To The World

I've had two things come into my journey of late that I decided to put together and make available on the internet.

  1. The first is a photo essay on graffiti in and around downtown Vancouver, and
  2. The second was my recent discovery of the Creative Commons.

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To the World
Graffiti is any drawing or marking in a public place, often unauthorized. The Creative Commons is a way to license creative works so they can be used for free. Both fly in the face of what is seen as historically accepted practice in their respective areas – painting and music.

Putting these both together, I created my own mashup ... “To The World”


Unlike most art, graffiti is available for everyone one to see – and its free. It can be (and frequently is) photographed and these images are published on peoples blogs and website, much like my own. The creators of this art lay no claim to it. Rather, these artists knowingly put their work in the public domain and therefore subject to all that implies. Sometimes it is erased or covered up, sometimes it is "defaced" with other graffiti and sometimes it is lost behind garbage bins or under overgrown bushes or vines. All of the graffiti in my essay has suffered from one or all of these.

At one time The City of Vancouver had an annual mural/graffiti competition that "... provides graffiti writers and other artists as well as community groups a legitimate outlet for creative expression. Murals brighten up the neighbourhood and they're also highly effective at deterring further tagging." The art in my essay qualifies here.

The three main murals I included in my photo essay are

  1. the alley half a block from Hastings Street at Cordova and Homer by cold world media,
  2. below the overpass beside Home Depot on Terminal just west of Clarke Drive (Restart 2) and
  3. the 600 block of Beatty Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia by Hi-Fi Murals and others.

Vancouver has some very talented graffiti artists; Hi-Fi Murals has a webpage devoted to these artists and some of their work.

However "in the last couple of years [2012], many of our city’s murals have been vandalized" so the program has been suspended. Sadly, the Restart 2 mural on the Terminal overpass has disappeared and the 600 Beatty Street mural was completely redone for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Creative Commons

With the advent of the internet, protecting creative work (music, photographs, etc.) has become big news and big legal business, often drowning out and suffocating new creativity and hindering ventures into finding new ways to share old creativity. The current internet "mashup" trend would not likely be possible in the old world of copyrights and licensing. Creative Commons (CC) to the rescue ...

Creative Commons is helping “save the world from failed sharing” through free tools that enable creators to easily make their work available to the public for legal sharing and reuse.

There is no denying that creators of new works have a right to have their work protected from use by others (copyrights) and to set the terms of any subsequent use of their work (licenses). This CC video explains this framework further.

Putting it together

I make my photographs (and videos) available in two forms:

  1. low resolution works are free to use but are governed by a Creative Commons BY-ND-NC license, and
  2. I charge for high resolution or source media works and provide licensing for derivative and/or commercial use.

I use my videos to promote my photographs to a wider audience and to use them in new and creative ways. I publish them on my YouTube channel as embeddable videos. For my purposes, as long as they carry my video trailer, the wider these are seen the better. Allowing them to be distributed or embedded for no charge means others can use them or link to them without fear of breaking the law.

I also make all the low resolution images on my website and blog available for free providing certain conditions are met;

share my creations You are free to copy, distribute and transmit my work under these conditions:
give me attribution You must attribute my work in the manner specified by me, and
no commercial use You may not use my work for commercial purposes, and
no derivatives allowed You may not alter, transform, or build upon my work.

With those concepts in place, with my own photographs in hand and with music from the Creative Commons, I build new creative works, have them attributed to me and allow them to be used for free. This simple act supports the larger Creative Commons in part by

  1. attributing what I use back to the original artist(s) and
  2. making my own creations available for others to share.

This provides a structure that advances my work in the public domain in a way that allows me to keep control over my work, yet retain full rights to pursue commercial or derivative licensing if I choose.

Really, the best of both worlds!
... to the world

Flash! ... out for my usual Saturday stroll and came across some work in Vancouver's West End that I saw being created when I lived nearby. In 2005, Lord Roberts Elementary School at 1100 Bidwell had a mural painted depicting local BC scenes.

Respect mural - Lord Roberts Elementary - Vancouver's West End
I wasn't too surprised when I found it was done by Respect, one of the artists whose work I feature in my graffiti photographic essay.


One response to “To The World

  1. pingback //: workshop assignment 5 – copyright and licensing | blog | john bishop images | photography | vancouver, bc

    […] July, after completing a photo essay on graffiti in and around Vancouver, I realized that if I was going to portray other peoples works (i.e. street art), I should at least […]

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