View Full Version : Question Re Referrence Photos

05-01-2003, 05:55 PM
I'm posting this here because being animal artists, I assume that many of you work from photos (unless you have some magic power that makes you subjects sit still),

I recently entered an amature art comp and had some of my drawings (of ballerinas, not animals) disqualified because I didn't actually take the photos myself, from which I'd done the drawings.

I'd gotten permission, via e-mail, to use my reference photos, but the judges opinion was that it was still not "original" work if it was copied from a photo taken by anyone else.

Has anyone else heard of this? I'm finding it very hard to take all my own original photos, especially of animals, that are good enough to use as reference material.

05-01-2003, 07:26 PM
I'm sorry to hear of this bad news. :crying: In my opinion, If this was an amature art show, I would find it discriminating to the fact that many amature artists use photos, & not always their own.
One of my questions is...did they ask to see the reference photos? If not, why tell them.

Our local art group hosts a spring show every year for it's members & we are all considered amatures. None of us sell art for a living, & yet many of us use other's photos for ideas. Of course this is a show, not a competition.

I hope this doesn't discourage you too much & too try again at another art show/competition.

05-01-2003, 08:27 PM
I recently entered an art show that specifically said in the write up that they would not accept artwork based on photos you did not take yourself. I assumed this was a fairly common practice and geared towards restricting copyright infringement.

05-01-2003, 09:19 PM
Here is the U.S., I, personally, have never heard of this before. Of course, any competition would disqualify a work of art that had a copyright infringement (and rightly so) but you had gotten permission to use your photo reference, so that was not the case. Not all artists are also good photographers. Some seek other people's photos to work from and as long as they have permission, there is no big deal. I have worked from my own photos, but I have also paid for copyright use of other people's photos. I have also used the reference library here, where people have generously given over the right to use their photos for artwork.

In a competition, if they do indeed want only artwork which was done from a photo reference that the artist he/she has taken, it should specifically state that in the entry form. I don't know how they prove that you took the photo or someone else took the photo, however. I mean, Aunt Susie could have taken a really cute photo of a monkey at the zoo and given it to you to use for a reference. How do they (the art judges) know who was running the camera?

I hope these bozos don't keep you from entering other competitions!


05-01-2003, 10:06 PM
No, the rules said nothing about the reference photos haveing to have been taken by the artist. It only said that all works had to be original. I took that to mean that it was not to be a copy of another painting or drawing.

The photos in question were very old, studio taken black and white promotional material. The old fashioned studio lighting was the give away I think, that I could not have been the photographer.

Another one was an old browney shot of my great grandfather. His style of dress was obviously turn of the century.

I have already suggested to the group that, in the future, they clarify this rule more fully, on their entry forms. However, I do believe that, if you enter these competitions, you have to accept the judges decisions, so I'm not saying anything more.

This is dispite the fact that the same judge did not also disqualify some other wildlife paintings that I doubt were done from photos taken by the local artists. They featured extreme close ups or rare and endangered mice, platypuss and American Eagles.

No, I sure wouldn't let this discourage me from entering other comps. It was only one little local art show, not the pulitzer prize or whatever. I paint because I enjoy painting and I entered just to be part of a local event.

I would like to know how many others though, have found this themselves.