Supreme Court to take up dispute over Andy Warhol's use of other's photograph

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MattKing

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We shouldn't be relying on judges.

A philosophical difference here.
Judges - and their role in the application of the common law are critical to the law being alive and responsive to the changing realities of the world. Legislators are slow and generally only react.
This requires an independent judiciary that is responsive to the law and the general interests of society, not to any particular constituency.

Judges, supported by the efforts of excellent counsel appearing before them, are in the very best position to resolve particular interests before them, as they affect the litigants before them.

The counsel's role is extremely important in an issue like this.
 

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Robert Adams has been mentioned quite a bit on this website lately. Here's something from one of his essays:

"For every Atget, Stieglitz, Weston, or Brandt who remain visionary to the end, there is an Ansel Adams who, after a period of extraordinary creativity, lapses into formula."

Sorry for the thread drift. This is a famous observation by a very perceptive and highly respected intellectual (not to mention photographer).

But just for the record, while it might well be true in terms of Ansel Adams's aesthetic growth (or lack thereof), Ansel Adams became a passionate defender of the environment. It wasn't a role he actually sought, but was as much thrust upon him by the fame and nature of his photographs.

The very world Robert Adams, through his own great photography, mourns as lost is one that Ansel Adams, in his final decades, sought to protect through public advocacy.
 
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DREW WILEY

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It's probably too soon to tell if they'll narrowly rule on this case - a decision applying to it alone - or more likely, as a precedent to clarify ongoing analogous conflicts of interest. It might engage just the technicality of what a trust rightfully owns, and what it does not; or they might be looking at the broader implications. But the mere fact the dispute got this far should pique a lot of interest. And it's the timing of it all ... Warhol had obviously done this quite awhile back, and in line with what he had been doing all along without its independent creativity being questioned. But what has changed is just how much more easily image piracy can be done today, and is being done in far greater frequency and volume. So it will be interesting to see what the Judges have been actually thinking, once their decision becomes public.
 
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MattKing

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If the law regarding Warhol's works is so confusing or unclear, Congress should re-write it to make it clear. Congress will listen to all the parties that make up America, not just the litigants in this case. Artist groups, publishers, and everyone else with an interest will petition Congress to make their concerns known. Many of these people will not present to the Supreme Court. So if the court defines the rules the way they want, it may not reflect what the public desires. Better these things be determined by elected officials.
 
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Neutral political posts that relate to this issue are allowed but will be removed if they target specific individuals, political parties, religions etc. Thanks
 

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Sorry for the thread drift. This is a famous observation by a very perceptive and highly respected intellectual (not to mention photographer).

But just for the record, while it might well be true in terms of Ansel Adams's aesthetic growth (or lack thereof), Ansel Adams became a passionate defender of the environment. It wasn't a role he actually sought, but was as much thrust upon him by the fame and nature of his photographs.

The very world Robert Adams, through his own great photography, mourns as lost is one that Ansel Adams, in his final decades, sought to protect through public advocacy.

I agree with you. Ansel Adams was quite the environmentalist, so much so that one could argue that his passion really shifted to that and away from growing aesthetically.

But even that had unintended consequences. He was known to bemoan the number of visitors that Yosemite drew every year, even though, for many, it was his pictures that drew them there in the first place. (Unintended consequences can be a real bitch).

To this point, and to the point about his work becoming cliched, he and Virginia wrote a book (The Illustrated Guide to Yosemite) in which there was a section where he described where to stand to take pictures like his, what time(s) of day to stand there, and what filters to bring with you! You too can make your very own Ansel Adams lookalike: just fill the tank with gas, wait in line to get into the park, set up your tripod next to that person over there, point your cameras in the same direction, and...
 

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Amusingly, the OT is now in the grips of lawyers, just as the work of some photographers is.

Being "in the grips of lawyers" generates attention by people who might be inclined to purchase photographic prints or books, without needing to address artistic matters.
 

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Ansel Adams Trust... https://ccp.arizona.edu/artists/ansel-adams

University of Arizona holds and displays many of AA's famous and not-so-famous prints. It's well worth a visit for any AA fan.

I think the biggest financial donor to that program was Richard Avedon. An interesting compare/contrast opportunity vs AA...however you might find it difficult to pry your eyes from your favorite to somebody you might be tired of. My personal take has been that Avedon's prints are by themselves worth a trip to Tucson. I'm an Avedon fanboy...confirm what's being shown before you commit.

 
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DREW WILEY

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Avedon... Warhol. Just like Starbucks and McDonald's; you can't round a street corner without seeing another one of the damn things, or maybe three of four in a row. I'm all for dedicated museums in each case, the bigger the better. Send all their work there, cause I'm sick of seeing it everywhere else. On the other hand, I grew up right next to Yosemite, and never saw a real AA print in my life till I was over 30 and already exhibiting my own work. I had seen a number of real Edward Weston ones early on.
 

