Ekphrasis and Copyright

Ekphrasis or ecphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, ‘out’ and ‘speak’ respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name.

That’s a new word for me! But I love learning new words, especially those of Greek origin, and as I often have trouble appreciating visual art (like a painting or picture), a dramatic description is a good thing to have! Day 5 of HAWMC invovles using Flickr’s “explore” function to generate a work to dramatically describe, and you can see the result above. What’s interesting, however, is that this flickr tool really only cycles through about ten different images over and over, including this one, which I honestly don’t think merits the acclaim it has on the page. This elephant shot is pretty boss though!

The photo above, “Untitled,” was taken by Rachel Bellinsky, a photographer based out of San Diego. It’s a beautiful shot, and evokes color, passion, and an appreciation for what the earth can yield. While it has been edited digitally, it is nonetheless a gorgeous photo. Bellinsky should be applauded for the photo, and I would be the first to state that her other photos are indeed just as grand. So, why, then, does it cost an astounding $125 to license this photo at a resolution of 700 by 500 pixels? That’s beyond me. Getty Images, in conjunction with flickr, allows one to make such a deal, and while I’m no professional photographer, I would love to hear some justification of this price (for a high-res version it’s $325).

As far as I can tell, all of the photos through flickr’s “explore” tool are copyrighted, some without even a licensing option. Are we that protective of our work that a friendly share on another’s blog is outlawed? Art can inspire, art is passion, and that’s something to be shared, not kept on a single elite site. Talk of copyright reminds me Crimethinc’s “N©! license” which states:

The publishers, the notorious CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective, humbly put this book and all its contents at the disposal of those who, in good faith, might read, circulate, plagiarize, revise, and otherwise make use of them in the course of making the world a better place.

Possession, reproduction, transmission, excerpting, introduction as evidence in court and all other applications by any corporation, government body, security organization, or similar party of evil intent are strictly prohibited and punishable under natural law.

So, all that being said: this is where my “writer’s challenge” is…challenging! Day 4 was skipped “why I write about my health…” but that’s pretty clear: because it matters, and I want to inspire others! Day 5 is here, but late, and Day 6 remains. HAWMC, I will conquer you, one way or another! Watch out.