Civil Rights for Photographers too

It’s some while since I last mentioned a post from the New York Times Lens blog, which publishes something of interest most days.

Today’s story, A Look at the Heart-Wrenching Moments From Equal Rights Battles, comes with a slide show of 18 amazing images, many of which have become well-known. One of the most striking of them shows a row of Memphis sanitation workers and supporters walking with posters ‘I AM A MAN’ (and one man without) past a row of the fixed bayonets of the Tennessee National Guard fixed bayonets  in 1968. What upsets me somewhat is that the picture is not attributed.

It isn’t the fault of Lens. I’ve searched the web and not found any better attribution than ‘Unknown photographer’, though I’m sure that there are still people out there who were on Beale St in 1968 and will know who took it. Probably it would be a name none of us have heard of, perhaps an amateur, perhaps a press photographer ‘working for hire’. It might be someone who had good reasons to keep their name out of it.

But generally I think photographs should always be attributed to the photographer. It annoys me that some of my pictures have been published as by Alamy or Corbis or some other agency and without my name, or with no name at all. Many pictures that I know who they were taken by have been published as if Hulton or Getty was a photographer – and the civil rights image is published as if it was by Bettmann Collection/Getty Images.

3 Responses to “Civil Rights for Photographers too”

    • ChrisL says:

      Actually now I check a different viewpoint/photographer, given up now :-)

      • Yes, I spent quite a lot of time, starting with an image search on Google and finding many uses of it, most not attributed at all, a few to Bettman/Getty. Tried text searching too.

        At least ‘unknown photograph’ – from the New Statesman I think – shows they realised there was a photographer involved!

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