Exercise 2.4: Is appropriation appropriate?

For this exercise we have to read three articles, one from Guardian and two from the WeAreOCA blog and discuss about our opinion when artist and photographers who appropriate images taken by other people.

First of all, I had to find out the meaning of appropriate as a verb. I knew the meaning as an adjective but I had to look for the meaning of the verb (English in not my first language).


Makes sense now why it is used in these articles [take (something) for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission]

In general, I do not like people using my photos or in general photos without permission online etc. More than that I do not like people altering my images without asking me if I agree or I like it. Based on this fact, as an initial thought appropriation is not appropriate.

If people want to use other’s people art and change it or edit to create a new piece of art they should ask them. I found it that it is even worst when people using other people images to make money. Few months ago, many discussions has been raised when Richard Prince sell photos he took from instagram and sold them in really expensive prices without asking the owner of the photographs.


My personal opinion is that this was not correct. I also do not understand why people bought them.

I looked mainly in three of the photographers discussed in the Guardian article (some of the links are not working) and I have different feeling for them.

Michael Wolfhttp://photomichaelwolf.com

Although, in general his work looks interesting, I do not like the google search work. The images are really bad quality, like old cameras from mobile phone, not so nice moments captured (I know that the bad quality is kind of expected, but I just saying my opinion just based on the image as image). I also notice that he is organised his works in series of similar images which is interesting but then I am kind of negative as I know how he collect them.  The “fuck you” project is maybe more interesting. It is like the person totally disagrees for his image to be taken, but he has no control on it, and then he is not recognisable as the face is blurred. The portraits, looks more like portraits in the thumbnail in the bottom than in the top. It is like our brain is telling us that there is a portrait there, where we can see more the pixels.


Doug Rickardhttps://vimeo.com/30357393

Looking to the images he choose to select they give the feeling that they are taken by a toy camera. In some cases the lighting is interesting. Also, hearing him speaking for his work make me somehow appreciate it more.

Jon Rafmanhttp://9-eyes.com/

If I have seen these photos without somebody telling me that they have been taken from google maps I would have said that some interesting photography is here.

I know that I wrote a longer text than I should (based on the exercise description) but I did not want to limit my thoughts. It is an interesting concept and as you can see I am not really sure if I am against on using google images as a form of art or for it.

There is something I know thought. By taking the photos on real work, we experience more, we feel more and we react with the reality more. We have more control on the quality of the image and these are things I like.

I consider what the above photographers have done more like observations or scientific recording or even art but not so much photography. It like stopping a movie and save the image as photo, does this makes you a photographer?

And although I am in denial of steeling images and create art I can see myself if I am bored or want to try something else, take images from google maps and create combinations of images. Maybe it is also the feeling that from google maps it is like looking to something which belongs to everybody.

I use google maps to have a feeling of a place. I has also used it to look to places I have lived in the past as a reminder, like walking in these places again after a long time.

I have checked the brief for As.2 and we have some discussions with my tutor as mentioned in previous post and the plan is to explore what is landscape photography and also explore these limits. I will also try to add some layers of meaning and elements of experimental work in my photography.

For these reasons, the google maps will only help me to have a feeling of the place, not have exact locations that I want to photograph. In addition, I want to reflect on objects like rubbish or any temporary objects which I will not be able to check online.

I will post here some print screens from google maps.

 The place I plan to go for the As. 2 is Olite, a small town in the north of spain. Try to explore concepts similar to those explored in Ex. 2.2 but also be open to anything I will feel like snapping.

As we can see in the photos the main attraction is the Castle. In addition, the footpaths with the medieval style are looking really interesting.

Note:  all the images taken from google maps, purely for education reasons


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