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Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


I just want to say upfront that I am genuinely trying to understand the term "self portrait" and am not trying to criticize anyone or be a smart ass.

So my question is what defines a self portrait? I've heard of a few photographers who have other people snap a photo of them (without a tripod- so composition is up to the person taking the photo) and call it a self portrait. Can they say it's their own work because they do the editing afterwards? Thanks for helping me understand! smile
Jul 19 13 11:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


If you click the shutter on a camera that is pointed at you, it's a self portrait.  Or, push a button that clicks the shutter.  Either way.  It's just a shot you set up and took yourself of yourself.

allison mindy wrote:
I've heard of a few photographers who have other people snap a photo of them (without a tripod- so composition is up to the person taking the photo) and call it a self portrait.

Not a self portrait.

Jul 19 13 11:58 am  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


Carlos Occidental wrote:
If you click the shutter on a camera that is pointed at you, it's a self portrait.

But what if someone else clicks the shutter and you edit the photo afterwards.

Jul 19 13 11:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


allison mindy wrote:
But what if someone else clicks the shutter and you edit the photo afterwards.

Not a self portrait.

Editing, post work, retouching, call it what you will, has absolutely nothing to do with the shot being a self portrait or not.

Jul 19 13 12:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


Carlos Occidental wrote:
If you click the shutter on a camera that is pointed at you, it's a self portrait.  Or, push a button that clicks the shutter.  Either way.  It's just a shot you set up and took yourself of yourself.

If you read my post I'm asking about people who have other people click the shutter then call the photo a self portrait.

Jul 19 13 12:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


Carlos Occidental wrote:
Not a self portrait.

Ok thanks. I just know of a few people who do this and I was wondering if they call it a self portrait because they edit it themselves or in some cases set up the lighting.

Jul 19 13 12:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


They'd be wrong.  You can school them.
The lighting can be set up by anyone.  It's the person that clicks the shutter, or trips the shutter that is the "photographer" for that shot.  Nobody cares who sets up the lighting.
Jul 19 13 12:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


Carlos Occidental wrote:
They'd be wrong.  You can school them.

I'd rather not create any drama which is why I wanted to check my understanding of things here. smile

Jul 19 13 12:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


LOL.  Yeah, sometimes it's better to just be quiet about such things.
Jul 19 13 12:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
wrongsideofthirty
Posts: 543
Boston, Massachusetts, US


allison mindy wrote:

If you read my post I'm asking about people who have other people click the shutter then call the photo a self portrait.

technically you would or should call that an assisted self portrait and give credit to a photographer, if you don't i think you (not you personally) are full of shit

then again im slightly biased about how difficult shooting a sp can be, even though it seems to be a bit "poo-poo'd" in terms of "real photography"

Jul 19 13 12:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


Carlos Occidental wrote:
LOL.  Yeah, sometimes it's better to just be quiet about such things.

Very true smile Thank you for your help!

Jul 19 13 12:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


wrongsideofthirty wrote:

technically you would or should call that an assisted self portrait and give credit to a photographer, if you don't i think you (not you personally) are full of shit

then again im slightly biased about how difficult shooting a sp can be, even though it seems to be a bit "poo-poo'd" in terms of "real photography"

Ok new term for me I like it thank you smile

Jul 19 13 12:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,210
Orlando, Florida, US


You're asking the difference between a self-portrait and a portrait of themselves.

The former does not involve anyone else.
The latter does.
Jul 19 13 12:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


allison mindy wrote:
But what if someone else clicks the shutter and you edit the photo afterwards.

Then you're the retoucher wink

If they were not using a tripod and were choosing the composition and when to click the shutter themselves then they would most definitely be the photographer, taking portraits of you, although you could probably claim to be the art director.

However, if you set up the composition and put the camera on a tripod (or instructed somebody where to put it) and told them when to click the shutter then they would be effectively acting as your assistant, so you would be the photographer in that scenario.

Legally, unless there was a written contract that specified they were acting as your assistant, the person pressing the shutter release would probably still be the copyright holder in name but most people would understand that you had the moral right to claim the photo as yours.



