Chris Floyd: Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances.

The Republicans, Getty Images & Me.

Posted in Copyright, Editorial, Me Myself & I by Chris Floyd on October 20, 2010

Especially for You

“The thing that concerns me the most is that because we now live in a world where we know that political campaigns are big, high profile, professionally-run operations, people might also then assume that the same thoroughness has been applied to the acquisition of promotional and advertising materials, including campaign imagery. If you follow that assumption to it’s natural conclusion, then you might include in it the thought that someone like me has given his full and informed approval to the use of the image because who would be mad enough to run an extensive television advertising campaign without actually clearing the imagery used in it? Now, those same observers could then think, ‘well that guy is quite clearly not an informed and impartial journalist at all.  He’s covering everything from the position of what could, subjectively be termed, an extremist agenda.’ And, suffice to say, included in that smattering of observers of the situation would be the kind of people who previously thought that they could commission me to cover a story for them and, in the process, be impartial enough to photograph/report both sides of it in, ironically enough, a way that could be termed ‘Fair and Balanced’”.

Above is a quote from an interview I recently gave  to Olivier Laurent from the British Journal of Photography on the subject of Getty Images ongoing tussle, on my behalf, with the Republican Party over a portrait I made in 2006 of three young Mexican gentlemen in the town of Altar, Mexico.  For those of you who don’t know, the photograph appears to have been acquired questionably by the Republicans.  What there is no doubt about, however, is the corruption of the facts behind the image once the campaigns of Sharron Angle in Nevada and David Vitter in Louisiana inserted it into different political TV ad campaigns.  Angle stated that the men were illegal aliens and Vitter implied such.  I also discussed with Olivier my sincere hope that Getty Images will do the right thing and defend the editorial integrity of the image in the light of these perceived violations, as their corporate editorial policy implies that they would:

“We believe that photographs are the visual communication of a story and should be held to an equal level of accountability, responsibility and integrity as the written word in journalism. Images illustrate and reflect the events of our world today and therefore have a responsibility to be delivered to the customer with accuracy and impartiality.”

I’m looking forward to Getty utilising the moral and legal high ground, that it seems to occupy in this case, to bring to bear a satisfactory conclusion, not only for me but for the honour and dignity of the three men in the photograph.

Stay tuned for a gripping and righteous conclusion to this tale, with Getty Images acting as the symbolic knight in shining armour, fighting for small and insignificant copyright holders, wherever they may rest.