Joywar – Activity

The first activity in week 2 was to consider the different positions for photographers Susan Meiselas and artist Joy Garnett with respect to a photograph taken by Meiselas and used as source material by artist Joy Garnett my assessment was based on an article in Harpers Magazine titled (Harpers,  2007) “On the rights of Molotov Man”.

The position I outlined in my response the article is as follows:

Having read the article I can appreciate both sides of the debate. Garnett did not seek the recreate the photograph in a painting rather using part of the photograph to inspire her painting. While Meiselas does not appear to want to introduce censorship instead it appears her primary objection is based on the fact that the painting removes Molotov Man for his original context which is important to her as a documentary photographer.

I suspect that if Garnett had spoken to Meiselas ahead of using the painting as the headline work for the exhibition the problem would have not escalated yet that would have meant we did not get to see other artists responses to the Joywar debate.

There are interesting examples that I think are worthy adding to the debate one such example is Richard Prince’s New Portraits which at face value are just images taken from Instagram and printed on a large scale and sold the art for $100,000. (Guardian, 2015)

That resulted in him being sued for copyright infringement something that was later over turned. The was also the response of the Suicide Girl Creator Missy Suicide who decide to sell the exact same print for $90 which Prince described as a smart move in an interview. (The Verge, 2015)

I have used parts of other peoples photographs in my own image making most notable a series I called industrial flora where I used copyright free images to create my industrial flora images. I have used famous paintings to act as inspiration for my photography and used those paintings to create LUTs that I have applied to own photographs when I want to achieve a specific look.

If I was a documentary photographer and my image was being used out of context, such as the immigrant photograph used by UKIP in the Brexit Referendum I would feel inclined to take action. However in the case of one of my images being used by an artist for their own work I have a more flexible position depending how the image had been used. If the new art was an exact copy I would cry not fair but if it was being used a more abstract form I would be fine especially if the artist contacted me to ask for approval before exhibiting the work.

IMG_2009 (1).jpg

Industrial Flora, Simon Fremont, June 2011



  • Article: Harpers Magazine Feb 2007, (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2017].
  • Article: Guardian July 18 2015, (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2017].
  • Article: The Verge 2015, (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2017].
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  1. By Strategies of Mediation – Reflection on 17th June 2017 at 4:58 pm

    […] sources they have used in their image making. I discuss my response in more detail in the Joywar discussion. The work I submitted during module two used appropriation as part of Re-seeing […]