Creation Vs. Curation: Why removing credit is bloody rude.

I've had quite a few issues of late, concerning my photographs being used on blogs without credit or source, and even having the images altered. I use the word blog, however I have found the main issue to stem from tumblr users, where text, tags and a source link can easily be removed, and the user claim ignorance. 


I find my images desaturated, cropped; even as much as a watermark (which I rarely use) blurred out. I often attempt to send a private polite-but-stern message to the owner of the blog, asking them to remove the offending image, or (in the case that it isn't altered) credit not only myself but everyone involved in the image. I also often receive polite replies back, either asking for my permission to keep the image up in it's altered state, or an understanding "whoops, sorry" and agreement to put the credit back on. 


Sometimes, I receive replies that are either rude or a 'thanks but no thanks', claiming they are a curator and their blog is their gallery space. To quote one particular response, "Art will always remain more important than its artist." This response in particular, and my upset reaction to it, became quite a talking point, with opinions from both other artists and non-creatives.


To put it simply, my opinion is: posting an image to a blog without listing it's source or correct credit is not curation. No matter how visually appealing your blog looks.


A recent article on Gizmodo discusses this issue, and whether self proclaimed curators actually have a clue. Mark writes, ""Curation" is an act performed by people with PhDs in art history; the business in which we're all engaged when we're tossing links around on the Internet is simple "sharing."" 


You have found something, somewhere on the Internet, and you are essentially doing the same as poking your friend in the ribs and pointing at your screen. You have not created something remarkable, nor have you got the right to render the original creator anonymous in your single act of removing their credit. A true curator would take pleasure in allowing others to discover more through their collection (which is exactly why the curators code has been set up by those who are probably more neurotic than I am - I do love their tagline "Keeping the rabbit hole of the Internet open by honouring discovery"), allowing their viewers to click link through to link through to link, gathering more tidbits of information as they go.


But why do I care? Surely I'm just being egotistical, right? A recent issue with another photographer/model, Morgana, has shown that picking and choosing images on the Internet to use wherever you like can get you in deep shit. Thanks to someone who decided to use Morgana's photo to liven up (forgive the pun) a website about serial killers, some dimwit at the Daily Mirror ended up printing the image as part of a "Women who kill" feature. Luckily this all worked out in the end but it perfectly illustrates why attribution is vital, especially for journalists that take everything at face value.


I'll finish off with nicking, err… I mean.. sharing, another quote from the Gizmodo article:

"If people want to be celebrated for being smart or for having exceptional taste that's all fine and good, everyone can go right on congratulating one another in their little mutual admiration societies. But please spare the rest of us all this moralizing on why we should be giving people who share links anywhere near the same amount of credit we afford that singularly special act of original content creation."