Music Photographer David James Swanson on Building a Career

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All images by David James Swanson. Used with permission.

David James Swanson has been a professional photographer in NYC since 2007. Before this, he was in a band and used to do the photos all by himself. Then one day he met up with Terry Richardson and the famous photographer photographed David’s band. When David began to get more into photography, he started out by assisting Terry. After a while, he became Jack White’s (from the White Stripes) tour photographer. Most recently, he teamed up with the Impossible project after the company collaborated with White’s label.

David has stories and quotes for days–and we had the opportunity to talk to him very recently about all this and his feelings on Instagram versus a tangible photo.

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Three Days Grace’s Tour Manager Claims Photographers Should Feel Privileged to Take Bands’ Pictures

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Yesterday, we reported about the éclat caused by American alternative band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, after they had used a photograph taken during one of their gigs without the photographer’s permission. Not only wasn’t the photographer properly credited when the band uploaded the picture to its Facebook page, the image was also cropped so as not to show the photographer’s watermark, and it was heavily edited. All of this combines to one grave case of copyright infringement.

However, instead of acknowledging their wrongdoing, the band instead publicly shamed the photographer for asking them to either pay a licensing fee, or take the image down. In the end, their attempt at bullying a photographer out of his legal rights failed miserably, and the band was forced to publicly apologize to the photographer. But instead of realizing what they had done wrong, they went on to state that they believe “most forms of DIGITAL art should be FREE!”

Photographers’ copyrights not being respected, and their work not being valued, is an old story and sadly a recurring theme, and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus weren’t the first to display such an arrogant and neglectful behaviour. Unfortunately, they also weren’t (and won’t be) the last. In what seems to be a direct reaction to the RJA incident, the tour manager of the rock band Three Days Grace, Shawn Hamm, now also weighed in on the matter, again downplaying the role of the photographer in concert photography.

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Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Uses Photographer’s Photo Without Permission

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American alternative band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus couldn’t have handled a copyright infringement any worse than if they had defecated on Sydney-based photographer Rohan Anderson’s backyard themselves.

The whole ordeal started with a single square filtered image. Sometime yesterday, RJA posted a photo on their Facebook, which immediately acquired likes in the hundreds. This photo was shot taken by Anderson in Sydney in 2013 during an RJA show.

Anderson admits in his blog post about the drama that it’s not uncommon for bands he’s photographed to use his photos without permission; but he points out that he usually lets those go because they give him credit and thank him for it. Unfortunately this time around, not only did RJA completely forgot to give him credit for the photo in question, they also cropped the original image (and thus removing his watermark) and added some sort of photo filter. To add insult to injury, the photo’s quality was greatly reduced.

This, of course, hit a nerve, as it would any artist whose work has been altered and used without permission. So Anderson emailed the band, informing them of the copyright violation and asking them to either take the image down or pay for its use.

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Dove Releases Photoshop Action That Undoes Retouching Work

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Dove has pushed their real beauty campaign really hard as of recent, and it has now reached the Photoshopping stage. The company has now announced that they are responsible for posting a beautify action on Reddit that is supposed to make a person’s skin glow. However, what they’re saying it now actually does is undo the effects of retouching. Funny enough, the user also already deleted their account–and it goes to show the company’s social media team applying total disregard to understand how the social sharing site works as they didn’t even care to cross-post it to /R/Photography, the largest of the photography-related subreddits (one of which I’m an admin for.)

Editor’s Clarification: I’m not the admin of the /R/Photography Sub-Reddit. Rather, there are many sub-reddits based on photography as a subject itself. I’m an admin for one of those channels.

For those not familiar with the campaign, Real Beauty focuses on accepting women the way they are and look and often shows ads of said real women. They’re not the only ones against retouching though–Israel now bans ads showing underweight models and that also contains a clause saying that advertisers must clearly state that an image has been retouched.

This begs the question of what many women who want their images retouched (such as brides at weddings, models, actresses, and others) have to say about the action. Sure, it is more a social issue at hand–but to each their own as well.

Via Mashable


Useful Photography Tip #3: Finding Inspiration For a Music Shoot

Inspiration has many sources. Sometimes it comes easily, leading or even creating the photo shoot. Other times it’s like pulling teeth. Fortunately when doing a music shoot someone’s already done some of the work for you – the musician. Whenever I get a call to do an album cover the first thought is to ask what the band name and album title are and to send me the music.

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