    Dave
     
  14. Didn't you say FRIEND?
    If you're a good photographer, you'll take your camera out and make more great photos.
    I got told by a certain photographer (after I paid him for a wedding day shoot of myself and friends) "I own the copyright, so I can do whatever I want with the photos" (including posting them on facebook and using some for his own website which showcases his work). Unfortunately, Ireland has a lot of legal grey areas. The best I might be able to do is go to his gig on Saturday night and throw bottles at him.
     
  15. Don't use it. A single photo shouln't be that critical, if your portfolio is that weak get to work!
     
  16. Someone who is among the greatest photographers in the world has plenty of photos to show without offending any subject. We who are not in that elite group can at least make minor sacrifices to be decent humans if not great photographers. Therefore, there should never be a selfish reason to deny anyone a written promise to never display a photo that might cause pain.
     
  17. Believe me, better pictures will come in time. If you still wish to keep the friendship, you know what to do. I doubt I will do that written agreement thing though.
     
  18. You should GLADLY honor the request. My best guess would be that your intial response to the request wasn't so positive or there would be no written request.
     
  19. I think this thread should serve as a lesson to people to never let a "professional" photographer snap you in a candid pose (or any pose for that matter).
     
  20. Personally, I'd take it down, I would stop publishing any photo that a person asks me to not publish (for any reason).
    I hate say it, but the asking for documentation is a red flag for me. Could mean that the person has been harboring resentment for some time and let it become a less than civil issue for her. Or it points to a basic lack of trust. Either way I would set aside some time to talk to her. Hope it works out for you.
     
  21. I'm with Matt... There's more to this story. If my "friend" asked me not to show an image, I would not. However, I do not expect a "friend" to demand it in writing. I don't think you're going to win either way here, but the best thing is to take it down.
     
  22. I join the crowd asking whether friendship is not more dearly acquired than a photograph? I don't get why there is even an issue. Granted, it is odd that your friend wants something in writing, but hey, it takes all kinds to make a world.
     
  23. I do not expect a "friend" to demand it in writing.
    it is odd that your friend wants something in writing​
    Perhaps. but, we do have someone here discussing how they have no problem agreeing with the request yet considering going behind the friends back and show the image to others when they think the friend won't know.
     
  24. A friend would do a friend a favor and take down the photo. Go out an take some different photos if you want to post something for all the world to see.
     
  25. Take it down.
    It's a friend.
    Take it down.
     
  26. It's a no win scenario. Take down the photo, give the document, and most important... don't lose sleep over it. You're worth more than your photos or friends. Hope this works out for you, but remember that not all friendships are mean to last.
    On the other hand, you might have a chat and get to know exactly what's the bother. It might simply be a misunderstanding of different viewpoints and assumptions...
     
  27. Her privacy was clearly not violated when you made the photograph. She was on your property. The only legal right to privacy we have when we're guests on someone's property is the sort of privacy we expect when disrobing. A homeowner's security camera can legally photograph guests when they ring your doorbell, but not when they use the bathroom. From your post I can't see how her right to privacy was legally breached. All you did was record – with her full knowledge – an intimate moment in her life. In the U.S. I beleive you have every legal right to display and sell the photograph for non-commercial use.
    What kind of friend would request a written document? Is your art more important than that sort of friendship? Each artist will answer for themselves.
    I do wonder why your right of expression is less important than her request to comply with her change of mind? Who is forcing her to look at the photograph? Even if you destroy every copy of your art, she still knows what the photograph looks like. She is not respecting you as a friend or as an artist.
    Your decision has nothing to do with ethics. Ethics is a code of behavior a group of people agree to uphold to benefit the group. This situation simply requires you to prioritize: artistic expression or friendship. Your friend is forcing you to choose which one is more important to you. She has the right to ask... which obliges you to make a decision. If you decide to continue to display the photograph, then you will have to explain to your friend how you came to that decision.
    If you are in the USA and your friend becomes an enemy and sues, I know of no precedent for her to succeed. I can't imagine an attorney would take her case (unless she is wealthy and can afford a frivolous suit). Of course, I confidently assume that you have never used this photograph to defame her.
    Do you have commercial liability insurance? If you decide not to comply with your friend's request it would be prudent to discuss the legal aspects with an attorney. If you have liability insurance, then I believe getting an opinion from an attorney will help establish your right to insurance in the worst case scenario. Have you displayed any of your work in art shows on a regular basis? If so, you have credibility as an artist.
     
  28. Jeez...
    Learn the art of letting go.
     
  29. it

    it

    Really.
    If someone doesn't want you to use their photo, don't use it. You'll live.
     
  30. Thank you all for your responses. I did take down the photo. It didn't come down sooner because I had someone else programming my site but once I figured out how to do it myself it came down. I just wanted to see if I was breaking any laws and to get all of your opinions because I felt torn. I would never use it for commercial use. Its not that kind of photo. Again, thank you all for your responses.
     
  31. What kind of friend would request a written document?​
    The kind who no longer trusts the other friend. Considering the discussion about using the image even if assurances are given that it won't be used, such mistrust seems well justified.
    Who is forcing her to look at the photograph?​
    Nobody. Which is irrelevant. The issue is about others looking at the image.
    Even if you destroy every copy of your art, she still knows what the photograph looks like.​
    Which, again, is irrelevant. Indeed, knowing of its destruction would address the actual issue.
    Your decision has nothing to do with ethics. Ethics is a code of behavior a group of people agree to uphold to benefit the group.​
    Even if that were an accurate description, the "behavior" and societal norms include interactions with single individuals including those between two friends.
    Your friend is forcing you to choose which one is more important to you.​
    The poster is forcing the friend to choose as well and, given the responses here, it is a most unfriendly posture.
     

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