Five Questions with Nature Photographer & Fine Art Printer Sean Davey by Copyright Alliance
This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Sean Davey.
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a magazine photographer turned creative art printer/seller?
I transitioned from 20 years as a magazine photographer to printing fine art canvases and prints from my large archive of imagery. I’ve been printing pretty much since the crash of the stock market back in 08-09. My number one motivation back then was to ensure a continued income when all my income sources were fizzling out in front of me. It’s a hell of an inspiring past-time though, being a primarliy water based photographer of nature.
2. Can you take us through your process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
I typically do most of my photography around the beaches first thing in the morning. Usually there are no people, the beach is perfectly smooth from the overnight high tide and the light is the most spectacular at sunrise. Usually, I’m leaving the beach when a lot of people are just getting out of bed. It’s pretty cool because I get to add to my archive of imagery on an “every other day” basis and then I still have the whole day ahead of me to run my business. Which typically consists of serving several social media accounts, doing some promo on there of some kind and editorial. Most of my orders come in via email, so I spend a fair bit of time dealing with orders and then printing them, packaging them up and getting them on their way. I usuallyhave a cam or two pointed at local surf cams, if I’m suspecting a good shoot about to happen and I can just pick up the camera gear and be there on the beach in 15 minures.
3. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
Initially, anything that involves art is a bit of a stretch of fate on a commercial level. If you can find yourself a niche, that’s the best. However, in this day and age, it’s also important to establish yourself asap because there will always be imitators in the background, looking to steal some of your market. So to answer, I’d say the biggest misconception is that you can kill it as an artist. Some do, but most don’t. Like any other job, it usually takes a lot of dedication and work, to establish yourself in art circles.
4. Have you experienced copyright infringement and if so how has it affected you personally and financially?
Oh yes, I see it quite regularly. I’m sure I could keep a lawyer employed full time using tineye.com to identify and go after illegal users of my imagery. It is a very rife problem. Whenever I see a blatant use of one of my images (usually on the web), I make screengrabs first. Then I send them to the offending party in a nicely worded email that lets them know that I’ve totally caught them with their pants down. Then I remind them that because they didn’t ask me to use my imagery, that they were actually putting my business at risk and that they should remove the imagery immediately. I also offer to license similar images to the infringing party (and this approach is typically successful because people want to show good faith). It’s important to have the screen grabs.
5. What is your best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
On a practical level, probably that you should have an action in your photo processing program that, at the click of a button, can be embedded into your files with all necessary contact details and ©copyright messages.
Nature photographer / fine art printer
Kahuku – Hawaii
Photo by Erik Ippel
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