Photographer sued by subject over long-distance street shot

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike Henley, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. Mike Henley

    Mike Henley Guest

    Philip-Lorca diCorcia is being sued by an Orthodox Jewish man that he
    photographed in 2001, as part of his Heads (

    "DiCorcia rigged strobe lights to scaffolding and trained his lens
    on an "X" he taped to the sidewalk. From 20 feet away, he took shots of
    Nussenzweig and thousands of other unsuspecting subjects. Later that
    year, diCorcia exhibited this image under the title "#13" at a Pace
    Wildenstein gallery show called "Heads" in Chelsea. The photographer
    said multiple prints of Nussenzweig's picture sold for about $20,000
    each. The picture also was published in "Heads," a book that sold
    several thousand copies, diCorcia said.

    Now Nussenzweig, a retired diamond merchant from New Jersey, is
    snapping back at diCorcia - and at the right of photographers to
    secretly grab pictures on the street and sell them - by suing him,
    Pace Wildenstein, publisher Pace/MacGill and unnamed distributors and
    sellers of the image and the book.

    "We claim that to take someone's picture without their consent is
    bad enough," said Jay Goldberg, Nussenzweig's lawyer. "But to then hang
    the picture in galleries, put it in books and sell it around the city
    without telling the person or obtaining permission is unfair and
    Mike Henley, Jul 2, 2005
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  2. Mike Henley

    Scott W Guest

    To take the photographs might be bad but likely not breaking any laws,
    to use the photographs for commercial use with out the subjects consent
    is a real no, no and the photographer is likely going to be paying out
    some money.

    Scott W, Jul 2, 2005
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  3. Mike Henley

    Craig Flory Guest

    I applaud the diamond merchant ! You cannot sell images of someone without a
    signed model release.
    Craig Flory
    Craig Flory, Jul 2, 2005
  4. Mike Henley

    Mike Henley Guest

    I personally think there ought to be a revision of the law or rules
    over this point. This is ludicrous. This photograph demonstrates why -
    imagine had a TV corporation shot a city crowd scene, say for a program
    about diversity or such, would it have been required of them to trace
    back each individual in the footage and get their consent?

    I doubt it. I've seen plenty of those on TV, and there's plenty of
    money in TV. Where do you draw the line?

    I think there ought to be plenty of instances where if you can see
    someone in public, you can photograph them. Art is in your sight, as an
    artist, and they are merely lines and tones, created by nature. I
    sincerely think that if you can see them in a public space, you ought
    to be able to photograph what you see. All the rest is man-made

    Upskirt shots and the like though are bad for obvious reasons. If you
    trespass on their private space, if you plant a camera in their homes,
    if you look where you violate the norms of public conduct, then there
    might be an issue. Besides that, if I can see it, and others of the
    public can see it, then I should be able to photograph it too.
    Mike Henley, Jul 2, 2005
  5. Mike Henley

    Belgos Guest

    IMO it's not that simple. If I don't want to see my face on a gallery
    wall/tv screen/newspaper etc, I don't want to see it. Period. If I am asked
    for my permission, I may or I may not give it, I would always like to have
    that choice. Wouldn't you ? I don't know if the person of the story is after
    making money from the lawsuit, (a Jew ex diamind merchant probably would
    have enough already ;-)) but it's his right to keep his face to himself, as
    it is yours and mine and everybody's.
    I like candids too, but I agree with the necessity of the release form, at
    least if you are serious (or spotted :) ).
    With upskirts you won't get a consent in any case, so it misses the point
    here. You don't need a permission if what you're doing is illegal/privacy
    invading, anyway.

    Belgos, Jul 2, 2005
  6. Mike Henley

    johnboy Guest

    In what country? Citation please?
    johnboy, Jul 2, 2005
  7. Mike Henley

    johnboy Guest

    It's not about you. It is about the concept of public spaces. Be there at
    your own risk.
    johnboy, Jul 2, 2005
  8. Isn't there a difference between crowd shots and a close up photo of a
    clearly recognizable face?

