Vintage Miscellany – October 16, 2016

One of the most interesting things about this photo from the 1930s is that the original is only 1.25 inches square.  The edges are blurred, but enlarging this digitally opened up a world of detail that went undetected when viewing the original.  Still, there are so many unanswered questions.  What is the woman on the left holding?  What is the bracelet the other woman is wearing?  And most importantly, what is going on with those hats?

With images all over the internet, it is tempting to just help oneself to the goodies, but before using any image, be certain that you have the right to it.  There are so many sites today where the images are free of copyright that it is a shame that people resort to (alleged) theft.

The whole point of Instagram is to post one’s own photos, but I’m noticing more and more people are treating Instagram like Tumblr or even Pinterest, posting photos from museum sites and fashion runway shows.  The pictures are nice, and there is often great commentary, but I prefer seeing what people have going on in their own lives.  I want to see your collection, and your vacation pictures, and your dog.


Filed under Vintage Miscellany

11 responses to “Vintage Miscellany – October 16, 2016

  1. I have a feeling that the museums, in their rush to promote big name shows with hashtagged photos, may find their licensing of images blurred in the future. My puny snaps are one thing, but at the YSL/Seattle Art Museum show there was one fellow who had the most elaborate professional digital photography rig I’ve ever seen (screen and a separate ‘remote’ lens unit that he held up for a better angle, previewing the image on his screen and taking multiple bursts). When one of the docents spoke to him, he gently reminded them that photography was permitted and they didn’t specify which kind on his admission ticket.
    And indeed, they did not. There’s no restriction whatsoever.
    I sort of assume at this point that ownership of images will fail. I’d rather it didn’t, but there’s too many cameras and computers and ways to mass manufacture an image.


    • Museums really are in a tricky situation. On the one hand, it is greatly to the benefit of an institution to allow photos to be taken for social media. Nothing beats free advertising, most of it highly enthusiastic. But some feel that they also need to control the way their objects are portrayed across the net.

      A good example of this is seen in the recent Costume Institute at the Met’s latest exhibition. After a while I began to notice that all the photos of certain dresses all looked the same, regardless of the photographer. I thought back to my own experience with the exhibition and my picture-taking and realized that the exhibits of many items had to be planned based on how the items would look when photographed.

      Now that more museums are allowing photography, I’ve noted that the rules are also increasing – no selfie sticks, no tripods…


  2. Hi, Lizzie! Thank you for that heads up on Britex. A later SF Chronicle story says they may not be moving; they’re in negotiations. Hm.


  3. Ruth

    I’d be willing to be the woman on the left is holding a pair of dark glasses, and the woman on the right probably has on a celluloid bangle. I’ve seen similar ones many times. But those hats! Party outing? Costume party? We’re-on-vacay-so-let’s-get-crazy-hats day?


  4. That Instagram Husband video hits so close to home! I mean, I’m not totally crazy, and Pat does enjoy taking photos, but I do take a lot, and can be like “No…do this…” and “Higher!” or “Lower!” a lot.


  5. Your comment on the use of images brings to mind the many well read blogs, home dec especially, that post images from other websites and magazines (such as:, or )–how is this possible without being sued? Do they subscribe to some secret file sharing app? I was ‘nailed’ by a young photographer years ago for using a photo I thought the subject owned in a promotion of that subject’s business. Whew, that was a wake-up call, she wasn’t going to accept anything except money!


    • Jen, I don’t know how they get away with such practices. I think that Pinterest has gotten people to think that images are there for the taking, but I’d be too afraid to ever use photos that were not mine or that were not copyright free, except on a very limited basis under the rules of Fair Use. It only take getting sued one time, you know!


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