I AM NOT HAPPY WITH THIS.

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This student used my sculpture in their photograph without my permission. I am honestly outraged about this. What should I do in this situation? I clearly had my name and class with my artwork on the ground with the plastic cut outs and this student did nothing to even track me down to ask permission. I believe this was a graphic design course that this student was in. 

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4 Responses to I AM NOT HAPPY WITH THIS.

  1. Jeremiah Valle says:

    I believe it may have been a first year student and didnt consider the seriousness of the situation. I think becacuse it may have been an accident I you should track down whose piece it is and onfront them letting them know it was wrong what they did because they need to know, and just give them a warning. Technically This would be plagerism right?

  2. Thats a tough question. It can upsetting that someone has used your artwork without informing or asking your permission, however the artwork was a sculpture, and this person presented it as part of a photographic work. Its a thin line, and very debatable. Where does one draw the line on what plagiarism actually is, if in this case the medium, and presentation were completely different. See Sherrie Levine, and appropriation photography. She’s famous for producing a project entitled “After Walker Evans” which was a little more blatant of an exploration of what plagiarism really is in the art world. The project consisted of photographs she took of famous photographs done by Walker Evans, and presented them as her own photographs since the actual photographs she presented were done and printed by her. Its a serious debate. What are other peoples opinion on this?

  3. If I take a photograph of a building and present it as my photograph, can or should the architect of that building sue me for plagiarism?

  4. Serge is on the right track on two points.
    First, yes, it can be very upsetting to see a photo of your sculpture as a part of someone else’s art, especially if you are not credited. I sympathize with you: a few years ago, I saw one of my pots in an ad for an interior design firm in a magazine. The head of the firm had purchased my pot, so it’s a little different, but there it was, no credit given. In the big picture, it was clear that the design firm hadn’t designed all the furniture, art, etc in the advert, they were showing what they could do with the stuff.

    If the student who included your work in her picture noted, “Sculpture by Sarah May Cabrera” then it’s actually A-OK. I recommend contacting her and telling her you are FLATTERED that she used your sculpture in her photo. As an aside, ask for a print of her photo for your collection, and “By the way, it’d be great if you credit me when you show the photo in the future.” Everyone wins that way, and feelings are mended.

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