July 3, 2010

Norwegian Elevator Constructors Union

A few months back I received an unusual email from Norway. Coincidentally, I visited Norway back in October, 2008 when I attended the wonderful annual film festival in Bergen. A movie I produced, "Guest of Cindy Sherman," was invited to screen in the festival and I had an amazing time there. I thought the email might have something to do with the movie or my trip to Norway, but it was entirely unrelated.

The email I got was from the Norwegian Elevator Constructors Union asking about a picture they had seen on this very blog. They were writing an upcoming article about escalators, especially the old wooden ones, and wanted to know if they could use a picture for their member's magazine which is published a few times a year. Even though there was no fee for the usage, I said "Sure, go ahead and use my picture." The picture they liked was the one I took of the old wooden escalators in Macy's. It is sort of fitting that this comes up today as tomorrow is the great big Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show. At any rate, the original photograph ran here a little over a year ago in May, 2009.

Months have passed and I had almost forgotten about it until I when to get the mail today. There was a large white envelope from Norway and contained in it was my complimentary issue of the magazine. Even though I can't read a single word of it (since it's entirely in Norwegian), I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they use my picture "in" the magazine, they used my picture on the cover. In some ways I suppose this makes me a professional photographer now. It seems these kinds of things happen to me all the time. One day I decide to start a blog of random pictures and the next one of my picture is selected to appear on the cover of a magazine.

I feel a little bit like they owe me a payment. There's a big difference between using the picture in the magazine and using it for the entire cover in full color, don't you think?


Monika said...

Wow, congrats! It's well deserved, too.

I absolutely loved this escalator. Made me swoon all the way up (I already got used to it on the ride down '-^).

Morally concerned said...

Owe you? Be sure to pay the 50% commission to blogspot for hosting your gallery. Forget the pecuniary greed and the money will take care of itself. What would you take more satisfaction in: having a 3x3" black and white reproduction at the bottom of page 37 and a check for 50$, or the full color splash that you got on the cover for free. You'll be able to frame the magazine cover and be proud of it for the rest of your life. You owe them if you think about it.

Christopher said...

Morally Concerned,

You make a good point, but you take a photograph and have someone use it and then see how you feel. Blogspot is free and you know that going into it. They haven't changed their terms. 50% commission is way too high anyway. At most they'd get 10 or 15% max.

They said "in the magazine" which was fine, but then when it shows up on the cover it's great and a really nice thing, but not what they originally conveyed. Being proud for the rest of my life doesn't pay the rent. Besides I already have plenty of things to frame and cover my walls.

Keith, from June 30th posting said...

Please post the Ebay listing of your copy of the magazine as soon as you post it. If not i'd be willing to broker the sale for you. I can be reached during my regular hours in my regular spot. Still looking for my residuals from thenuse of my likeness to cover my rent as well. :)

Christopher said...

Keith -

Because of the obscure nature of this publication, I will be willing to sell you a black and white xerox for $50. A color copy will cost you $125 (unframed). Unfortunately, I can not sell you a copy of the actual magazine as it is now framed and hanging on my wall in a place of veneration where I will be proud of it for as long as I live.

In unrelated news, maybe it's best if you stay away from wooden escalators for the time being:


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Gunn said...

Well, I have to say that I suddenly got awake....."My language" in New York...... So after reading the story I understand why.
Anyway, greetings from the city south of Bergen.