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Avedon... Warhol. Just like Starbucks and McDonald's; you can't round a street corner without seeing another one of the damn things, or maybe three of four in a row. I'm all for dedicated museums in each case, the bigger the better. Send all their work there, cause I'm sick of seeing it everywhere else. On the other hand, I grew up right next to Yosemite, and never saw a real AA print in my life till I was over 30 and already exhibiting my own work. I had seen a number of real Edward Weston ones early on.

My family had deep Northern CA roots and my mother (died in Murphys) was serious about her photography...I have tokens of her prints. She knew about Weston in the 50s, before she knew about Adams and processed her own Agfa/Ansco slides living near Oakland. For a while I did photo near the plant responsible for Adam's coffee can. I saw that damned can everywhere because everybody thought it was perfect for Mexican seedlings.
 

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I agree with you. Ansel Adams was quite the environmentalist, so much so that one could argue that his passion really shifted to that and away from growing aesthetically.

But even that had unintended consequences. He was known to bemoan the number of visitors that Yosemite drew every year, even though, for many, it was his pictures that drew them there in the first place. (Unintended consequences can be a real bitch).

To this point, and to the point about his work becoming cliched, he and Virginia wrote a book (The Illustrated Guide to Yosemite) in which there was a section where he described where to stand to take pictures like his, what time(s) of day to stand there, and what filters to bring with you! You too can make your very own Ansel Adams lookalike: just fill the tank with gas, wait in line to get into the park, set up your tripod next to that person over there, point your cameras in the same direction, and...

And I agree with you!

I think Ansel and Virginia were, first of all, in love with Yosemite, as a couple and (mostly later) separately. They wanted to share that passion with others and did so endlessly. That there became an environmental component to crowd management was the tension between preservation of nature and exposure of it to people who could come to appreciate the preciousness of it. Theodore Roosevelt visited Yosemite (with John Muir) and that visit--his physical presence--changed the course of American preservation of parks. So, there is that inherent tension.

Probably no environmental historian has ever done more to understand the realistic and inevitable interplay of nature and people than Bill Cronon.
 

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Well, as one who knows the subtleties of Sierra light just as well as anyone alive, I often take issue with certain stereotypes. Some of Ansel's very best work was made somewhat later in life, in his 60's, although the sheer pace of it seems to have slowed down. But according to himself, the vast majority of his sales came from only about eight to twelve original images, which have been reproduced in various manner in great quantities. A lot of that transpired quite late in his life or afterwards through his Trust. His father in law owned Best Studio there in Yosemite Valley, which was basically a gift shop with ceramic chipmunks and lacquered pine cones and AA postcards. As a wild little kid, my parents wouldn't let me go in there lest I break something and they had to pay for it.

But Yosemite Valley is just 8% of the greater Yosemite Natl Park itself, which in turn is just one section of a much larger range containing many spectacular sights.
There are even two domes larger than Half Dome, but both a long ways from anything resembling a road. About six years ago I was in a portion of the Yosemite high country for a two week trip, when I didn't see another person for an entire week of it, except my backpacking partner; and it was more spectacular than Yosemite Valley itself. Ansel roamed some of those places himself when he was young. His greatest contribution to the Parks system was his photographic influence preserving Kings Canyon NP, which contains a lot more un-trailed real wilderness than Yosemite does. But as Eliot Porter's color photography gained dominance, it sparked contention between AA and Ken Brower over the proliferation of Enviro coffee table books. Perhaps a degree of jealousy was involved too.

Teddy Roosevelt could be a great protector of the land or its traitor. He was a politician who needed votes; and when it came to the fate of the Owens Valley on the east side of the range, he sided with the rapine water heists of Los Angeles. And when John Muir came to Yosemite, he ran a lumber mill near the falls for sake of a big hotel there. Incidentally, my babysitter as an infant, who was in her 90's at the time, was the first white woman ever known to enter Yosemite, when she was just a little girl.

But AA had deep respect for his subject matter. Yeah, sometimes it came out a little too theatrically printed for some of us; but he was at least trying to replicate his own sensitive feel for the light. By comparison, when Avedon came touring the West he was treating it like a bug collection, collecting specimens matching East Coast stereotypes - a portable studio instead of an insect net. Blank white says it all. He didn't see a thing.
 
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Vaughn

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To this point, and to the point about his work becoming cliched, he and Virginia wrote a book (The Illustrated Guide to Yosemite) in which there was a section where he described where to stand to take pictures like his, what time(s) of day to stand there, and what filters to bring with you! You too can make your very own Ansel Adams lookalike: just fill the tank with gas, wait in line to get into the park, set up your tripod next to that person over there, point your cameras in the same direction, and...

