“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.


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.


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. If you have access to the principles then I think you should’ve contacted them first. Why create issues based upon conjecture when the answer may have been a short e-mail or text message away?

  2. I’d say that you use that “crowdsourced” bibliography to press Thames & Hudson on the plagiarism/uncited sources issue and demand immediate insertion of credits in the books. The problem in this day and age is that people think intellectual property should be free before understanding the ramifications of that. Just as microstock effectively killed a large market for professional photography, and citizen journalism has depressed opportunities for trained journalists, scraping content from web sites because one can only devalues everyone’s work and rewards those with the means to be published.
    The funny thing is, a lot of people who republish without attribution have no idea that what they’re doing is wrong. I’ve had my copyrighted photos show up on blogs before, and in one case, when I asked that a photo be removed, I received an indignant reply from the blogger, who elsewhere on the blog had characterized Steve Jobs as “greedy” for applying for so many patents for the iPhone.
    It’s a new world out there, which is why it’s so important for us to educate each other as to why we have these protections in the first place.

  3. I’d suggest contacting the authors and forwarding a link to this post and the discussion.

    Let’s hear what they were thinking (if in fact they were).

    Just my $0.02

  4. Hello Michael,

    Continuing the spirit of keeping things out in the open, and as you say, very appropriate here, since this was one of the places I discovered more about the amazing work I’d been following from the likes of Nils Jorgesen and Mark Powell.

    While there certainly may well be a place for an full-on academic study of Contemporary Street Photography, that is not the book I (or T&H) commissioned, or indeed was interested in publishing. The authors and I wanted to make a celebration, something that would appeal to and inspire a wider audience, and carry on the good work that you and the likes of Nick Turpin have done in making sure great street photography gets seen and noticed.

    So even if Sophie and Stephen had provided citations of sources for each and every quote, we would not have included them – preferring instead to have lively and informative essays and biographies, without the interruption of academic apparatus in text, and to leave room in the limited page count we had for large images, entertaining text and special features like the global conversation and the “putting you in the picture”… As well as the Resources Section for those who *do* want to pursue a more in depth study.

    We wanted the quotes there to illuminate and add another layer to the texts, to make the reader feel like they are getting a real picture of what it might feel like to be a street photographer, as well as giving context to the images they will see.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to weave photographers quotes from other books or websites (and which are clearly attributed to the relevant photographer in our book by either being in quote marks, or set out as display quotes) into the text, along with the quotes which Sophie and Stephen did get straight from “horses mouths”.

    Sophie took an extended trip to New York; she met some of the photographers in Arles, France; Stephen met many of the photographers in London, and many phone interviews were conducted. Specifically to make the text special, and for it to do justice to the images.

    I can assure you there was a great deal of collaboration between us all and the photographers, e-mailing back and forth on each and every picture edit, as well as agreeing layouts and final texts and quotes, before we went to repro, often many versions before everyone was happy.

    Didn’t you notice the 3 pages of Resources at the back of the book…An extensive bibliography, list of exhibition catalogues, journals and websites (yours there amongst them)?

    (It was certainly a bitch to typeset and check editorially!) Every book, exhibition catalogue and website Sophie and Stephen used for their research, as well as more we thought readers would find useful. Since our book is not an academic publication, this is all we are required to do, since all we have done is used a few quotes which are plainly attributed to the relevant photographers.

    In hindsight, I am really sad that I neglected to inform you personally, since your work here was indeed one of the great inspirations for embarking on the book in the first place. So Michael, many apologies for that oversight.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss this further (in private).

    You know where to find me.

    All best

  5. I appreciate your public comment here, Johanna. Thanks for the update and explanation. I never knew using quotes without attribution was a reasonable practice in publishing.

    Thanks, and I’ll email from this point forward.

  6. Dear Michael,

    We’re disappointed, of course, that you feel inadequately referenced. We hold 2point8 in very high regard and clearly reference it at the end of the book, where all our sources are listed.