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

Jul 19 13 03:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,831
Santa Ana, California, US


It means the photographer and the subject are the same person.
Jul 19 13 03:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Viator Defessus Photos
Posts: 1,004
College Station, Texas, US


If I call it a self portrait then the camera is on a tripod and it's either on a timer or I'm hiding a trigger.
Jul 19 13 04:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rick Dupuis Photography
Posts: 6,822
Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada


If someone else snapped the shutter, than you can retouch it or change it in Photoshop all you want, you still didn't take the photo. If you snap your photo and than give it to a professional retoucher, when you get it back, it's still a self-portrait.

my avatar took an hour to set up. I had my niece sit down with my dog and I set the camera up on the tripod and shot her a dozen times before I switched places with her. I had the trigger in my hand. Last thing I did before I pressed it was tell her to look through the view finder to make sure I was where I was supposed to be. But aside from me, no one touched the camera.
Jul 19 13 05:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Magik
Posts: 1,067
New Orleans, Louisiana, US


allison mindy wrote:
I just want to say upfront that I am genuinely trying to understand the term "self portrait" and am not trying to criticize anyone or be a smart ass.

So my question is what defines a self portrait? I've heard of a few photographers who have other people snap a photo of them (without a tripod- so composition is up to the person taking the photo) and call it a self portrait. Can they say it's their own work because they do the editing afterwards? Thanks for helping me understand! smile

A self portrait is a picture you take of yourself.

Jul 19 13 05:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ken Marcus Studios
Posts: 8,437
Los Angeles, California, US


self–por·trait noun \-ˈpȯr-trət, -ˌtrāt\

Definition of SELF-PORTRAIT: a portrait of oneself done by oneself
Jul 19 13 05:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Laurence Moan
Posts: 7,697
Huntington Beach, California, US


FYI~
All the cool kids are calling them "selfies" nowadays.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/4a1016c3e78ae934b108ae68aafab51b/tumblr_mhxxiusse51ql2603o1_1280.jpg
Jul 19 13 05:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light Writer
Posts: 18,387
Oakland, California, US


The setup and concept is the most important, if an assistant actually does the shutter click, it's still a self portrait.

I think
Jul 19 13 06:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brian Diaz
Posts: 62,474
Danbury, Connecticut, US


As a counterpoint, this is "The Snail" by Henri Matisse.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/modernmasters/images/virtual-exhibition/matisse/large/mm-ve-matisse12-lrg.jpg

In 1953, the year this painting was made, Matisse was confined to his bed by illness.  He instructed his assistants to paint paper with gouache, then tear or cut them into shapes.  He then directed his assistants where to paste the paper on the canvas.

It is a Matisse, though he didn't paint it, cut the shapes, or paste them to the canvas.  It is a Matisse because it was his creative process that made it what it is.

I'd say the photo described by the OP might be a self portrait, depending on the creative input of the person holding the camera.  If there was none, it's a self portrait.  If there was some, it's a collaborative self portrait.  If all the creative input came from the person holding the camera, it's a portrait.
Jul 19 13 06:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Laurence Moan
Posts: 7,697
Huntington Beach, California, US


Light Writer wrote:
The setup and concept is the most important, if an assistant actually does the shutter click, it's still a self portrait.

I think

Okay let's get hypothetical...

You're at Disneyland with your main squeeze and the Mad Hatter shows up. You ask a bystander to take a picture of you and your lady with the MH. Is that a selfie?

Here's another...
You're at Disneyland with your main squeeze and the Mad Hatter shows up. You ask a bystander to take a picture of you and your lady with the MH. It turns out that bystander is Annie Leibovitz. Is that a selfie or an original AL? Who gets the rights?

cool

Jul 19 13 06:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
michael___
Posts: 300
New York, New York, US


Ken Marcus Studios wrote:
self–por·trait noun \-ˈpȯr-trət, -ˌtrāt\

Definition of SELF-PORTRAIT: a portrait of oneself done by oneself

This is always what I had thought...

