Interstate Batteries, for instance, he produced videos
and still images in the studio, showing workers’ hands as
they installed the batteries.
More recently The Richards Group in Dallas hired
Myers to photograph production for Stuller, Inc., a
Louisiana-based jewelry industry wholesaler. And
the Harvard Graduate School of Education sent him
around the country to shoot portraits of graduates
who now hold high-powered jobs as college and university administrators. They’re certainly not artisans,
but Myers says the craftsman project had a lot to do
with landing these assignments because the style appeals to all types of clients, not just manufacturers.
Meanwhile, he has continued to add to the craftsman project. “Every two months, I post a new subject,”
he says. He promotes those updates with an e-mail blast
to a mailing list of about 2,600 people. In January, he
mailed out 4,000 copies of an 18 x 24-inch poster with
images from the project, and the site’s URL. “It has no
phone number on the poster. It’s just to drive people to
my Web sites,” he says. Suggestions for new subjects
now come in over the transom. He photographed at the
Steinway & Sons piano factory in New York City at the
(unsolicited) invitation of their marketing department.
He also searches for subjects by following blogs and
Web sites dedicated to the themes of craftsmanship
and American-made products. And he does Internet
searches for craftsmen in locations where he’s sched-
uled to travel for assignments. One recent subject he
found searching online was a custom surfboard maker
in San Diego. “A lot of work goes into selecting [sub-
jects],” he says. “Our criteria is the person or company
has to do it for a living, and it has to be hand-crafted
[from scratch], not automated.”
So far, Myers has photographed more than 25 artisans.
He expects to photograph about ten more, including a
carousel maker in Ohio, a cigar maker in Kentucky, an ac-
cordion maker in Louisiana and a man who makes—by
hand, from molten metal he pours at his studio—all of
the Grammy Awards statues.
LAW & ETHICS
A wedding photographer’s
run-in with a rock band
for unauthorized use of a
popular song on a client’s wedding
video has cast a spotlight on a
practice that makes photographers
squirm: their violation of
other artists’ copyrights.
By David Walker
For more images, see TaddMyers.com and
AmericanCraftsmanProject.com. This month on
PDNOnline: Examples of Myers’s videos.
Become a member of our community of forward-thinking
professionals with access to all the tools, information and
support needed to succeed. Join now.
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHERS
Photography © Shawn G. Henry
ASMP is the premier trade association for the world’s most
respected imaging professionals.
PHOTOGRAPHER JOE SIMON OF AUSTIN, TEXAS,
reportedly settled with the band Coldplay for using a
song without the band’s permission on a video for a
celebrity client. The band found out about it after the
video went viral.
But Simon isn’t the only photographer to synchronize copyrighted music to a wedding video or slide
show without permission. With no easy or affordable
way to clear music rights, a lot of wedding photographers are apparently breaking copyright law.
It is happening “more and more,” says photogra-
pher David Jay. “Some photographers think of it as
‘stealing’ while some want to pay but can’t, and oth-
ers see it as one artist helping another artist promote
what they do.”
It is difficult to license music because it requires
permission from several parties, including the lyri-
cist, the composer and the recording artist. Licensing
organizations such as ASCAP and BMI don’t offer
synchronization licenses for “small” users like wed-
“I’ve never heard of a wedding photographer suc-
cessfully being able to license a mainstream song for
synchronized use,” Jay says. “Photographers want to
pay a reasonable fee to use the music so when they
can’t they’ll just do it anyway.”
Wedding photographers Andrew Niesen and
Rachel LaCour Niesen have tried to solve the licensing
problem by paying about $1,000 per year to ASCAP
and BMI for licenses the photographers describe as
“experimental.” The licenses allow them to use any
songs in the ASCAP and BMI repertoires.
But they have to keep track of (and report) down-
loads, to make sure they don’t exceed the limit. And
they’re not sure the licenses actually protect them
from claims. “I always worry,” Andrew says. “I know
I’m doing more than a lot of photographers who grab
a song and use it.”
The Niesens also license from Triple Scoop Music,