    In many instances we were able to conduct face to face interviews with photographers, other times phone interviews, and other times email interviews. In addition to material from these, we also drew on photographers’ previously published interviews – including those conducted by you with Mark Powell and Nils Jorgensen which are the source for the relevant photographers’ quotes on pages 14 and 86. This is entirely legitimate – it would be almost impossible and not necessarily even desirable to do all our research with photographers directly through face to face interviews.

    Both we, and the publishers, made a huge effort to make sure the featured photographers were happy with the texts and quotes used, whether they were drawn from face-to-face interviews or our research, as well as the picture edit and layout. The layouts and the texts were sent to each contributor, sometimes many versions before everyone was happy, and the book went for reproduction.

    While there certainly may be a place for a full-on academic study of contemporary street photography, that was not what Thames and Hudson commissioned. If we had provided footnotes citing sources for each and every quote they would not have been willing to accommodate them preferring instead to have accessible essays without the interruption of academic apparatus in text. But we were highly diligent about listing all our sources at the back of the book, both as a system of acknowledgment and because we want to direct our readers to blogs of the quality of 2point8.

    best wishes,

    Sophie and Stephen

  7. Wow, not really the reaction I was expecting. I don’t think Michael was looking for footnotes but rather a simple: “As so-and-so told Michael David Murphy, {start quote here}…

    Basic journalism (which interviews are), not purely academic.

    Why no mention of the issue of copyright that he obviously holds over his previously published text here on 2point8?

  8. It’s not much of a defense to say that since it isn’t an academic study, no notes are needed. There are plenty of non-academic nonfiction books out there with endnotes. I think it’s fairly common practice.

    That said, I think this is a gray area legally and T&H is probably within their rights to use photographers’ own words when talking about them.

  9. Joanna, Sophie, and Stephen, I think that you are missing a point here about why this is a problem. It’s not just an academic or journalistic practice to properly cite sources that is missing. You say that you are doing justice to the photographers through the fun and informal tone, but this is not about the work, words, or ideas of the photographers. This is about acknowledging the scholarship of Michael through whose efforts those excellent interviews have come to light on the internet. I think most readers of this blog know that his work is more than a casual dabbler, for example all his work collecting interviews and videos of Winogrand has greatly contributed to the public knowledge of one of the greats of 20th century photography. It’s generous of him to share his passion and work with the world for free and it deserves to be recognized and encouraged. I can understand why it would be upsetting to him, and not just a minor academic blunder like a typo. The reason people do citations is to acknowledge intellectual property.

    Just acknowledge your mistake and stop saying you’re sorry Michael feels bad but we were “right.” I hear it is an excellent book and I am looking forward to having a copy. This error doesn’t diminish all the amazing work you have done.

  10. I recently received my book and have been very impressed with the quality of the reproduction. I had been eagerly awaiting for my copy in Canada in addition to a number of my friends who are also ‘street photographers’ (I use this term loosely)

    I have been following Michael’s blog for a while now and have always been impressed with the quality of his writing. He has provided a great service to the art of street photography as a genre.

    However, I have been a little disappointed how the release of this excellent publication has taken a nasty and bitter turn. This book should be a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, a few members of HCSP have taken Michael’s grievances/words and tried to twist them to air their own grievances and not being included in the book. It is such a shame that individuals would resort to this methodology to get back at a publication that is doing a great service at promoting their genre. I will not name names, but it is fairly obvious who the culprits are.

    The fact remains that in Canada and the USA that dialogue that is obtained from the internet in the form of quotes is legal property of the person who is being interviewed, not the person giving the interview. I realize that this is a very controversial area. Michael has a right to be upset, but that shouldn’t provide open season on the publication as a whole. I respect Michael 100%, but I disagree that others have jumped on the bandwagon to use this blog as a platform to fire their parting shots.

    If there are HCSP members who are upset at not being included in this excellent book, they should contact Thames and Hudson directly instead of spreading slander and gossip over this excellent blog. Thames and Hudson have a prestigious reputation with publishing and books in general. It is not necessary for me to divulge their history.

    Enough said. It just makes me upset that a publisher has taken the effort/time/money to publish a book on the art of street photography, only to be hijacked by those that didn’t get included.