Jul 19 13 06:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
allison mindy
Posts: 1,495
New York, New York, US


That Italian Guy wrote:

Then you're the retoucher wink

If they were not using a tripod and were choosing the composition and when to click the shutter themselves then they would most definitely be the photographer, taking portraits of you, although you could probably claim to be the art director.

However, if you set up the composition and put the camera on a tripod (or instructed somebody where to put it) and told them when to click the shutter then they would be effectively acting as your assistant, so you would be the photographer in that scenario.

Legally, unless there was a written contract that specified they were acting as your assistant, the person pressing the shutter release would probably still be the copyright holder in name but most people would understand that you had the moral right to claim the photo as yours.



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

I feel like this is the most thorough answer thank you. This is what I had originally thought, but there are a good handful of photographers in my area calling photos others took of them (without a tripod) self portraits and putting it in their photography ports as such. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy in thinking that they were using the wrong terminology.

Jul 19 13 07:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 404
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Laurence Moan wrote:

Okay let's get hypothetical...

You're at Disneyland with your main squeeze and the Mad Hatter shows up. You ask a bystander to take a picture of you and your lady with the MH. Is that a selfie?

Here's another...
You're at Disneyland with your main squeeze and the Mad Hatter shows up. You ask a bystander to take a picture of you and your lady with the MH. It turns out that bystander is Annie Leibovitz. Is that a selfie or an original AL? Who gets the rights?

cool

If you had the camera on a tripod and were using the person as nothing more than a meat shutter release, it's a self portrait. If the person pressing the button isn't actually doing anything, like lining up the shot or focusing, then I could consider it a self shot picture, because really what's the difference between a wireless trigger and some person pushing the button with no input? If you simply hand the camera off to them and let them line up the shot and take it, no.

Jul 19 13 08:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Al Lock Photography
Posts: 15,832
Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand


MC Seoul Photography wrote:

If you had the camera on a tripod and were using the person as nothing more than a meat shutter release, it's a self portrait. If the person pressing the button isn't actually doing anything, like lining up the shot or focusing, then I could consider it a self shot picture, because really what's the difference between a wireless trigger and some person pushing the button with no input? If you simply hand the camera off to them and let them line up the shot and take it, no.

http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/bern … wo001.html

Republic of Korea is a signatory

Jul 19 13 08:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,326
Glens Falls, New York, US


Laurence Moan wrote:

Okay let's get hypothetical...

You're at Disneyland with your main squeeze and the Mad Hatter shows up. You ask a bystander to take a picture of you and your lady with the MH. Is that a selfie?

Here's another...
You're at Disneyland with your main squeeze and the Mad Hatter shows up. You ask a bystander to take a picture of you and your lady with the MH. It turns out that bystander is Annie Leibovitz. Is that a selfie or an original AL? Who gets the rights?

cool

Doesn't matter who the photographer is.  If someone else is responsible for even some of the creative aspect of the work, then it is legally a collaboration.  I'll let other people hammer out how much is "some of the creative aspect," but at they very least, any time you're not using a tripod, any button-clicker could potentially be found to have creative input.  So if the person is anything other than a cable release, it's not a self-portrait.

Doesn't the name really sum it all up?  Honestly, I fail to see the confusion.  It doesn't have to be a literal portrait - you can take a photo of your dirty dishes, and claim it's a self-portrait.  But you do have to take the photo yourself, or without outside help - it's right there in the term itself, for God's sake.

Jul 19 13 09:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 404
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Al Lock Photography wrote:

http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/bern … wo001.html

Republic of Korea is a signatory

and?
It doesn't change how I'd feel about calling something like that a self-portrait. If the person pushing the button has zero creative input, you're going to have a hard time making the case. Heck, I could even tell them not to look through the view finder. This was a discussion of what we'd consider a self-portrait in terms of someone being able to say "This was a self-portrait". If someone sets up everything, and uses a wireless trigger or says to some life-support system for a hand "push that button"
there really isn't much difference. The hand support system, for whatever reason, might be able to try and pull out the berne convention, but good luck with that.

beyond that, I wouldn't put much stock in the things that Korea has signed. Korean laws barely apply here.

