Ethics of re-editing a photographer's work
When a photographer edits a photo, they infuse it with their own style and creative energy. So it can be frustrating when a model adds a filter onto the edited photo and posts it. Is it wrong for the model to do so? I've often seen this question being debated and the answer depends on an individual's beliefs. I'm going to explore the arguments on both sides and state my own thoughts. I'd like to hear what you think too!
I'll be using photos I took of my friend Tina as examples. She herself did not put on any filters.
When a model slaps a filter on the photos, it can convey various messages ranging from, "I just think this looks cool" to "Your work is inadequate, so I'm going to change it." The biggest problem with filters and other sorts of edits is that the photo no longer perfectly represents a photographer's work. They may not put into consideration a photographer’s artistic integrity.
The first photo below is my edit of Tina, while the other versions next to it are the same edit with an Instagram filter and slight adjustments added on. Depending on personal preferences, one may like a filtered version more than the original. Even so, it’s a modified version of an original work that I had spent time and creative energy making.
That is not to say that the model isn’t a part of the photo-making process; there is no portrait without them. Sometimes they may want to adjust the photo to fit the theme of their feed or to fix little things. Other times, they may not be aware that the edits misrepresent the photographer’s work.
Sure, not everyone expects the model's upload to perfectly capture the photographer's style. The audience may check out a photographer’s work despite the filter, but they may also be turned away.
I prefer for models not to edit my photos so the photographs accurately portray my work, but I also want to make sure I represent my model’s interests. Therefore, I always think it’s important for photographers and models to communicate. Before delivering photos or even before a photoshoot, discuss what you want in each other. Maybe you can edit in a way that fits exactly what they're looking for, or maybe they'll agree not to add a filter. Or if they want to edit it themselves, allow them to credit you but also write, "additional filters/edits by me."
What's your stance on this issue? Do you think it's a problem, or something blown out of proportion?