    And Michael, I am not referring to you, I am referring to HCSP at flickr.com They are the source of this vitriol and aggression. I hope that others will take this publication and embrace it rather than giving it unwanted criticism!

  11. Eh? Kenny, methinks you’re either reading the wrong thread on HCSP or you’re just making things up. The vitriol from HCSP you refer to isn’t there. Please kind sir, do point us to where “HCSP members who are upset at not being included in this excellent book” or where “HCSP [members] have taken Michael’s grievances/words and tried to twist them to air their own grievances”.

    As for your asinine legal opinion, well, I’d say, find another lawyer.

  12. All of this is just really unfortunate, both in terms of the unattributed lift itself and, perhaps worse in my mind, the response which if I am reading correctly indicates that this was an intentional omission and there is nothing wrong with it.

    Given the obvious care and feeding of this project, this is very surprising. Regardless of the medium, tone, genre, style, or whatever, basic integrity and ethics call for, at a minimum, even the most basic of nods for text lifted from another source. Really, it’s quite easy. Insert comma at the end, follow with a few words of attribution, everybody happy. Leaving it to look like a quote from your own interview, not so cool. Most disturbing of all to me, however, is the mindset that anyone could think this acceptable. In jobs I have held within the media, this would be cause for dismissal, in schools I have attended, a trip to the honor council.

    From all accounts, including those at HCSP, this is a wonderful book, an affirmation of the skill, determination, and dogged pursuit of a unique way of seeing the world that is damned hard and elusive if not impossible for most, so such a basic failure is, again, both surprising and unfortunate but surely not fatal, especially if handled now, and well, with integrity and aplomb.

    As for lawyers, it would seem they are an impediment to doing what is right more often than not.

  13. HCSP has become the Lady Gaga of amateur photography. Like on youtube when I want to watch a Goldfrapp video, or a Grace Jones video, some idiot always appears and starts talking about Lady Gaga. Now with street photography there’s the inevitable appearance of “BryanF” or “Ben Anderson” or some other HCSP Flickr photographer.

  14. I love the fact that people jump all over HCSP and go on to blather about the group in a totally unrelated blog post on a completely unrelated site. I though this was about Michael’s work appearing uncited in SPN? And supposedly we’re the ones who lack focus.

    Anyway, well said, Young Tom.

  15. This is pretty unfortunate, all things considered. The responses by the folks involved with publishing this (Johanna and Sophie) are pretty lame.

    Johanna writes, “While there certainly may well be a place for an full-on academic study of Contemporary Street Photography, that is not the book I (or T&H) commissioned, or indeed was interested in publishing.”

    Since when is it “academic” to attribute sources? Would it be merely “academic” to publish a photograph by Walker Evans AND include his name? Sorry Johanna, but your reply is complete nonsense…especially the implication that citing sources somehow gets in the way of the creative process.

    Sophie writes, “If we had provided footnotes citing sources for each and every quote they would not have been willing to accommodate them preferring instead to have accessible essays without the interruption of academic apparatus in text.”

    There are about a million ways to cite sources, and footnotes are just one. It would have been incredibly simple to put the reference to MDM right in the text by saying something like “In a 2009 interview with Michael David Murphy, photographer X said blah blah blah.” As Jared wrote above, this is pretty basic journalism. Not difficult, at all.

    Both Sophie and Johanna completely dismiss the idea of “giving credit where credit is due” by saying that it’s merely academic–this is both disrespectful and disingenuous. I am all for collaboration and open sharing of ideas, images, etc–at the same time it’s pretty easy to give a quick hat tip to someone if you use their work. In this case, MDM took the time to do the interviews, write them up, publish them online, etc. All the editors had to do was take a little extra time to acknowledge that, instead of cutting and pasting from the internet like grade school students who don’t know any better.

    I can think of TONS of photography books that I have that certainly aren’t “academic,” but the editors didn’t have any issues with citing the material they used. Looks like the book is cool. Too bad those who made it didn’t take the time to get the details right.

  16. I understand your concern MDM but on the same line, and as an example, how many of the shots in the book actually had authorization from the subject ? To perform and show street photography in many Western Europe countries means always be on the edge of what is legal or not. So, is it fair that you, a street photographer that probably is on the borderline of these image and author laws many times, reproach to other a similar attitude ?

