To give (or take) credit where credit is due…

Ok, for those who didn’t know, I’m a photographer.  Not the “it’s-my-job-and-I-make-a-living-out-of-it” photographer, but a decent one with an extensive portfolio.  I love helping out other artists, be it music bands or fashion designers, and I barely ever charge a monetary compensation.  Just for the love of art.

Now enter the band called Copeland (check out their Facebook page).  This is a band I discovered in 2004 when I was starting to do concert photography and I fell in love with their music.  You can see photos of that first concert here.   Then, about 2 and a half years ago (March 2007 to be exact), they came again to do a concert with another band and I took that opportunity to resume my photography career, which I had been put on hold with the birth of my son. You can view the results here.

A couple of months later, on September 30th, James, the original bassist of the band who’s now the graphist (I guess that’s who you call it) of the band contacted me.  He had found and kept several of the pictures I had taken of the band and wanted to know if he could use them.  As a photographer, there is no greater reward that to see your work being used/published with your permission (aka not stolen). Yes getting compensation is fun but to me, recognition is even better. So it stays dead, no more news nor update.  As they say, life goes on and I kind of forgot about this whole deal.

Fast forward a couple of months, around Christmas time… I go to the music store to do some “sight seeing” and I find THE album… we’re talking about Dressed Up & In Line from Copeland.  It all comes back flashing in my head… the photo request!!  I buy the CD immediately.  I come home, open the casing, take the booklet out (as I do for all the CDs I buy) and start looking at it.  What do I find ?… (click on the image just underneath)

THEY USED 3 OF MY PHOTHOS !!!! Not only that, but other than the cover photo, the only color photos present are MINE.  All th other black & white photos are from other sources.  To be honest, I felt like I just won the lottery. (note: in case you didn’t figure it out, the pictures outlined in green are mine)

So I quickly turn the booklet around to search the the credits and/or thanks section that usually goes with the booklet…


The only credit found is for the front cover photo!  You can’t believe how pissed I was afterward.  But being the person that I am, I didn’t stay pissed for long.  I mean, sure I would have liked to get my name and website address in there and it would have been nice.  But it’s not my philosophy to hold a grudge.  I mean this guys had it hard… I mean real hard.  They were “released” from a deal with a major label before even getting 1 album out with them.  I even heard they had bunch of their gear stolen (don’t know if true) and to tell thing as it is… they may not be starving artists, but they’re no U2 or Rolling Stones.

So, what did I do you might say?  I swallowed it and procrastinated (as I often do) but I decided to change that today!  Now is the time that I come out and claim what is my little 2 minutes of “fame”.  Looking back now, almost 2 years after, I often ask myself  “Would I do the things the same way?”  I most probably would with small difference that I would have not waited that long to talk about it.  I think that there is a room where artists of different spheres (music, photography, painting, etc.) can easily (and freely) help each other by cross-promoting each other.  And because most of the time we do that free of charge, it’s important not to leave anyone behind.

With all that said and done, I invite you all who survived through my lenghty post to go check the band out (here’s their Wikipedia page) and to encourage them by buying their music.

You can find their stuff on iTunes, Amazon (both .ca and .com), bunch of other online retailers and also to your nearest local music store.

Oh and by the way guys, (by that I mean Aaron, Bryan, Jonathan & Stephen) next time your up in Montreal (can’t believe it’s been almost 3 years since last time), you owe me one. :-p

P.S. Ne soyez pas surpris de voir que ce post est en anglais.  Il m’est souvent arrivé (moins récemment) de passer d’une langue à l’autre.  De plus, vu que les gens concernés par le sujet sont anglophones, je voulais m’assurer que le message soit bien perçu.
  1. @Aaron: The oversight was my hypothesis. Deep down, I knew you guys didn’t mean to be rip me off (nor the other photographers). As for compensation, I’m not seeking any monetary returns… As I said, my opinion is that recognition farther than money. I prefer to be known for what I do than being rich and lonely in a dark remote place. Let’s call that moral compensation 🙂 Lastly, regarding the TMG issue, it sucks. I have worked with bands here in Montreal that got a similar treatment (and they were the best selling band of the province). It seems, sadly, to be a recurring theme in the music industry (though I don’t know you guys’ story details).

    @Sean: My hoster seems to be having DNS issues these days, you can try later and it should work fin.

  2. Hey. I saw your article via a post on twitter. I’m really sorry that your credit wasn’t included. It was a simple oversight. James didn’t show us the center section of the artwork. He knew we would love it and wanted to keep it a surprise for when we opened the final product. Before the product went to manufacturing, I wrote all the text myself and turned it in to James with the photo credit of the only photo that I knew was being used (which was the cover image). It seems he just dropped the text into the layout and forgot to add credits for the photos I didn’t know about. Someone should have caught it before it went to printing, but they didn’t.

    On the issue of compensation, if it makes you feel any better, no one was compensated for their part on this record, not James, not the band. TMG (the label who released it) has kept every last dime from the sale of the record for themselves so far.

    Anyway, We love the photos. They really make the layout and we totally owe you one.


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