At this time of year, with the holiday season approaching, it’s all too easy to forget the less fortunate among us.
We’ve all seen them, skulking in West End doorways, harassing passers-by. No, not the scrum of 17 year olds with camera-phones outside China White working for Scoopt: across the street, that lonely figure in the threadbare fishing jacket stuffed with expired Kodachrome and Tri-X.
We’re talking about those photographers who signed away their copyright.
It could be they forgot to read the small print on the back of that cheque from the BBC or Emap contract. Or had ambitions as a popular music photographer. Or maybe innocently entered a travel photography competition organised by a formerly reputable publisher. Perhaps their only mistake was to accept assignments from a government department or local authority. Others may have kept their copyright, but fallen victim to the notorious Royalty Free scam, forever losing the opportunity to sell their pictures exclusively.
Whatever the reason for their misfortune, loss of control of their own work was the start of the slippery slope leading to a different life on the street from the one they expected.
Copylost and on the street: this could be you if you don’t read the small print
Of course you can’t recover their copyright for them, but there are other ways you can help – through our appeal.
- Perhaps you have premises that have become unexpectedly available: the kind of place a photographer would feel at home ?
- You could be an agent who’s converted your stock to digital, and now have an office full of empty filing cabinets. Just one Bisley filing cabinet can provide shelter for four homeless photographers.
- Have you recently upgraded your computer memory? Or do you have some spare flash card memory lying around? Many homeless photographers suffer memory loss due to years of darkroom substance abuse, and recent medical advances make memory replacement a simple matter.
- Even the packaging from your monthly digital equipment upgrades can be recycled to provide more stylish temporary accommodation than the Tesco cartons with which many are forced to make do.
Of course you could always try to help a homeless photographer directly. But please be careful. Many of these unfortunates retain their professional instincts and sharp elbows, and their reaction may be unpredictable, despite your good intentions. Older ones especially may be under the influence of D-76 or even Rodinal and have been known to turn violent, brandishing an ancient camera of German origin and dribbling on their fix-stained cardigan.
How much better to let the EPUK Copylost Smudgers Appeal ensure the safe delivery of your gift to those in need. Simply package your gift carefully and send it post free to:
EPUK Copylost Smudgers Appeal
For larger gifts such as filing cabinets we can collect free of charge. Just call our premium rate number [maximum call duration 30 minutes] to arrange pick-up.
Please give generously, and thank you for your help,
HRH, Earl of Smudgefield.