I have read that little guide, LOL! Of course it was long before there were lines to get into the park. And they were running a photo business in the park, attracting photographers was important to their business.

Life is a balance between art and the rest of life. We tend to see the greater artist as one who lives their life unbalanced towards the side of Art. A biased view, perhaps. A romantic view to be sure.
 

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But AA had deep respect for his subject matter. Yeah, sometimes it came out a little too theatrically printed for some of us; ...
Brett Weston and Ansel Adams used to accuse each other of being Wagnerian, from what I've read. And you gotta admit, you can almost hear Ride of the Valkyries playing somewhere when you look at a lot of those Adams pictures.
 

DREW WILEY

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I have posted on this elsewhere; but certain of those Wagnerian prints were basically a logistical issue. Many of AA''s vintage negs had a lot of flaws, evident especially in the skies. Printing certain areas down to almost solid black disguised much of that. Same goes for concealing the big white dolomite "LP" on a hillside behind Lone Pine in that famous image. But it's erroneous to assume that kind of look was routine for him. He made many many more delicate images.

As for Brett, not an atom of Wagner in him. He used solid black in a graphic abstract sense, and did it better than anyone, petty much pioneered it, in fact. When I think of Wagner on steroids, performing under a rococo ceiling, it's more Barnbaum who comes to mind. Of course, he worked in several styles himself; but there are those images which are simply over the top for me. I don't like it when something is toooo obvious.
 

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This copyright business is a very interesting topic indeed.

It has got me thinking of the iconic photograph taken on Mount Suribochi, Iwo Jima during WW2.
Taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal, it shows six US Marines raising a pole with the American Flag on it.

The image is thought to be the inspiration for the Marine Corp War Memorial at Arlington, Virginia.

Hollywood recreated it in a WW2 war film film about Iwo Jima.

And we see three firefighters at Ground Zero in a similar pose.


In no way do I wish to detract from the selfless bravery and deeds of these people.


I wonder how would Joe Rosenthal stand in a copyright case today?
 

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I wonder how would Joe Rosenthal stand in a copyright case today?
Don't think he'd participate.

"I took the picture; the Marines took Iwo Jima."

...and he had already got his Prize for it.
 

BobUK

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"I took the picture; the Marines took Iwo Jima."

That's lovely. I shall remember that.

Thank you.
 

Mike Lopez

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As for Brett, not an atom of Wagner in him. He used solid black in a graphic abstract sense, and did it better than anyone, petty much pioneered it, in fact. When I think of Wagner on steroids, performing under a rococo ceiling, it's more Barnbaum who comes to mind. Of course, he worked in several styles himself; but there are those images which are simply over the top for me. I don't like it when something is toooo obvious.

Are you referring to Bruce Barnbaum? There's a name I haven't thought about in awhile.

And I agree--Brett was a wizard with his use of black.
 

jtk

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This copyright business is a very interesting topic indeed.

It has got me thinking of the iconic photograph taken on Mount Suribochi, Iwo Jima during WW2.
Taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal, it shows six US Marines raising a pole with the American Flag on it.

The image is thought to be the inspiration for the Marine Corp War Memorial at Arlington, Virginia.

Hollywood recreated it in a WW2 war film film about Iwo Jima.

And we see three firefighters at Ground Zero in a similar pose.


In no way do I wish to detract from the selfless bravery and deeds of these people.


I wonder how would Joe Rosenthal stand in a copyright case today?

 

DREW WILEY

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bags - total black can be achieved a number of ways. A deep red filter doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it, but in some cases might be used. Ansel mostly used medium yellow filters back when skies were bluer than today, and films mostly a little different. When I've wanted to make an ala Brett image, I'd take a relatively straight line contrasty film like TMY400 and underexpose the shadow values I wanted to go full black (basically rating the film at 800), and then overdevelop it some.
 

eli griggs

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Warhol was contracted to make the images in the Andy Warhol "Style" for payment.

He was paid, end of story.

If he had simply taken the photographs on as a project, to 'transform' then into new art, then his current trustees, might have a slim chance, but on the simple premise of a contract which did no award a copyright to him, I doubt any judge would grant him or his group any say so in this.
 
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eli griggs

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I had no idea who this artist is. So out of curiosity I asked AI to give me "highly detailed painting of Mount Fuji by Yayoi Kusama" and I was quite impressed by what I saw:

View attachment 313193

Is this derivative art? Is it art? :smile:

It's Art, however, whether or no it's derivative art, depends on if the inspiration came from other artists art.
 
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