Ottawa Grocery Store opening coverage. YIG Massines.

When we got the call to quote on shooting the launch of our neighbourhood grocery store we were thrilled. First, because we had been shopping there for 40 years and second because we got a sneak peak at the new lighting, displays and layout. Good for you Massines.

Oh…Maple and Bacon President`s Choice Popcorn….yes please.

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When Image Theft, Fake News and Hate collide…

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Couvrette Photography has a 40 year history in Ottawa….   Sadly, the theft of our images has doubled every year since the advent of the internet.

“The camera never lies” is a very, very old saying, but images still lend credibility and have the power to do great good and great harm.

The following images  were recently taken  from our site and social media page illegally. This is not about “sharing” on social media. This is about theft and sometimes it is about something far worse…

Actual Examples….

♦ A family photograph from our site that was used on Awkward Family Photographs to mock the children of an Ottawa family. It resulted in them being bullied at school…(we issued a forced takedown)

♦ An image of a prominent politician used illegally and affixed with wording that vilified this person. FYI the culprits are the Conservative Party of Canada.

♦ An  image of a well known Ottawa woman whose wedding photograph was used on a DVD cover.

♦ An engagement portrait used by local radio station CHEZ to mock a Chinese client and his wife. (the image is too vile to repost here)

♦ A wedding photograph of one of Canada`s most well known couples..used in a feature  on Russian  mail order brides that we forced them to take down. (complete and total fabrication…she is neither Russian nor mail order.)

♦ Literally hundreds of our wedding images, lifted from our website and used to represent a number of local and even International photographers work.

♦ Our case against Boom FM regarding our unique image of 24 Sussex that was recently settled in court. (We were originally offered…ahem…a verbal apology)

 

These are but a few of the cases.  There are more that we have ignored over the years, in part because of time constraints. Our site has the strongest legal wording one can post, yet the thefts go on. In these times of seemingly increasing hate and fake news, we will not stand idly by….

Given that most photographers have a short lifespan in Ottawa and have minimal resources and interest it would seem in protecting their clients, it could be that many people are simply not aware of the potential problems. Sweeping this issue under the rug is irresponsible…We defend our clients and our industry.

 

The general public seems to not understand the implications of all this. We all lose the value of sharing our images on social media every time another person steals another image and frankly, it is becoming rampant. It can happen to you on a business level or a personal level and once it goes viral, no amount of outrage will make you feel any better.  From politics to your own snaps of your kids, little seems sacred these days to theft and misinformation.

We have laws against this….it is time people acted, spoke up and stopped this trend. We should all be careful and stand up to these bullies and thieves….

Given that our images have been online for 20 years, our studio is literally the “canary in the coal mine”.

It can happen to you…it may have already happened.

 

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A few years ago I had a short conversation with Ottawa Citizen writer/photographer Caroline Phillips about the future of the industry.  My dire prognostications may have seemed out of place back then…but today I learned that her column is soon to be terminated.

Humour me with reading a little background if you will. My first job was delivering the Ottawa Citizen.  I went on to earn an Honours degree in Journalism from Carleton.  My career included working as a freelancer and shooting covers for Time and Macleans.  I was a pioneer on the web and  introduced the digital camera to Canada as National Spokesperson for the digital industry in 1998.  I then spent a decade in the boardrooms at Nortel, shooting Corporate Communications and watching as it all came crashing down. But enough about what colors my views…

Caroline is a talented photographer, but more than that, her column on Ottawa`s social scene was the glue that not only supported the social and charity scene…it was in fact a major component in the glue that held the Citizen together.  That glue is now gone and every day I see great journalists and photogs leap or be thrown overboard from that sinking ship as well as every other ship in the Postmedia fleet.  Anyone who still believes this will end well should have a chat with the Citizen`s Bagnall who has written some brilliant work on how a large corporation like Nortel behaves in its final days.

 

For better or for worse, many Ottawans contribute to charity for the PR and the Citizen has dealt a blow to this community. As most charities now know, LIKES on Facebook bring on slactivism and noble causes in our community will undoubtedly suffer from the lack of exposure Caroline brought to our city.

The current mileu was predicted by everyone from McLuhan to Tapscott and the causes are many. Digital tech has both bettered our physical world and disrupted the core of our cultural world. Between Walmartization and Digitization we have a generation of consumers who can justify buying photography services or watching movies by viewing them on a two inch screen. Social media has not helped. Anyone can become a keyboard Global Warming expert or swirl rapidly into outrage and downright hate.  When one of the pillars of our system, the Fifth Estate, begins to crumble we lose in the end.

 

On the other hand,  the majority of media has sunk to clickbait and scandal in a fruitless attempt to keep readers as their Empires become penny stocks being arbitraged by US junkbond dealers. These dinosaurs have lost the battle and their feifdoms are being carved up by smaller media companies with cottage industry costs and freebie apprenticeship writers looking for a credit or a coffee mug. Bring on a legion of bloggers and few squadrons of vanity publications and the Empire is lost…The barbarians are not only at the gates, they are inside our homes.