  17. Don’t be so ridiculous Yanidel. Photographing strangers sans their permission and using literary work sans citation are hardly the same. Why don’t you think about that for a bit?

  18. Publishing pictures of strangers without their permission can be fined up to €45000 and 1 year jail term in France. So you are right, it is hardly the same, it is actually a way bigger offense then not quoting citations.

    This is why I asked MDM what he tought about the contradiction of street photographers that defend their work (pictures or quotes) while at the same time breaching themselves the laws.

  19. I understand the point you’re trying to make, but it is, well, pointless. You already acknowledge that the two “offences” in question are vastly dissimilar. This alone calls into question any apparent “contradiction” in MDM’s position.

    And that’s not even mentioning that the ridiculous law (i.e. ‘do not photograph people without permission’) that is in France isn’t at all universal; there is no such law in, say, the US or Britain, at least as far as I know. Whereas the offense of “plagiarism” or copyright infringement is generally more accepted and, therefore, laws exist everywhere to supposedly prevent them.

    Bottom line is that you’re simply drawing a long bow.

  20. I you read again my posts, the issue is not about taking pictures without permission, but publishing them.
    As you said, let’s stop here. This is going nowhere. Cheers.

  21. So, would the reaction be different if whole quotes were lifted from an exclusive interview with (name your celebrity) that appeared in The Guardian, or TIME, or NYTimes, or Rolling Stone, et al, and used verbatim with no attribution or acknowledgment of the source? Is there a difference here? Just wonderin’.

  22. Thanks for highlighting this. I agree that lifting quotes / writing from someone without attributing the source is unethical; to claim that ‘this isn’t an academic work’ as an excuse makes it worse. This is reason enough for me not to buy the book unfortunately.

    Tom Hyde: My reaction won’t be different. If TIME used a quote by ‘XYZ celebrity’ from a NYTimes interview, I would expect them to cite the source. However, if the quote were from a public speech (e.g. Oscars), then the citation isn’t necessary.

  23. There are also passages used from some videos documentaries about photographers, e.g. Mermelstein. So they also did not quote these videos.
    But, of course this is no excuse from my point of view, they list your blog here among others, at least.

  24. Anonymous Photographer:

    While there’s no law against taking people’s pictures without their permission when they have no reasonable expectation of privacy, many US states do in fact have laws preventing the use of other people’s likenesses without their permission, even absent endorsement or association (which were the old common-law restrictions.) I refer you, as an example, to 765 ILCS 1075, the Illinois Right of Publicity Act.

    Whether or not the images as used in this book would violate the IRPA or not, I don’t know: I haven’t seen the book. But anyone who thinks that non-commercial likeness use is always free and clear in the US is looking for trouble.

    As far as the plagarism, the defenses offered are laughable. Whether or not it was legal, it was an unethical and impolite thing to do. Furthermore, not having seen the book, I wonder if there is some possibility of mis-association in the mind of the reader that a particular quote or quotes in proximity to a given picture could be reasonably assumed to have been given by the photographer (or the subject.) If this is the case, then yet another reason not to do it that way arises (as well as another potential legal liability.)

  25. Legalities and citations aside, it seems to me that common courtesy/decency would be for the authors to contact Michael and ask his permission to copy his work prior to doing so.

  26. amazon suggested i buy this book
    for some reason i thought it was a monograph
    then i flicked through it in magma
    it looks like one of those corporate stock shot annuals:
    “photography 1995”
    the minimalist approach detracts from the photography
    branding’s to blame i’m sure

  27. Let’s put it in terms everyone understands: These people stole your work and are collecting money from re-using it.

    They should be ashamed, or at least have to defend themselves in court.

  28. So “appealing to and inspire a wider audience” is now an excuse for plagiarism? As a college teacher, that’s one I haven’t heard but it’s certainly the equal of some more lame ones I’ve gotten. A student who did this would get a zero for the assignment, at a minimum, and very probably ejected from the class. It looks like someone didn’t learn the lessons they should have in college. This “academic apparatus” has a purpose.

