As I understand it, a property release can only apply to commercial uses, say in advertising or a brochure, but not to editorial or fine art uses. Someone can demand a fee for a property release if you wanted to sell photographs of the property to a stock agency, but not so if you are documenting the property for a magazine article or are using the property as part of an artistic composition that is an end in itself, rather than for the purpose of selling something else. The photographer who photographed the R&R Hall of Fame could sell posters or fine prints, for instance, but I doubt that he could sell the image to a record company for use in advertising without risking some liability.
I realize the complexity of law in these matters. I have been embroiled in a case of photographing private land from public throughofare. Since then I have always tried to ascertain the appropriate person and contact them prior to exposing film.
However, all my negatives are mine and I will do with them as I like. I will give them away if I please, sorry.
Michael, I think you are talking about two different things. As a photographer for hire, if you establish that the negatives are your property then you have the right to refuse surrendering them. Commercial photographers usually bill for the film and surrender the film at the end of the job, but these situations are confined to those people who were hired and paid for a specific purpose with all the restrictions agreed upon before the job starts.
In Robert's case it is a model who was a friend and now has second thoughts because of her new relationship. I dont see the harm in trying to meet them half way, if anything just so that Robert can maintain a good reputation, even though he has done nothing wrong.
OTOH I think your farmer example is a bit misleading, personally I always ask permission to photograph a private structure, even if I am in a public road and have every right to do so, this courtesy towards the owners has netted me more great pics than if I had not done so, recently I had a similar situation, since I asked permission, the owner actually left one of his sons with me to help me and opened up the place specially for me which resulted in two great shots, and better yet, I was invited to come back any time!
So good manners usually pay off, and to tell you the truth if I took a pic and the owner objected, I would gladly give him the neg and print.
In Robert's case I think the fiancée has just pissed him off and has become a no win situation. They were wrong to harass him and his bride at the wedding and the following days and now he has dug his heels (which is very understandable).
In the end, safeguarding my reputation and maintaining a good relationship with the locals is more important than any "masterpiece" I might have created, I figure if I can do it once, I can do it again. No picture is worth the hassle and anxiety that Robert is going through.
Ah, the voice of Mexican reason. I agree.
Robert, you can keep the proofs and prints to "revisit" now and then, and to remind you of a bad situation that got testosteronely out of control. It might be the most professional thing to do to shred the negatives and the prints, send them as a wedding gift in fact, and be done with it. Sometimes the artwork created can be internal.
*sections of this post have been moderated -admin*
I didn't really want this thread to deal with legal issues. We covered that once before, and some of the stuff may have to go all the way to the Supreme Court it is so complicated.
What I wanted your opinions on was, since Robert's case was a person, a nude, I wondered what all the landscape/scenic people felt if the same thing were to happen to them. I noticed that a lot of you said live and learn etc, give them back or destroy them.
I'm wondering if say, YOU, had taken a great shot of some landscape thing and had permission but later the owner wants the negs and prints. Would you be so accomadating. Live and learn, good will and all that, or would you fight for your work.
Is the fact that this is a nude, is that the determing factor, or that someone is whining, and to shut them up you give in. Is it because they are badmouthing you in public or you are afraid they might. Is it because you fell that you may get future business with them that you give in.
Could it be that you didn't, in the pre-shoot consulation tell them that the negs are yours forever. The gift that keeps on giving, twenty years later when you are running for president. Is it that you feel you exploited them in the first place and they are being victimized by your ownership of their naked form. Is it that you yourself are self conscious about nudity. Is that it bunky? Sorry.
When is our work worth fighting for. As has been ascertained in previous forums, WE ARE ARTISTS. When does our art become worth fighting for. Or as soon as someone raises their voice do we throw everything at them and run away.
Michael, what you are asking is rather a personal question, legalities aside these are decisions which are done in a case by case basis and have more to do with emotional concepts than with the issue at hand.
Obviously you feel strongly you would not give the negatives, me I rather choose the battles I want to fight, in some cases I might surrender the negative, in some I might not. Regardless of my reputation I would weight what is the greater benefit for me in the long run, if this place I shot belongs to someone who is well known in the local community and returning the print and an unusable negative will generate good will towards me and allow me to continue visiting the place in peace I would definitely do so, if I am in Timbuktu, take a pic and a year later I get a letter demanding the neg and the print, most likely my response would be different. It is all relative.
In Robert's case, since this is a person in his same community, which for purely selfish reasons can damage his emerging reputation, I would certainly try to meet them half way. I think he needs to look a few years down the road and how the opinion of this one woman can affect him. Unfortunately this kind of things have a way to come back and bite you in the ass. I can just see him asking another woman down the road to pose for him and her saying, "aren't you the guy who photographed xxxx and then refused to help her and ruined her relationship?"
However right we think Robert is, I am sure this is not the same story that these other two people are saying. IMO, taking a hard line in this situation has the potential to damage him more than the benefit he might obtain from keeping the negatives.
I don't think we can ignore the fact that whatever we personally may think about nudity, there are stigmas surrounding it in society that might affect an inexperienced model in ways that they may come to regret, and I'm willing to respect that.
This does not apply to photographing property or landscapes, where the only substantive issue is that of commercial use. There is generally no shame associated with having someone's barn publicized, but alas, some people may come to feel ashamed of having their body publicized.
Should one give in in every case? No, I don't think so, but I can imagine cases where it would not be an unreasonable courtesy.
---edited post that was just a response to a deleted thread---d.g.