Let the Age of UnEnlightenment begin…and please call me when it`s over.

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Ottawa Architectural Photography.

No matter how hi tech cameras get, they are still just tools of the trade.

The top image is straight out of the camera, the bottom involved a number of tricks of the trade from
exposure to Photoshop in order to show the property off to its fullest. Yes, the top one is kind of arty…but the bottom one will sell the house.

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Ottawa Photography Studio Rental.

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We are the sole rental studio in the core of Centretown Ottawa and at 2500 sq ft, the largest. The studio is housed on the ground floor of our 4200sq ft building which means easy access for props, gear and yes, even motorcycles. This shoot for the Rideau Centre involved talent from Montreal and Toronto.

Our fave rentals include the Dove Real Women campaign, a series of shoots with Bryan Adams and yes…the Rolling Stones Streets of Love video.

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http://www.couvrette-photography.on.ca/studiorental.html

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Krumper Blinds/ Editorial and Product Photography.

 

We shot these editorial images for Ottawa Life and really enjoyed the challenge of capturing these fascinating tech wonders. I was so impressed, I installed them in my own home. How is that for a testimonial.

Frankly, I am surprised that we spend so much time talking about how to regulate the process of extracting energy and so little time researching how we can save so much energy in our everyday lives. This product should be in every Canadian home. Good work Krumper.

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Ottawa Business Headshots.

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Business headshots…we do a lot of them.

We have the largest selection of backgrounds in the city, the biggest studio in the core and a repution for over 40 years of quality and service. We have lots of parking and yet we are five minutes from Parliament Hill.

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Ottawa Riverkeeper Gala 2016

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Tim and I shot these at the annual Riverkeeper Gala on a beautiful summer evening in Ottawa. These are just a few of the hundred we shot, but they give you a flavor of this great event whose goal it is to help clean up our river.

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Copyright in the Digital Age.

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We recently settled a much publicized case against one of the largest media companies in Canada. Terms of the settlement are legally confidential, but some aspects will become apparent in the coming weeks…

The incident was one of thousands that happen every day in music, photography, writing and art.

Sharing or using an image by a person who earns a living in the photography business when it is ”  copied from their website is not a right and simply not legal. Unlike sharing on social media, our site has copyright terms listed. We earn a substantial fee by licensing our work as stock photography worldwide. Companies, even those with strict policies against image theft, need to be ever vigilant or face legal costs, financial penalties and the PR outrage of artists.

This same law is all that stands between the average Canadian and those who would steal your images and publish them for their own benefit or against your better interests.

Copyright  starts with the creator. The digital age with all its wonders has done substantially  more damage to artists than good. In the photography industry, work is illegally downloaded and used daily, from scenics to food shots and even family and wedding photographs. Aside from affecting income, it can and has defiled the privacy of clients.  We now live in a culture of theft that children have , through no fault of their own , been raised to think of as normal.

The dark secret behind the internet is that the majority of artists are victims of a system that makes tech billionaires from the talent of artists with little or no compensation to the creators. Social media`s content and currency is art published with the hope of exposure…but the catch it that exposure on social media is one of the least powerful marketing tools in the business world.  To add to the dilemma, Google Image Search Engine results are merely scraped off the websites of artists looking to show their work. Use them at your own risk!

In the digital world, the users personal information is the product and then the user is the ad target of this supposedly free medium. Ads per second are actually double what they were on that ancient medium…television. A perfect storm indeed but one that hints of a dystopian future. Instagram, with 100 million users was sold to Facebook for roughly one billion dollars and employed a dozen people while Kodak at its peak employed 150,000. The direction of so called “disruptive technologies” is as apparent in the workforce as it is on artists, or as the tech world snidely calls them, “content providers”. The economic model of the “sharing culture” is simply not sustainable and does more to dash the hopes of artists than support them.

We live in a civilized society because of laws about rights that were hard fought over centuries. They are the cornerstone of  how our economy works. Our action in pursuing  this lawsuit was about the value people believe they can arbitrarily place on an artist`s work. In the age of sharing, that amount  decreases every time an artist allows work to be used without compensation that they alone decide is fair. Sadly the floodgates are open and artists with little power or chutzpah are drowning in the internet ocean.

Companies work on precedents and set policies based on law. Neither the outrage I see on photo forums nor #BooHooHoo are industry changing actions. Legal actions, on the other hand, change history…Artists who trade their work for exposure, peer respect or Facebook likes are the walking dead of the art world.

To be a successful artist, you need three things…talent, business sense and courage.

Lead, follow or get out of the way.

http://www.couvrette-photography.on.ca/Terms2.html

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Riverkeeper Gala / Ottawa Event Photography

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