Archive for February 2012

Creative Commons license for Florian's photos

The macro photo gallery now features photographs without watermarks and right-click protection. You are welcome to use and share all photographs on floriansphotos as long as it is for non-commercial purposes without modification of the original artwork and with attribution to Florian Freimoser and www.floriansphotos.com.

I have indicated in an earlier post (a thorn in my side) that I may remove the watermarks and change the copyright status of my photographs sometime. Watermarks, copy protections and copyright statements are a reflex action to prevent that others profit commercially from your work without your consent. However, as with many things, there are two sides to the story. Restricting access and limiting online distribution of my photographs certainly harms the goal to show my photographs online to as many people as possible. Therefore, I have become interested in Creative Commons and I am now putting all my photographs under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. This license is symbolized with the following button:

Creative Commons License

BY = Attribution: Florian Freimoser and www.floriansphotos.com must be acknowledged with each photograph.

NC = Non-commercial: The photographs are free to be used for private and non-commercial purposes only. If you are in doubt about the meaning of what "non-commercial" means, if you would like to license a photograph for commercial use or if you want to acquire a limited-edition print, please contact me. I am very understanding and flexible to provide a license that will suit your needs.

ND = No derivative work: You are not allowed to modify my photographs in any form without my explicit written consent. Again, I am flexible and likely to welcome your plan, but I want to be informed about the intended modification and the context in which my work will be exhibited.

This creative commons license permits, for example, the use of my photographs for blog posts, online articles, for school or university projects or the personal use as a desktop background of your monitor. The term "commercial" is not clearly defined. If in doubt whether or not your use is considered commercial, please contact me. Examples of commercial use are marketing, fund-rising or advertisement campaigns for profit or non-profit organizations, use on commercial webpages or prints for private or public display. All photographs are available for commercial licensing and, in very limited availability, as custom made classical photo prints in finishing and sizes of your choice. If you are interested, please inquire about a commercial license or prints. Likewise, please contact me if you require a larger version of a photograph or if you would like to create a derivative work of one of the photographs. The license does not allow creation of derivative work from my photographs, but depending on your project I may allow such use.

I have been thinking and reading about creative commons for photography and sharing for a while. Trey Ratcliff is a very fervent proponent of creative commons licensing and I have high regards for his open approach and honest communication. Chris Folsom has also convincingly defended Creative Commons for photographers and many more photographers and websites use Creative Commons. Flickr is famous for its creative commons licensing (and certainly also profits hugely from it) and the BY-NC-ND license is the second most frequently chosen license at the moment. On the other hand, critical voices proclaim that Creative Commons does not fit and neither make sense for photography and even presume and suggest that photographers hate Creative Commons. Obviously, I do not share these views.

I hope that some of you appreciate the more open display or at least the disappearance of the watermarks.

Have a great week!

2012/02/26 by Florian Freimoser
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In praise of amateurship

Blue mountain ridges in Switzerland by an amateur photographer

This post is an example for how one thing leads to another. It all started with me watching the movie "Hoselupf" about the swiss national sport Schwingen. The presenter, Beat Schlatter, expresses his surprise about the friendliness and respectfuleness even among the fiercest opponents and concludes that the amateurship of the sportsmen (and women) is the reason for the cordial terms among them (all Schwingers are obliged to go after a regular profession, even though some pursue their sport like competitive athletes and earn a substantial income). This made me think about amateurship (if you can, you should really read the german amateur entry in Wikipedia, it is much more elaborate and detailed).

It turns out that amateur is an old french word that originated from latin and means a lover of something. Interestingly, even in dictionaries this original meaning has been translated into "one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science" or "a person inexperienced or unskilled in a particular activity". A person who loved the thing she was doing has been degraded to an inexperienced or even unskilled person. Clearly, amateur has become a synonym for incompetence, ignorance and low quality and standards. Amateur is completely passé and the adjective of the day is PROFESSIONAL. Everybody and everything has to be professional nowadays. For example, you can brush your teeth with professional toothpaste (when I looked it was sold out though) or read about professional beauty, but best of all, nowadays even the amateurs are professional; so called Pro-Ams (the term has been coined by Charles Leadbeater, whose TED talk on innovation mentions pro-ams at 8:20).

The designation amateur seems to be so frowned upon that people start to invent all sorts of new terms for disguise (including pro-am). I find this funny, interesting, sad and just ridiculous all at the same time. In photography, enthusiast or hobbyist are popular titles, although amateurs seem to exist as well - usually in a lower category. An interesting group are the prosumers, which are almost professional photographers; at least with respect to their equipment. However, prosumers are more interested in equipment than actual photography and therefore particularly prone to develop compulsive camera buying syndrom (CCBS). In my humble opinion, the title amateur fits most photographers well. Even many self-acclaimed professional photographers are amateurs as well - not because I do not appreciate their photography, but rather because they may be professional workshop organizers, sales representatives or public relation managers. As long as they photograph for themselves, neither for a client nor an employer, they earn and deserves the title amateur photographer.

