i have never asked anyone i ever photographed for a model release…..it is just not something i can do…..to ask someone to sign a legal document after taking a picture is just too hard for me to do….it is not in my genes…..
but, i do have model releases for pictures which i shoot for advertising… i have an assistant do it…now i am shooting in new york for a couple of days on the same ad campaign that takes me to brazil…..they want my freestyle street shooting and yet require a release…this is very difficult in new york where people are rushing and often suspicious…
more and more, publishers of all kinds are requiring model releases…we live in a litigious society….newspapers and general circulation magazines in the united states still are legally exempt from needing a release from someone who is photographed in the "public domain"….but, even these publications are starting to at least suggest getting a release..
for sure, you need to have written legal permission if you are going to publish work which would involve the selling/marketing of a product….if you have a picture that is published inside a magazine, that same picture would require a release if used on the cover and subsequently the cover used to promote the magazine….
yesterday, while out shooting for this ad campaign, i shot a random picture of a Catholic nun who was walking through the park..i was riding from one of those horse carriages for tourists and the picture was an interesting juxtaposition of the driver and the horse’s head and the nun dressed in white…"stop this carriage!!"…marie ( read about marie in "student work") jumps off and runs to get this release signed…i cannot even look….the driver tells me he cannot stop in the middle of the street like this…marie comes running back with the nun who, as it turns out , was walking with her non-nun sister…
i said, "hey, we have to move"…i looked down at the smiling nun….i said," why don’t you come with us"….she smiled even more….i reached down, grabbed her hand, and pulled her and her sister up into the horse carriage…..off we went…..
Sister Gemma and i shake hands and she introduced me to her family sister Rhonda who was visiting from Kansas…Sister Gemma resides in new york along with 50 other "sisters" in a convent ….can’t remember which one….anyway, we start talking about Kansas….i used to live there…my first job as a photographer out of grad school was at the Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal….when i told Sister Gemma and her non-nun sister Rhonda that i used to be a photographer in Kansas, their smiles got bigger!!! but, i could not help but think they had to have some doubt…some suspicion…i mean, here is this man in Central Park with a camera riding around in a horse carriage and asking them (or marie is asking them) to sign a legal document!!!
well, as it turns out Sister Gemma wants to take better pictures….she shoots sometimes for the Catholic publication of her convent….which camera is best?? you know the conversation..i gave her my business card and the link to this site..we chatted for awhile and had a very pleasant ride through the park…neither marie nor i had ever taken one of these horse carriages before….i mean, if you live in new york, this just does not happen!!!
Sister Gemma said she could not sign a model release…she would need permission from Sister Superior from her convent….we exchanged phone numbers etc….
so, there you have it…i do not have a model release…..this picture cannot be used in this campaign….was i disappointed?? not at all….the warm eyes and the sincere conversation i had with Gemma and Rhonda made my day…..
it started to rain as we said goodbye….warm handshakes….Sister Gemma and Rhonda, i hope you read this….it was a pleasure to meet you…..