  29. I was immediately interested in the book just from the title and subject. I love photo books, and I love looking at and engaging in street photography. I wanted the book immediately and checked it out on Amazon. Then I read the rest of your post.

    I’m an author as well as a photographer ( http://www.genelowinger.com ) and I think the way the material was handled in the book, and the response by the publisher and writer are a disgrace. But then again, I’m just a lowly Yank. Who am I to fault the Brits.

  30. At the risk of repeating much of what has already been said, whether out in the open or by private e-mail, and as the person who commissioned the book, I’d like to try and clarify some of the issues for the benefit of readers here. And naturally too, I’d like to defend what I truly believe is a good and worthwhile book. Something many people put a lot of positive energy into creating, in as considered a way that we could.

    We were in touch with Michael very swiftly about things privately by e-mail. We’ve apologised for not giving Michael a more prominent credit in the book. Promised to make amends should the book ever reprint, and apologised for the discourteousness. He’s done much to further knowledge about Street Photography, and has been a real inspiration to many of us who are seriously interested in the subject. I’d definitely encourage any who haven’t yet visited the rest of the pages on this blog to check them out and spend a good amount of time here.

    I’m much disheartened that the book is getting such a negative reception based on conjecture. Fair enough if criticism were from people who have actually taken the time to look at it and think about it for themselves, but from what I suspect (or has been readily stated here or elsewhere) most of the opinion is from those who haven’t even seen the book, let alone read it.

    I know copyright, I.P. and permissions laws differ from continent to continent, country to country, and in the US even from state to state, but I really can’t believe that Michael holds exclusive rights to words spoken by somebody else. The two quotes Michael refers to are short. None of the words are his – they are from the photographers, and in the context that they appear in the book, because of their short length, should be considered fair use, as should the others that were not a result of the authors own interviews with the photographers.

    (Of course it would be a different matter had we published Michael’s own words without his permission, or wanted to reprint a lengthier extract from his interviews. That indeed would have been out of order)

    Throughout the book we made sure all quotes are clearly indicated by the use of quote marks if they appear in the main text, and if they appear on photographers own display pages they’re also distinguished by the way they are typeset, very obviously as display quotes, so there is really no question of anyone trying to pass words which aren’t theirs off as their own.

    Because of this, I really can’t understand or accept the accusations of plagiarism that some are making.

    OK. I hope that this addresses some of the misconceptions that are exercising everyone so much.

    I can, however, well understand and do accept the accusations of uncool behaviour, which as I said above has already been addressed in private. And, not an excuse, just stating how it was, most of our energies did go into making sure the featured photographers were happy with the way they were presented in the book. With nearly 50 featured photographers, it took hundreds perhaps thousands of e-mails and meetings approving picture edits and layouts as well as the quotes and text, often under great time constraints, before a consensus was reached and the book was passed for press. And there were many last-minute and hair-raising changes made in order to accommodate some of the photographers wishes.

    We are not thieves nor dishonest as some of the over the top comments claim elsewhere. Sophie and Stephen and to a lesser extent me too, are all in one capacity or another members of the informal Street Photography community ourselves, and our aim just like Michael’s is to further the Street Photography cause.

    Next main points:

    The way the book was put together was the most appropriate way to ensure it gets seen by three audiences. Those who study the history of photography or those who are dedicated street photography fans like me. And another audience, a more general reader, one who doesn’t have as much knowledge as the people who read these forums for instance. A reader who mainly wants the images.

    No disrespect to those here, but let me say again that a full scholarly study of Street Photography today, complete with superior figures and endnotes or in-text citations may certainly have a place (and if someone else were to produce and publish it, I’d probably be one of the 5 or 600 people worldwide to buy a copy. Yes that figure is a guess but it’s probably a pretty accurate one). So as well as being for the relatively small Street Photography community, or those who are seriously studying the history of street photography, I wanted this book to be available for others: to widen the audience, to take what is a niche subject and make it accessible so a greater number of people might enjoy and be inspired by it, and most importantly to help make the work of the photographers in the book more widely known.

