Link: Sued for public photography

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Regular readers of my blog know that I generally do not take photographs without the permission of the photographed except in exceptional circumstances. This is one element, I think, that differentiates my work from traditional street photography -- which from the time of Henri Cartier Bresson has had elements of stealth and deception that are generally anathema to anthropology.

Clayton Cubitt's Used Future blog links to an article on the NY Post that street photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia has been sued by one of the people he surreptitiously photographed on the street:

"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. (NY Post)

There is quite an interesting discussion attached to Clayton Cubitt's blog entry, I'd encourage people to read through it. The fundamental legal question is whether diCorcia's fine art photography is editorial or commercial work. It'll be interesting to see the outcome in the courts, but my guess is that diCorcia will settle before then.


I'm pretty sure the subject doesn't have a case. I believe the only way that he would have a prayer was if the picture was used to sell something. I've heard that cases like this always end up favoring the photographer.

But then again, I don't know.


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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on July 3, 2005 7:41 AM.

Fellowships: Woodrow Wilson International Center was the previous entry in this blog.

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