Some call it “genius trolling” while others claim copyright infringement.
Recently, making rounds on the Internet is the story of an artist who lifted photos from Instagram, printed them out on large canvases, put them up on display at a gallery in New York City, and sold a few to even as much as $90,000 apiece.
Richard Prince has always been known as a famous “re-photographer”, snapping pictures out of magazines, ads, books, or headshots; altering them a bit; and then selling them at a hefty price tag.
The recent incident once again stirred up controversy to Prince’s rather controversial career. He had legal troubles in the past when he was sued by French photographer Patrick Cariou after Prince re-photographed Cariou’s images of Jamaica’s Rastafarian community. However, that ended with Prince winning the lawsuit since the court said there was no copyright infringement as Prince’s work we dubbed as “transformative”.
Apparently, he can make a few tweaks here and there, and then call the photos his own.
One of the owners of the photos put up on display reacted not with a lawsuit but with a massive discount. Selena Mooney, founder of SuicideGirls (online community for pin-up models), released a statement saying that they are going to sell the exact same prints not for $90,000 but for $90.
According to Mashable, Mooney told them:
He thinks he’s being clever and maybe he is starting a discussion, but the individuals in his images were genuinely hurt because to them, their Instagram is something personal and they feel they own.
Other Instagram users also posted their sentiments:
So like we’re some fancy NYC art now? I’m just imagining hipsters all drinking wine and having intellectual conversations in front this photo @chavezwho took of @sabbbrre and I last year, stolen straight from my Instagram page. Idk man kinda trippy…
Figured I might as well post this since everyone is texting me. Yes, my portrait is currently displayed at the Frieze Gallery in NYC. Yes, it’s just a screenshot (not a painting) of my original post. No, I did not give my permission and yes, the controversial artist Richard Prince put it up anyway. It’s already sold ($90K I’ve been told) during the VIP preview. No, I’m not gonna go after him. And nope, I have no idea who ended up with it! #lifeisstrange #modernart #wannabuyaninstagrampicture
What do you think of this?
Do you think it’s copyright infringement or not?
If you were one of the Instagram users whose photo was lifted, how would you feel about it?
Share your thoughts/opinions with us.