“Street Photography Now” Fails to Cite Sources

My copy of Street Photography Now arrived yesterday from Amazon and the book looks good; it’s well-designed and the pictures pop. As I began to read the text (and rifle through the back, searching for a bibliography that I never found) I was surprised by how many quotes are utilized in the essays by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, and how few of the quotes are cited.

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Then, on a lark, I started inserting bits of the book’s text into my search engine on 2point8 and (you guessed it) was surprised to find multiple passages that were copied verbatim, from this site, and published in a book for sale by Thames & Hudson.

Are bibliographies not required in European book publishing? I’m flummoxed.

I’m all for the free and open Web, but when you freely copy text from websites, and use that content in a published book for sale, it seems uncool (at best) to not cite your references, and illegal (at worst). The quotes used in the book have the appearance of being created in direct interviews that Howarth and McLaren conducted with the included photographers, and that’s just not true — they copied-and-pasted passages off the Web and failed to cite their sources.

I’m sure there’s some “explanation”, right? How many other sources are quoted and not cited?

In these days of copyright grabs, when photographers are the first and loudest to rightfully declare theirs as theirs, it’s interesting that in a book about photographers, the accompanying text isn’t treated with the same care.

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The book is an achievement, and years in the making. I remember being notified about the book’s development, back in 2006 (or ’05, even?). I’ve met the principals involved, and considered contacting them first, directly. On second thought, I figured I’d raise the issue publicly here, at its source.

If you have interviewed photographers or written about photography, is there text of yours in Street Photography Now, too? Should we, in the spirit of the open web, crowdsource the missing bibliography?

54 thoughts on ““Street Photography Now” Fails to Cite Sources”

  1. Internet plagiarism is a fact of life with the usual excuse of “fair use” B.S. I have a music book I distributed thru a web site that has been pirated. My suggestion for this web site is a big square box at the bottom of every page that says every thing printed here is copyrighted and if you want to quote something, write and ask for f.*&%#*! permission. Otherwise you will sue their asses. As far as the publishers of the above mentioned book, they should have had a section in their publishing contract with the authors that affirms that nothing in the book is plagiarized or used without permission, and sources cited. I would send a really nasty letter to them demanding compensation and the removal of the book from the market. thats my 2 cents.

  2. What’s the difference between using the text from an interview without attribution and using a photo without attribution? — both intellectual property; both covered by copyright. Both theft of someone else’s work. I was going to buy the book but I have decided not to.

  3. Nothing new to add except to suppress the idea that any of this was ‘fair use.’
    It was clearly not and clearly plagiarism and, imo, since money was being made it is a copyright violation.

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