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Friday, 25 January 2013

Colin Hampden-White: Exhibition Closing Party

Um, who owns the copyright in this image, I wonder
A digital photograph of a digital photograph: it's a copy and it's digital, but it's not a digital copy in the way that downloading an album to your iPhone is.

But it is not an analogue copy either - is there even a word for what it is ?

Analog, like analogous - meaning basically the same as but not identical. An analogue copy stored digitally, perhaps ?

On a more pragmatic level, who owns the IP rights in my photograph of the original ? Am I breaching the artist's copyright by reproducing a shot here ?

I hope not, because Colin Hampden-White was kind enough to invite me to his photography display at The Marylebone Hotel and I was not able to stay long at all.

To find out I'd also breached copyright would merely add insult to injury.

I had time to say hello to Colin, catch-up with a few friends, one glass of Moet fizz, quick view of the photos and then I had to head off.

There were to be whiskies later, partly in recognition of the following day being Burns Night, but I missed that part.

I'm not quite sure how best to describe Colin's winemaker and whiskymaker photos - perhaps an appropriate analogy (that word again) is a vintage blanc de blancs Champagne; they have an elegance, purity and brightness as well as a recognisable style.

They are balanced, instantly recognisable and well-constructed.

So far, so good.

But, for me, what they do not have is contrast, impressionism or a sense of the unexpected. Each shot, generally, is a well-lit, face-on colour portrait of a wine-make or domaine owner with a little of the winery in the background; but it feels very much like a "public face".

They are not, for example, intimate portraits showing deep-set emotions - rather, they are perfectly executed studies, technically precise.

Perhaps these are photos to fall quietly in love with: they generally eshew quirks - out-of-focus juxtaposition, unusual angles or contrasting light - but gradually we find in their bright positivity and elegance a reassuring comfort.

I later had a look at Colin's portfolio on his website - where I found much more of the sort of thing that I'm trying describe here: architectural structures contrasted with cloud formations, intriguingly-lit interiors with a sense of depth and movement, public icons caught intimately in real-life situations.

There are some really lovely and eye-catching images there.

Now, I hope that's enough to keep the IP lawyers at bay.

Other related articles
Whiskies for Burns Night - with Colin's recommendations
On Intellectual Property Ownership

Colin Hampden-White - website, twitter
Greatest Winemakers
Greatest Whiskymakes

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