I read a story today about a dispute between a model and a photographer. Disputes between models and artists are not all that uncommon, but this one involved an art competition so it caught my interest. The model claims that the photographer entered a photograph involving him into the competition without permission. Apparently the model was upset because he is nude in the image and feels that he is being punished for something he did when he was ‘young and wild‘. The contract/release between the model and photographer-- if there even was one-- may not be an issue as far as the competition is concerned. However, the fact that the model claims that the competition entry that included him was created over a decade ago is an issue. That information is important because the competition clearly stated in the rules that all entries must have been created in the last year. If the claim is true that would mean that the entry is fraudulent.
There is more to this story. The model-- perhaps out of spite-- is calling for the photographer, who won a top slot in the competition with the photograph in question, to be stripped of his award. If the photographer knowingly violated the terms of the competition that may very well be the solution. However, the facts are not out yet on this story and the competition rules were not exactly clear in the article. Thus, I’m hesitant to mention names because of that lack of information. I can’t say that someone is guilty until I know the facts, right?
For example, what if the photographer-- depending on what the rules implied and the understanding the photographer had of said rules-- simply photographed one of his old photographs? If the rules simply stated that the work itself, as in the creation of the photograph and not what is depicted in the photograph, must be no more than a year old would an act like that be considered cheating? Would it be an exploitation of the rules? Or should it be considered a legitimate new work of art if that is the case? After all, in that scenario the new photograph may very well fall into the accepted time line, correct? That said, the facts surrounding this dispute, based on the article I observed, are not exactly clear.
This story caused me to reflect on two concerns. The first being the rights of models with or without a contract/release and the second being the fact that some artists are willing to cheat or manipulate rules in order to help their chances in art competitions-- artists that practice the art of cheating, so to speak. If an art photograph of a nude person from years ago harms the reputation of that person today how should it be handled in your opinion? If there is proof that an artists has ‘cheated’ or manipulated the system, so to speak, in an art competition how should that be handled by the competition sponsors or others involved with the artist-- such as the gallery representing the artist? Should the artist be widely exposed for his or her deception? Should legal action be taken? What are your thoughts on these issues?
Take care, Stay true,