500 People in 100 Seconds

I’m not entirely sure of the purpose for this video, but I’ve watched it several times today and it’s almost hypnotic.

This could be an interesting concept to give students for a project, especially if they incorporate a story into either the pictures or the people holding them.

Thanks to David for the link.

Score One For Photographers’ Rights

From the editorial page of this morning’s Post.

WE DON’T KNOW whether to cheer or cry over news that the federal government has acknowledged the public’s right to take photographs and record videos in public spaces outside government buildings. It’s great that the people’s First Amendment rights have been affirmed. But isn’t it sad that there was ever a question?

Yes, very sad.

However, despite lawsuits, settlements, and notices to security staff, I doubt the harassment of photographers in DC and elsewhere will be ended.

There is far too much paranoia when it comes to imagined security threats posed by people carrying cameras.

The Crime of Photography

In this morning’s Post, more examples of the conflict between photographers and security people who don’t understand that yes, they can take pictures here.

The situation is especially bad here in the DC area where we have a higher than average number of the paranoid who also don’t know what they’re talking about.

However, one specific sentence in the story pretty much says it all.

´╗┐Photographers say police need to be told explicitly not to prohibit photography, because officers often don’t respond well to impromptu citizen lectures on constitutional law.

Ain’t that the truth!

Patching Up The Ritz

Another company steeped in the analog tradition is trying to figure out their place in the digital world.

Within weeks, Ritz said in an interview, the company, called Ritz Camera & Image, will reinvent itself in a new ad campaign aimed at drawing a hipper crowd into its stores, which now number around 375.

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They plan to sell smart phones alongside a stock of digital cameras. Customers can supply their digital images and video clips and Ritz will package them onto a DVD, with chapter breaks and music. And if they want LCD HD televisions on which to view those images, they can buy those, too, from Ritz.

The retooled Ritz Camera & Image will “appeal to younger customers who were brought up in the computer-digital world who may not understand everything that photography means to them,” Ritz, 60, said in an interview in his oak-paneled office at the company’s headquarters in Beltsville.

I wonder if the people at Ritz have bothered to talk to this “hipper crowd” they’re trying to turn into customers.

Do they really want physical media like DVDs when it’s so easy to post pictures on the web (for free), create slide shows (for free), embed the show in a web page (for free or very close), and share the results through multiple channels (for free)?

As for video, many people in the demographic Ritz seems to be aiming for don’t care if the end result is all that polished. Normally the video is recorded and posted with little editing in between.

It will be interesting to see what the company does in their transformation, especially since photography is rapidly moving away from the formal process that was at the heart of Ritz’s success for so many years.

I haven’t been in a Ritz store in many years (probably not in their target group for the future anyway), at least since I purchased a DSLR (online, not in a physical store) three years ago.

And there’s nothing in this story about their plans for reorganization that will entice me to return.

Photo by BOSSoNe0013 and used under a Creative Commons License.

International Digital Rights

Another interesting conflict in the world of copyright and digital media.

The National Portrait Gallery [Great Britain] is threatening legal action after 3,300 images from its website were uploaded to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

A contributor to the popular site, Derrick Coetzee, breached English copyright laws by posting images from the gallery’s collection, the NPG said.

But photographs of works of art are not protected by copyright in the US, where Mr Coetzee and Wikipedia are based.

Of course these issues go beyond a simple my-rights, your-rights squabble.

The situation illustrates once again that the web freely crosses national borders (at least most of them) while intellectual property laws don’t.

So, should a publicly-funded museum in the UK have the right to prevent a US-based non-profit web site (fast becoming an international public utility) from using images of works that are already posted on the museum’s web site and carry no copyright restrictions outside of the country?

I doubt a definitive answer will be crafted anytime soon.