Jul 20 13 03:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Al Lock Photography
Posts: 15,832
Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand


MC Seoul Photography wrote:

and?
It doesn't change how I'd feel about calling something like that a self-portrait. If the person pushing the button has zero creative input, you're going to have a hard time making the case. Heck, I could even tell them not to look through the view finder. This was a discussion of what we'd consider a self-portrait in terms of someone being able to say "This was a self-portrait". If someone sets up everything, and uses a wireless trigger or says to some life-support system for a hand "push that button"
there really isn't much difference. The hand support system, for whatever reason, might be able to try and pull out the berne convention, but good luck with that.

beyond that, I wouldn't put much stock in the things that Korea has signed. Korean laws barely apply here.

Your opinion is immaterial. LEGALLY, if someone else has actuated the shutter, they are the copyright holder (in full or part) and it isn't a "self-portrait".

Jul 20 13 03:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,083
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


I had a discussion of that question with another photographer at the studio about a month ago, after a man phoned and left a voice message saying he wanted us to do "one of them self-portraits" of him.

We decided that he probably wanted us to set up a background and some lights and leave him alone with a camera.

Technically, though, a self-portrait is a portrait shot (or possibly drawn or painted) by the subject of the photo, drawing, painting, etc..
Jul 20 13 04:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,326
Glens Falls, New York, US


Al Lock Photography wrote:
Your opinion is immaterial. LEGALLY, if someone else has actuated the shutter, they are the copyright holder (in full or part) and it isn't a "self-portrait".

Actually, it is still a self-portrait.  It's a self-portrait that someone else may own the copyright to, but it's still a self-portrait, so long as the other person had no creative input.

Who made the photo is not the same thing as who owns the photo.

Which means that the button clicker could claim ownership, sell prints (if they had a copy too), etc., but they could not claim sole credit; they would have to say, "Photo by button pusher and Al Lock."  But that's assuming that this person somehow had a copy of the original file, and you both felt like going to court over something that silly.

Jul 20 13 05:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
S K E L E T O N K E Y
Posts: 2,110
Louth, England, United Kingdom


My avatar is a selfportrait.
Jul 20 13 05:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Al Lock Photography
Posts: 15,832
Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand


Zack Zoll wrote:

Actually, it is still a self-portrait.  It's a self-portrait that someone else may own the copyright to, but it's still a self-portrait, so long as the other person had no creative input.

Who made the photo is not the same thing as who owns the photo.

Which means that the button clicker could claim ownership, sell prints (if they had a copy too), etc., but they could not claim sole credit; they would have to say, "Photo by button pusher and Al Lock."  But that's assuming that this person somehow had a copy of the original file, and you both felt like going to court over something that silly.

Go tell a Copyright lawyer that. When they finish laughing, come back.

Jul 20 13 07:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Eralar
Posts: 1,778
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada


Go tell a Copyright lawyer that. When they finish laughing, come back.

Let's say I'm the photographer setting a shoot of myself, and I ask someone else to trigger the shutter.

Then let's say I sign a contract with that person allowing me to use the pictures, but where there is no mention of changing the intellectual property of the pictures in question, thus making that other person the copyright holder.

In that case, can you show me any law that would keep me from inserting that picture in my portfolio, with the mention "self portrait"?

From my understanding, this is what this thread is about.

Jul 20 13 07:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Guss W
Posts: 10,581
Clearwater, Florida, US


Carlos Occidental wrote:
...
The lighting can be set up by anyone.  It's the person that clicks the shutter, or trips the shutter that is the "photographer" for that shot.  Nobody cares who sets up the lighting.

I wish Yousuf Karsh were around to respond to that.
I guess I should have skipped all those lighting classes.

Jul 20 13 07:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RKD Photographic
Posts: 3,265
Iserlohn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany


Al Lock Photography wrote:

Your opinion is immaterial. LEGALLY, if someone else has actuated the shutter, they are the copyright holder (in full or part) and it isn't a "self-portrait".