    I don't know what the law says about this, but IMO ethics should have driven
    the photographer to ask the subjects if he could use them for galleries,
    books etc.
    Claus P. Hastrup, Jul 2, 2005
  9. Mike Henley

    Neil Gould Guest

    (the rest snipped for brevity)

    At least in the US, wasn't this settled ages ago, when it was determined
    that people in public places can have no reasonable expectation of
    privacy? If not, why aren't all the papparazi sued for every shot they

    Frankly, I doubt that this will get to court, but if it did, I'd expect it
    to get thrown out.

    Neil Gould, Jul 2, 2005
  10. Mike Henley

    Kitt Guest

  11. Mike Henley

    Mike Henley Guest

    Bah! An orthodox old jewish retired diamond merchant is one who'd never
    let go of a single dollar; never let a guy like this feel ripped off
    even for change!

    Comically, he numbered his picture #13! It proved to be his unlucky one
    Mike Henley, Jul 2, 2005
    Journalist-North, Jul 2, 2005
  13. But how does it hurt him? - Unless he can prove that some damage was done, I
    don't see how he can collect anything. Certainly, I wouldn't give him
    anything if it were up to me. As a matter of fact, he might get other
    modeling jobs, now that he's famous as "that guy that was on the front cover
    William Graham, Jul 2, 2005
  14. If the photograph is used to promote some product, and titled: "Picture of
    man wearing our clients suit" or "Picture of man hurrying to the dealership
    to buy our clients car", perhaps. but if the photograph is simply titled,
    "Picture of man found randomly walking on the street for some unknown
    purpose", then I can't see how any damages were incurred, and why such a
    suit would be worth any money. To me, there is entirely too much litigation
    going on, and one way to slow it down would be to insist that damages be
    proven before rewards are granted. Just being photographed while walking
    down the street is not an invasion of your privacy. Your privacy is invaded
    if I sneak into your bedroom and photograph you while you are undressed. But
    when you leave your bedroom and home, and walk down a public street, then
    your expectation of privacy is automatically compromised, whether or not you
    are photographed.
    William Graham, Jul 2, 2005
  15. I think it was proved a long time ago that your soul is not trapped in the
    little box......
    William Graham, Jul 2, 2005
  16. Mike Henley

    johnboy Guest

    johnboy, Jul 2, 2005
  17. Exactly. Light comes to us from the sun. It strikes all that it finds and
    bounces off in all directions. Some of it strikes my eyeballs, and is
    focused by my lens on to my retina. Some of it strikes my camera lens and is
    focused (I hope) on my film and is recorded there. So what? Why would it
    make any difference to anyone it strikes where it then falls next? And why
    would anyone have to pay any money to the person it strikes just because it
    then fell upon their cameras lens? If they don't like that happening, then
    they should stay inside, out of the sun.
    William Graham, Jul 2, 2005
  18. Mike Henley

    Roy Guest

    If that really is the case, then all sports photographers had better get all
    of the spectators attending an event to sign a Model Release as they enter
    the ground. Their faces might just be recognisable in the background and
    that photo could win "Sports Photographer of the Year" and be shown in
    Galleries all over the country, as well as in the newspaper or magazine.

    If one of the spectators refuses to sign, should the Sports photographer
    decline to take any pictures, just in case. After all the sports event is
    not taking place in "Public" it will be taking place in a "Private
    Location", which would make the photographer more likely to be sued.

    Did Cartier Bresson get all of the people in his pictures to sign Model
    releases? Did the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima sign Model releases?

    Not very likely, is the answer.

    The contention that people are entitled to control how their faces are shown
    seems reasonable, but on what law or right is that claim based?

    If it were true and were applied rigourously, then photography in public
    places would become impossible. That person in the background might just
    sue me if I ever get this picture of "Anywhere Interesting" published.

    Lawers would give up Ambulance Chasing and start investigating Picture
    Postcards and Calendars.

    Roy G
    Roy, Jul 2, 2005
  19. That's right. It's like drinking water out of the bathroom tap. You get the
    drink BEFORE it gets into the toilet bowl.......
    William Graham, Jul 2, 2005
  20. I don't know what US law says about this, but in Denmark, the light that
    strikes on people's own property is protected (from e.g. a 500mm tele ;o) )

    Claus P. Hastrup, Jul 2, 2005
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