"But I’m An Artist, Too!"
At a recent art fair this past season (2015), a visitor stopped in my booth and admired my photography. This visitor mentioned that they, too, were an artist, though did not mention the medium.
After a few minutes discussion about a couple of prints, this person pulled a small camera from the coat pocket and started readying it for action. I politely placed my hand in front of the lens and said;
Thank You, No Photography Allowed
This action appeared to catch the individual slightly by surprise, as if being an artist themselves made the photography acceptable.
The individual explained they were a taking a painting class, had an assignment to paint a certain scenery, and liked my print for some of the features. I thanked the individual for the compliment, and still no photography allowed. Following a brief discussion as to why this is the case, the individual seemed to understand and then left.
This Isn’t The First Time
I’ve had other instances in my booth where individuals try to take a quick picture of the print. I’ve again requested “no photography”. For the most part, people fully understand.
Some do not, which I then explain all images and prints are copyright protected, and I do not allow photography. Those who don’t understand (or don’t want to) will generally leave.
What If Customers Ask?
Sometimes potential customers may ask if photography is allowed.
I’ll politely tell them it is not and offer my card with the image number. They can then view the image directly on my web site. I will hand them a business card with the site information and file number of the desired image
Typically, this more than satisfies their situation.
Other Artists - The Most Baffling
There are, on occasion, amateur photographers and painters who try to take a photo of either the entire booth or selected prints. Honestly, they are the ones who most baffle me.
They also tend to need the most explanation.
Usually the person will mention how inspiring my photography is to them.
While it is interesting to know my photography inspires others, one does not need a photo of my booth or the prints to remain inspired. As I do with potential customers, I hand them my card and again suggest my web site.
If they like a specific print, I suggest they purchase it for their home or office. However, they don’t get to photograph it.
From My Artist Viewpoint
I’ve always believed if the person is truly an artist, they should not want to paint nor photograph my prints (or anyone else’s) for reference.
Rather, in my world view of art, the artist should be capturing all the ideas in their head, assimilating the ones of interest, and in their own medium and in their own way, bring forth the resulting inspiration.
At least to me, it honestly isn’t a compliment to want to paint my photographic print.
No Photography, Thank You
Since 2016, I have two small, conspicuously placed signs added to my booth. Each is an image of a camera with a red circle with a line through it. Above the image it says "Thank You
One sign is located adjacent to my business cards on the left wall. the other near the opposite wall by the pricing info. Neither are large, but easily visible.
When someone asks, or considers taking a photograph, I simply point to the sign, provide them a business card, and say “no photography, thank you”.
Even with the signs, I realize I’ll still need to be vigilant.