Not if you're an 'employed photographer' - none of the photos I took when working for HM Armed Forces 'belong' to me though I am now allowed to use them for self-promotion - all of those images are HM Crown Copyright. That is, the copyright belongs to the British Government.

Same thing applies if you're a stipendiary newspaper Staff Photographer - the publication owns the copyright (freelancers will come to individual arrangements).

Jul 20 13 07:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cosplay Creatives
Posts: 10,714
Amundsen-Scott - permanent station of the US, Unclaimed Sector, Antarctica


It's like biography and autobiography.  The difference in that is that the biography about someones life is written by someone other than the one is being written about.  The autobiography is the life story written by the person it is being written about.

Same in terms of self portrait, taking in the word "self" into account.  If someone else paints you, then it is a portrait; where if you paint a picture of yourself, it is a self portrait.
Jul 20 13 08:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Schlake
Posts: 2,337
Socorro, New Mexico, US


This seems well covered already, but...

The definition I think most applies is a picture composed and dressed by the subject.  Another way to say it is the person getting the picture taken has 100% artistic control.  That means the subject chooses the camera position and doesn't leave it up to the actual photographer.

Typically the subject would use a timer and a tripod to take the picture themselves, but there are times and places that a real person needs to hit the button.  If that button pusher is exactly that, just a button pusher, then it's a self portrait of the subject.
Jul 20 13 08:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,326
Glens Falls, New York, US


Al Lock Photography wrote:

Go tell a Copyright lawyer that. When they finish laughing, come back.

You're clearly confusing artistry with ownership.  They are not the same thing.

Say Bob Dylan writes a song about you, and even calls it "Al Lock."  You get zero creative credit, and he wrote the song, so he gets the copyright.  You can sue for damages( possibly including shared copyright ownership) because he used your "likeness", but there is absolutely no way that you could make a case that anyone other than Bob Dylan wrote that song ... and no matter what the award, Dylan will still have at least a partial creative credit for the lyrics, even if he loses all copyrights in the lawsuit - because of course he will, he wrote them.

Now say the lyrics were all things that you said to Dylan.  You'd have a creative credit, because you directly influenced the song.  But you don't get a copyright credit, because you can't copyright a conversation.  The song would say, "Lyrics by Bob Dylan and Al Lock," but Dylan or his record company would be the sole owners of the song.  Again, unless you sued for likeness damages.

Lastly, if Dylan took all the lyrics off your blog, then you would get a creative credit, AND have a copyright claim.  You actually wrote those words down, and you CAN copyright text - especially something that has been "published" and has an IP address linked to it.  If all the lyrics were from a single post, read in order, then you'd get full creative credit for the lyrics; if they were spliced together from a variety of posts, Dylan could claim a creative credit for the lyrics too, as he "edited" them.  But in either case, Dylan would STILL have at least a copyright claim, because he wrote the music.  Even if you wrote the music too, and Dylan has no copyright claim at all, he still gets a creative claim, as an arranger for choosing that music for that text.

And that version of the song, on that record, is still copyright Bob Dylan/his record company, even if the song itself is owned by you.  You can license your lyrics and let other people sing it, and he can't - but every time the Dylan version gets downloaded on iTunes, Dylan gets paid.  Maybe you do too, but he definitely does.

To put it another way:  the FSA photos are all public domain.  You can download, print, and distribute as many copies of Migrant Mother as you want.  But it's still a Dorothea Lange image, and the copyright is held by the US Government.  So if you credit that photo as anything other that Dorothea Lange, the Government, FSA, Department of the Interior(I think)or anything similar, it's illegal.  If you credit the photo as the authour(Lange) or the copyright holder(FSA, etc.), then you can do whatever you want with it.

But it's all a silly discussion, since the button-pusher is extremely unlikely to have a copy of the original file, which will make a lawsuit pretty difficult.

Jul 20 13 03:04 pm  Link  Quote 
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