Dear Nubian Reflections,

Today, I saw one of my photos with 500+ likes on your page. This is way more than I ever had on my own Facebook page Davon Henry Photography.

Yet, it didn’t feel as good I wished. I was not happy.

© Davon Henry

I naturally have more success on my clients’ pages who are mostly singers, musicians or organizations than on mine. It makes me happy.

Young Paris at Afropunk Paris 2015

The main difference is that not only my clients pay me, but they also give me proper credit for my photographs. It allows viewers to know who took the photograph and maybe get interested in the photographer’s work. You totally erased me from the production of the photograph and took all the credit for yourself.

One truth that is hard to deny is that it is very difficult to have positive images of Black people within mainstream media. The object of your page seems legit. What a better way to have a good representation of yourself than being in charge of that representation ?

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This is with that mindset that photographers, including me, started producing work representing the images they imagined of Black people. I can’t count the photographers putting their energy into this craft : Derrel Todd (USA), Dallas J. Logan (USA), Ocean Morisset(Haiti/USA), Damien Jélaine (FR), Yanick Folly (Benin), Josué Azor (Haiti),  T.C. Maila (South Africa), Saddi Khali (USA), Adrian McDonald (Jamaica) to name a few. I can go on for pages with photographers who purposely create a dignified image of black people and who do so with talent.

This takes time, dedication and money.

When a blog like you promoting a positive representation of Black people picks one of our photographs, it should feel great. It should feel like we are achieving something with our art. The interest of your audience should mean a lot to us.

Yet.

You deny worth when take our work and do not even consider compensation.

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When you fail to mention the photographer it just feels like you are happy with the work but you are ashamed of who produced it.

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I went around Nubian Reflection page and I realized that you purposely erased or cropped out all credit of professionally-taken photographs. This is a lie to your fans who may not be aware of what is at stake.

While I am confident with the result of a court action, I feel like we would lose from it as a community. 5X5A2438   We are one. We work together for a better representation of ourselves. Let’s not get there. Let’s grow together.

Dear Nubian Reflections and as a matter of fact, all similar afro-centric blogs or Facebook pages, I am asking you starting today:

  • To not use a photograph unless you have the owner’s authorization.
  • To credit all the photographs that you use on your Facebook page and Facebook-mention the photographer’s page.

It is also ethical as an art-creating community to support and mention those who helped creating the photograph : make-up artists, art director, models, retouchers. Celebrate the people who created the photo. So I am also asking you

  • To mention the creative community who helped the photograph happen.
  • To clearly identify fan-submitted images. Your process makes me feel that you are picking pictures from people’s profile pictures and that sounds creepy.

If your goal is truly to support a positive image of black people, I trust you to support the people who create these images.

My request is supported by a large community of photographers and activists. I am expecting you to take action now for the greater good.

Next time you want to use one of my photos, please mention Davon Henry Photography as the photographer. The models are Eva Sapazafew and Young Jos. She has a Facebook page Never Too Much, and he is a singer. His Facebook page is Young Jos.

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8 Comments

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  1. 1
    Alvin G

    It’s only right you’re given credit…SMH, the fact you even have to pen this commonly courteous request is in itself the real shame.

    • 2
      Davon

      Totally ! I am aware that it’s a common mistake for many people and I learned to live with it but when it’s a person who openly states they are working for “us” and our “heritage” it doesn’t make sense to erase us that way.

  2. 3
    Zenia

    Outstanding! Creatives should work together, and your article is a beautiful representation of how we could effectively and efficiently do this as a community.

    • 4
      Davon

      Thank you Zenia and thank you for your input. We could build so much together. Hopefully some will learn from it.

  3. 5
    Jon

    Thank you Davon, well said. Let’s grow together and mention the photographer who takes the shot. There are many of us that share a love for this craft and to have someone steal pics and not mention who produced it is a thief.

    • 6
      Davon

      Thank you for the support Jon. That’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t take much and we could both win from it. We could provide those websites content for free and they could put us forward. This could be an encouragement to produce similar photographs. Yet, we get attacked from our own ranks.

      I started to discuss with Nubian Reflections and I got blocked for writing this. They deleted my picture and kept on posting other photographers’ pictures.

  4. 7
    AMONTE B. LITTLEJOHN

    I’ve read this scenario many times on other photog sites. Someone has taken the work of another photographer and published as his own or even just used it with no credit to the artist. The creator of course would prefer to get paid but often would settle for a credit. The illegitimate publisher well offer no compensation and will even pull the picture rather than simply give credit to the true artist. Over and over again, but the same story. The mis-user was obviously very aware of what they were doing as evidenced by attempts to crop out or otherwise edit away the watermark and finally, refuse to give a photo credit. Sadly, we often expect better treatment of ourselves by those like ourselves. SMH.

    • 8
      Davon

      “Sadly, we often expect better treatment of ourselves by those like ourselves. SMH.”

      I think that’s were I used to be naive until now. You perfectly summed up the situation. Thank you for your input!

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