Over the past week I have been placing many of my photos from Phoenix Alternative on Facebook. Phoenix Alternative is a high school in Laval, Quebec where I taught for two years and helped organize the yearbook.
My classroom in Phoenix where I used to teach from 2004-2006. I implemented a mural painting program at the school and studied its impact for my M.A. research at McGill University.
For several weeks now I have been getting in touch with former students and I thought to upload the yearbook photos onto Facebook to share the memories. The student response has been tremendous and I have received many special messages and words of affection. Phoenix has been warming my heart indeed!
However, a member of staff that I used to work with has been less warm or affectionate. Today I noticed that a former colleague from Phoenix had taken one of my pictures of her on Facebook, downloaded it, and uploaded it again as her Facebook profile picture without my consent. To make matters worse she had added me to her restricted privacy settings so that I could not even see the many photos that I had tagged her in. To me this was a slap in the face and I promptly removed her as a friend.
People need to be aware of the ethics of copyright on Facebook and the internet. Just because a friend has taken a good picture of you it does not mean that you have the right to download it and use it for your own purpose. That is stealing.
Photography is hard work. It requires skill and care. Moreover good camera equipment is expensive. Nothing irritates me more that when someone uses my photography without my consent or without giving photo credit.
Most photographers are happy to share their work provided they are given photo credit. Giving a photographer photo credit is a sign of respect for their work and talent. It is a small thing to do but it means a lot. Moreover, it is the correct ethical action so please remember to credit the work of your friends and colleagues.