    It’s a difficult line to walk. Creating something for those who have good knowledge of a subject as well as those that don’t. There’s a risk of talking down to one audience or being too elite for another. So to reach a more general reader, and to create something that would interest those who already have a good knowledge of Street Photography, should I have cut some of the picture pages to make room for linking phrases, citations in text or endnotes at the back of the book?

    I didn’t think so. And I still stand by the decision I took. It was considered carefully. I see that some disagree. But again, I suspect that most who disagree haven’t seen or read the book for themselves.

    A book has a finite number of pages, paper is expensive! We’re also restricted to a maximum word count – which in the end after much wrangling and hand-wringing, we went over! There has to be a compromise somewhere – I certainly didn’t want Sophie & Stephen to have to compromise on the photographs. It’s a photography book for Pete’s sake! And I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it was to see some of the individual images, or image spreads that had to be jettisoned so we made the page count! Nor did I want to compromise their text.

    In my judgement, what most readers would want most of the time is BIG pictures, with enough white space around them so they can be appreciated. A decent sequence of images from each photographer so you can really get the flavour of their work. And again, making a judgement of what I thought *most* people would want *most* of the time – I asked for a text that allows a reader to easily follow a train of thought. Something that flows, is cohesive. And something that allows the reader to hear the photographers own words coming through loudly and clearly. I think Sophie, Stephen and the T&H text editor who worked with them did a great job, and produced exactly what I hoped for.

    If we’d inserted linking phrases (e.g. as xxx photographer said to xxx person in xxx context and date) it would have been repetitive and used up too much of the valuable word count. If we’d included citations or footnotes through the texts we’d have disrupted the narrative, opened more questions than we had room to answer, thereby frustrating many readers and we’d have spoiled a text which I really do think is on the whole a pleasure to read, as well as being informative.

    And really there’s no question that Sophie and Stephen wanted to pass off quotes from external research as coming from their own extensive interviews. What they, I and the text editor cared about is telling the story, and making sure the voices of the photographers came through in an inviting way so people will want to sit down and read.

    • And to address the other main point that needs addressing:

    What about those who *do* want to know more at a deeper level? Or those who want reassurance that what they’re reading has credibility? Well, perhaps mistakenly, I like to believe that most people don’t need to be spoonfed. That one can assume a certain level of natural curiosity. As Sophie said in her reply to Michael, the extensive resources with carefully checked bibliographic details at the back of the book diligently lists everything that was used for research. So we’ve provided the wherewith all…

    Yes, in this book it IS up to the reader to follow things up for themselves if they wish. Who knows they might find themselves travelling down some great little side-roads and alleyways, that a more prescriptive and academic approach would mean they miss. I for one quickly turn the page if I see rows of numbers, teeny tiny text and “ibids” set in italic… Over 20 years in publishing and I still am not really sure what an ibid is. I’m not and have no wish to be an academic, I’m interested in images and the words that expand them, and I believe that’s what the majority of the illustrated book reading public are interested in too.

    Sophie, Stephen and I (and the photographers featured) know exactly how much effort went into getting pertinent original or sourced quotes that the photographers are happy to be represented by. And if people read the book for themselves, they can make their own minds up about just how credible the text is. I didn’t think we needed to be explicit about sources to provide credibility. In most cases the photographers quotes aren’t about anything that might or might not be believable. They were chosen to provide insight into how the photographer feels and thinks while they make their work. Or to give aspiring street photographers advice based on their own experiences.

    That all said, I’m truly sorry and regret that Michael felt as bad about this as I do, and frankly I’m well and truly kicking myself for not taking the time to inform him before we went to press, which was indeed discourteous and uncool, and I’m sure would have avoided all this. But that’s not what happened, I failed there.

    But I am NOT sorry for making the book that I commissioned and that Sophie and Stephen wrote. I’m proud of it and I’m proud of them. I still stand by the original vision for the book, and the book we made together.

    As well as providing enjoyment to those who have knowledge of the subject, I hope the book will introduce some great work and great photographers to readers who are unaware just how varied, lively and exciting the present Street Photography scene is. I hope too that the resources at the back of the book will provide an excellent starting point for those who do want to pursue a deeper investigation of the genre as a whole – and specific photographers in particular.

