For the past two years, the camera on the phone I had was rubbish. When it came time to upgrade in July, the man in the shop said, ‘Are you upgrading because the screen on your phone is cracked?’
I said, ‘No, it’s because it’s crap. It’s a terrible phone.’
So he did his best and found me a really good replacement phone with a boss camera, to make up for it. And since then I’ve been photographing more or less everything.
I took a snap of a pop group at the Liverpool International Music Festival three weeks ago. Stealing Sheep looked far too ace in white tights and glittery goodness to ignore. I was pleased because I got all three women in the shot, and please note the “HEEP” part of “sheep” is expertly included.
I put the photo on Twitter because I was made up with myself.
When I got home that night, I searched for Stealing Sheep on Twitter. To see how good my photo was compared to everyone else’s. I’m stupidly competitive that way.
It was then I saw it.
My photo of Stealing Sheep, used by another Twitter account.
It wasn’t a private individual, or even a local webzine getting carried away with my Mario Testino/Annie Liebovitz-esque photography, combined with festival fever. It was part of a large organisation here in Liverpool, and they’d nicked my photo.
My photo without my consent, crediting or even tagging me. This is not on.
To add insult to injury, they edited my beautiful work to make the colours “pop” more.
I’m not naming or shaming because of what happened to me last year which you can read about here, but without respecting copyright then as creatives we’re all banjaxed. To each and every one of us who make things for a living, copyright is how we earn our money. If we don’t own what we create – whether it be writing, or even photographs taken on a mobile phone on a dreamy Saturday afternoon, then why are we doing all this?
Why do people think we do all this?
I’m not known for exceptional photography, and I’m willing to accept this fortunate snap was a happy accident rather than skills-related, but even if it’s idiots like me taking photos, the shots shouldn’t be just nicked. It’s very bad form indeed.
And the thieves ignored my comminications over it too.
That’s just rude.
On a lighter note, the fabulous first issue of FWYL, edited by the fabulous Claire Biddles, is back from the printers, meaning it’s available to buy online now. It contains feminist essays on the glory of Matt Healy’s hair, straight girls crushing on gay popstars, erotic fanfiction (yep, that last one’s written by me, how did you guess) and loads more.
You can order it here, if you wish. This is the beautiful cover (photo by Claire Biddles):
Additionally, if you’re in Liverpool, I have some flash fiction as part of the ‘Women: Where Do You Find Yourself in the Arts?’ exhibition at the café in Constellations until the end of next weekend. And it’s free!