let’s talk photo crediting.

[poster created by myself and pia bijkerk (with yvette‘s lovely handmade fonts!)– view larger format here]

So. A few weeks ago, Chelsea discussed a super polarizing topic on her blog: photo credits. And although I’ve always been a bit of a hippie that likes to encourage us all to hug, be friends and share inspiration, the gal’s got a point. Give credit where credit is due, be professional and be gracious.

Her post (and that of Grace’s a few months ago) spurred a mass email exchange between a few fellow colleagues, and behold, a few days later, a fun little poster was born.

In light of this poster release, I’d like to share a few thoughts I have in terms of photo credits and the beauty (curse?) of the Internet:

The Internet is vast, vast, vast. And original sources are often impossible to find. I get that. As a blogger, I’ve come across dozens of images daily with no original source, almost as if they’ve appeared out of thin air. What works for me? I follow the format of this poster, except for in the following circumstance:

Sometimes, an image (art/photography/etc) is so beautiful it elicits an incredible reaction that is so, so inspirational. And after seeking for a replacement, it can’t be found. For some reason, this image tugs at my heartstrings more than anything else, and I feel the need to share it with you all.

This has happened only a handful of times in the 5+ years I’ve been blogging, so know that I don’t like to rely on the “heartstrings” as a defense technique. BUT. It has happened before, and I haven’t been able to locate the original source. In this instance, I credit this as a SOS Image.

The key to photo credits, in my opinion, is to be aware, intentional and respectful. I completely understand that there are times where an original source is nearly impossible to find, and if there’s no replacement and you simply must share the particular image, I’d suggest creating a SOS of your own (as a last resort, of course) and putting out a call to readers to help you credit that image properly.

In other words, come up with your own protocol/photo technique. Will you refuse to post all images without proper credit, period? Or will you come up with a SOS system of your own? Will you go as far as to boycott the use of social networking / bookmarking sites that don’t regulate original sourcing of images?

It’s up to you, but I’d encourage you to give the topic some deep thought. I’d love for everyone to receive the praise they so deserve in the best way possible.

Let’s all hold ourselves to a higher standard, OK? And hug while we’re at it.

p.s. Thanks to Grace for announcing the launch of our poster this morning, and thank you for the support, friends.

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