This text was intended as a molehill but became a mountain. I learned about amateurs, professionals and pro-ams but still do not care for titles very much. All I wanted to say is that being a lover of the things you do is one of the greatest things that can happen to you. I would like to end my essay with five statements that I think are important. In my opinion, an amateur photographer...
  • ... photographs just because she wants to and loves to.
  • ... is neither employed nor commissioned to photograph.
  • ... can have any level of experience or skill.
  • ... may or may not have received a formal education in photography.
  • ... may or may not earn money with her photographs.
Have a great day!

2012/02/19 by Florian Freimoser
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My treasures: Jacques Rime

Running flock of chamoises, Jacques Rime

It has been a while since I last shared one of my treasures with you. Here I would like to call your attention to Jacques Rime. I know Mr. Rime through the wonderful chamoise lithography depicted above. We traveled from Zurich to Les artisanes in Fribourg in order to buy a copy of Jacques Rime's running flock of chamoises, but unfortunately, it was not among the lithographies and paintings at disposition. Luckily, the helpful shop assistant immediately called Mr. Rimes and discovered that only an artist's proof was left, which was sent to us together with an invoice a few days later (of course without prepayment or anything; this is Switzerland after all). Ever since, the fugitive chamoises decorate our living room and please us every day.
Jacques Rime is a swiss nature artist who paints and creates lithographies (some examples can be seen here) of wild animals that he observes and studies in woods and mountains in the canton of Fribourg. Mr. Rime seems almost as seclusive as his favorite animal, the lynx. He hast studied and followed this shy and secretive feline for more than 20 years and published some of his observations, drawings and paintings in the book La nuit le lynxwhich looks wonderful but is unfortunately not available anymore. Jacque Rime has also illustrated children's books of the Jeunesse Faune Sauvage series on the wood grouse, the bear, the fox and the lynx. Jacques Rime's fascination for the lynx and passion for nature are certainly conveyed best by himself and therefore I suggest to watch the short (1 min 8 s) movie below (there is also a second and a third part - all three are in French though). If you have more time and want to learn more about Jacques Rime and the art of animal observation you may also watch THIS documentary on Jacque Rime (it dates from 1977!). 

2012/02/07 by Florian Freimoser
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In memoriam of my XPAN

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA eXPANded mighty Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2001

This is both a nostalgic and a relieved post. This week I have sold my XPAN. I know that this is not a big deal to many and cameras are being sold and resold all the time. But since I am not really a salesperson, for me such projects take energy and time to ripen. I have actually received the XPAN on a special occasion in 2000 and have used and enjoyed it regularly to photograph natural beauty at the beginning. Then, I took a general children and work related photography break. For a couple of years I mostly used early digital cameras to photograph our children and family adventures. Since a few years I have restarted "real" photography again, but only in the digital realm. With digital capture it is much easier and cheaper to try and compare different compositions and therefore I take many more photographs that I would not take with an analog camera. This workflow suits me much better than photography on rolls of film.
I really loved using the XPAN though; the well built and solid body, the smoothly focusing lens, the limitation to only the few really necessary buttons and levers and of course the wide wide format. On the other hand, I never completely taken in the rangefinder concept (also but not only because I did not use the camera often enough). I have realized over the years that I really want the option of a versatile zoom lens, use telephoto lenses much more frequently than normal or wide angle glass and really appreciate the conveniences of digitally capturing photographs. To cut to the chase: I ended up using my XPAN very very rarely. Since for me an unused but functioning piece of equipment is not only a wasted luxury but also a burden, I sold it and am thus relieved. From now on, I am completely digital (except for an old Canon body that I keep and two Konica cameras that I should also give to a more appreciative user or tinkerer).
Contrary to my normal habit, here I post a whole series of photographs - a small collection of some of my preferred XPAN photographs. I have already shown autumnal blueberries in an earlier post, which have also been taken with the XPAN. 

I hope you enjoy and wish you a nice weekend!
Florian.

Fern pattern, Maryland, 2001

Mason Neck State Park, Virginia, 2002

Autumnal floor pattern, Maryland, 2001

White clouds and red maples in Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia, 2001

Yellow cab and blooming cherries, New York City, 2001

eXPANded nightly view from Empire State Building, New York City, 2001

2012/02/05 by Florian Freimoser
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