    Maybe some won’t buy it or order it from their local library now because they feel it flawed, or get the wrong impression from what is now floating out there on the internet, but if they have any interest in what today’s street photographers are up to, or are interested in what these photographers can show us about where and how we live in public, that’s their loss.

  31. It’s dishonest to imply you got your quotes in direct interviews with people when you actually copied them from the web. A competent writer can make attributions and distinctions without using up too much of the precious word count.

    As a result of both the dishonesty in the first place, and the bizarrely self-righteous attitude about it in the second place, I won’t be adding his book to my collection.

  32. Damn that was a long winded response. Just admitting we fucked up and will give Michael proper credit on all future printings would have been the way to go…

  33. That long post is completely unnecessary.

    We get what happened. We understand the motivations. But the problem is: Johanna and her co-culprits are just plain tone deaf.

    This is really not about copyright law at all (I doubt MDM ever wanted to sue), but about plagiarism, about failing to cite, about using someone else’s interview that produced the words from the photographers’ mouths!

    To have said “I really can’t believe that Michael holds exclusive rights to words spoken by somebody else” shows a total misunderstanding of the whole issue. Does this mean that Thames & Hudson holds the view that they can freely re-use any interview ever published without attribution to the publication or author of the interview?

    Look, this is really all about professional ethics. It’s not about copyright or fair use. Fact is, you Johanna and your co-culprits featured text that was originally produced by MDM. Yet you failed to mention your source. Instead of being such a seemingly dumb and defensive person, why not just issue an outright apology, immediately release a corrected re-print and be done with it?

    Of course, if you want us to completely laugh at your undergraduate defence, by all means please keep posting nonsense.

  34. It is almost laughable for Johanna to state that acknowledging the source ruins the flow. This is a fundamental aspect of writing. Journalists can do it without harming the tightness of a news story. How would the Johanna and the editors feel if someone stole their work? The issue isn’t flow, it is about honesty.

    If my material was stolen, I’d write to Johanna’s supervisors.

  35. This isn’t complicated. By any modern dictionary definition what T&H produced has been plagiarized:

    (from Merriam-Webster.com)

    Definition of PLAGIARIZE

    transitive verb
    : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source
    intransitive verb
    : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

    Johanna said above, “We are not thieves nor dishonest as some of the over the top comments claim elsewhere.”

    By strict definition, you are. That’s not “over the top” at all. Your priorities were elsewhere, but theft is theft.

  36. cao:

    The problem is the word “commercial.” Most people who use the word “commercial” in association with likeness use mean “endorsement or association,” so when I say, “you shouldn’t assume non-commercial use is always free and clear,” I was addressing that common understanding of the word.

    That’s not what it means in association with the IRPA or other similar laws in other states, so when the court (quite rightly) finds that the case at bar was a “non-commercial use” and therefore not subject to the statute – and if it were, the statute would be void for violation of the First Amendment as you and the court point out – it doesn’t mean what people who use the older and more limited definition think it means.

    Bottom line, if there’s money involved, at all, anywhere, it is best to step lightly around use of other people’s likenesses without permission, especially if the likeness is not incidental to the usage in some larger context.

  37. I love how Johanna, in her second posting, still doesn’t get the point. Michael did the work of conducting the interview, transcribing the interview, editing the interview, writing up the interview, and, finally, publishing the interview. Johanna and Co. lifted all that work and, essentially, claimed it for themselves by not giving Michael credit. That, it should be obvious, is wrong.

  38. Forget the cholera epidemic in earthquake-damaged Haiti, someone didn’t acknowledged for recording the words of someone more famous! There truly is no God.

  39. Can someone give us the exact multiple passages that were copied from this site, please?

    I’ve just bought the book, but if this is too much obvious, I’ll ask my money back from T&H. Serious.



  40. Sophie and Stephen are absolute arrogant in their narrow mindedness to publish their book without correct citation. Maybe they hoped the authors would not notice. They are too busy trying to push a sub-standard designed book. I’ll make sure not to get my fingers burnt with them.

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