When I saw a place called "Pork Shop" just a few blocks from Times Square, I thought it was a completely different kind of establishment:
Did I have egg on my face! Actually, I left there with nothing on my face. I was so crestfallen I didn't even take advantage of the "Special Pig Toes." I wonder how they differ from the regular pig toes. I was too ashamed to ask at that point.
Weird thing happened today. Or maybe not so weird. Actually, it was somewhat expected. Where to start, where to start. The beginning is usually a good place.
When I first decided to get this site/concept going, I had no means of promoting myself other than word of mouth. That is, the words coming out of my mouth. I figured that instead of hoping that people would remember heynicecameradotblogspotdotcom by me saying it repeatedly, I decided to get business cards made up. But they're not just any business cards, they're these cards where one side is a full-bleed picture. The other side is a partial picture of a camera mit der words underneath, telling you where you can go.
For the full-bleed picture side, I decided to use pictures of the people I had taken pictures of. Was this morally or ethically right to use someone's picture on my cards to advertise myself? Well, I'm advertising my work (such as it is). I'm not making any editorial comment about the person on the card. Well, there are comments on the website about the people I've interacted with, but nothing that the person would find objectionable (I don't think) or untrue. But...the people I put on these cards I never mentioned the site to, since it didn't even exist when I was taking their pictures. That's how early on it was. I knew I wanted to do a site, but had yet to go through the painstaking process of coming up with a url and putting it into the blogspot search engine to see if it was taken already (I know, tell me about it!).
So today in conversation with a woman who was an artist (we were both groaning about the impending squeeze Bloomberg is putting on the artists selling in the parks), I gave her the only card I had left in my wallet. She immediately recognized the person as a friend of hers. I said to her, "be a dear and please don't mention it to him."
Odder than that, this gentleman and I share the same first name. So when I gave her my card, she thought it was his card! Though it would have been his card if he had changed the rest of his name and became a photography enthusiast instead of an accomplished guitar player (as I found out). I think she even thought it was irresponsible that I had his picture on my card, and that someone might think he was me! Though I think anybody who would look at the card and look at me, that is to look at his picture and look at me, would realize that we're hardly close to being doppelgangers.
I assured her that he wasn't the only person I had on my cards, and let her know that if she were to see my other selection of men, some black, some homeless, some not even men, she'd realize that I wasn't trying to pass myself off as someone else, let alone someone else I didn't even know anything about!
As for the moral/ethical side of it, she felt that if I use his picture on my card, that I should have his contact info on the back of it as well. She told me she even wouldn't mind me taking her picture if I used it on a card and also plugged her artistic endeavors. I nodded politely while she said this, but no. That ain't gonna happen. I'm more than happy to plug people's projects in their entries on my site, but my card is for my business. I ain't gonna confuse the issue with more tiny writing in a confined space on a small piece of cardboard. But all of this is neither here nor there.
I decided some time ago that after this last run of cards is through that I'd can the whole people on cards thing. This city is too small a world to be doing this before someone finds you out. Now am I doing something bad? I still don't think so. Even so, it'll be just easier to have some of my other work gracing my cards than people I don't know.
I guess my biggest fear wasn't getting caught, but getting some kind of beatdown because I used someone on the card. I'd like to think this won't happen, yet you never know when you're going to catch a beating for your art. Just the same, I'd like to avoid it.
Then again, you never know how people are going to react when they find something like this out. They might be enraged, they might not care, they might even be flattered. What really are the rights when you take someone's picture with their consent on the street with no information exchanged or agreement made? I mean, it's a first amendment right to take anybody's picture on the street, assuming you're standing on public property (as I understand it). I mean, what are the rights when it comes to what you can do with said picture?
I think I just have to remind myself that I'm not doing anything wrong by the person in the picture. I'm not misrepresenting them, nor am I trying to sully their image. I'll keep telling myself that until my new cards are in.
IN ENTIRELY OTHER NEWS:
I developed two vintage rolls of VP620 today with bangin' (yeah, BANGIN'!) results (as far as the negatives look). I judged the film to be from the 60s judging by the tackiness of the tape holding the film to the backing paper. I've noticed that pre-60s tape is usually completely dry. I used my faithful Ilfosol-3 at 20 degrees celsius at 6 minutes. When I saw the results of the first roll I nearly soiled myself with joy (well, it wouldn't have been "joy" that would have been doing the soiling, but you get the picture...). The second roll, while probably the same age (they came separately), looks a bit fuzzier, though that might be from the camerawork. I'll be posting the results once I get everything scanned and adjusted (as need be).
Also...this means I can finally get around to developing some film from the 21st century that I actually shot. I know I have at least one person picture that I actually took on vintage film (I forgot if it was Verichrome or Verichrome Pan), so I'm curious to see how that came out. I should hopefully get it done over the weekend.
In a bed, in a bed,
by the waterside I will lay my head...