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Current Tattoo Policy Question

We've been looking at local models and it seems 90% of them are inked in some way or another. Before I book any one of these models I would like to know at what point does a visible tattoo require a property release?

I can see a reason for release in cases where the tattoo is 100% visible and parallel to the camera where the design could be lifted, isolated and made commercially available as tattoo parlor "flash art"

but where does DT draw the line? ... can the design be 50% visible .. 75% visible? What if it is 100% visible but not shot parallel to the camera? What if it's located on an area of the body that extends beyond the DOF midway through the tattoo?

I'm guessing my solution is going to be that I simply don't shoot the 90% of inked models in the area so I don't have to bother with it .. but it would be great to have some clarification for certain cases with highly photogenic models that are inked ... and where obtaining PR for all artists involved is physically impossible.

thanks :)
-- Icebreaker Sugar Free Mints...
Posted: 03/09/2014, 17:13:17 PM
You can alter a tattoo in post processing if need be.
If the tattoo is not something special, meaning is something you can get done at any local shop, not a specific design, than you should be fine. We definitely draw the line at custom made tattoos as they fall into the art category.
300v (film), assorted lenses ...
Posted: 03/10/2014, 02:11:07 AM
If you have a model release, what does it matter how much of the tattoo is showing? ANY tattoo is art and having paid for it on my body that makes it MY art. So if a model signs a model release isn't the tattoo then part of the release? The art is certainly not a possession of the tattoo artist, so how could he or she have any rights to it? As tatted photographer I find this a very interesting topic.
Posted: 03/16/2014, 04:41:43 AM
Thanks Nikitu

Jctabb - you just have to think about it this way. If somebody buys your photo and displays it on their website .. does that mean they paid you for it so it's now theirs and they should be able to do anything they want with it? Tattoo artists need to be protected just like we do and it's our responsibility to know where to draw the line on distributing photos that include their artwork on a models body .. even if there were no laws governing tattoos it would still be the ethical thing to do for a fellow artist. :)
-- Icebreaker Sugar Free Mints...
Posted: 03/16/2014, 15:37:57 PM
I understand your argument and respect your opinion and Dreamstime's policy. But I think comparing photographers and tattoo artists is like apples to oranges. To your question... If I sell them all rights to the photo, then yes, it's theirs now and not mine and they can do what they wish with it. Because I have given up my rights, true? By paying for a tattoo, I have bought the exclusive rights for it. Who gets a tattoo with the agreement that the artist gets paid again if the tat is covered up, altered, laser removed, fades because the lack of care in the sun, etc.? When finished, they say "You have to let me take a picture to put it in my book to show other clients", they ask "do you mind if I take a picture to put in my book?"
Tattoo artists truly are artists indeed, and the ones I know absolutely love having the work they have done appreciated and displayed, not hidden or half shown.

BTW, does graffiti need a release? I really would think that would be more protected than tattoos, but I'm 0-1 so far!
Posted: 03/16/2014, 19:27:56 PM
Posted: 03/16/2014, 19:58:24 PM
Tattoos and graffiti are the things I try to steer clear of, for tattoos I try to remove in post if they are too obvious and the laws surrounding graffiti and copyright are so varied around the world it's better to just avoid or use as editorial. As far as Uk law stands the graffiti is the copyright of the artist but another law says you cannot make a financial gain from an illegal activity so technically using someone else's graffiti means they would be unable to enforce their rights, but don't think the concept has ever been tested so I would just avoid, there's always something else to shoot
Posted: 03/21/2014, 02:43:19 AM
This is a very interesting discussion. Especially when we talk about celebrities with tattoos, it's a given that they'll be photographed and on screen. So at what point do we draw the line? Artists should not be able to control what other people can and cannot do with their own body.
Nikon D5100 and Canon G10
Posted: 05/15/2014, 23:02:27 PM
Myersct, celebrity images will be uploaded in the editorial section anyway, so the copyright issue does not apply here.
300v (film), assorted lenses ...
Posted: 05/19/2014, 03:18:58 AM
I have to say that I'm with Jctabb. Clearly, regardless of what I think I will follow the guidelines, but this sure is an interesting blurred subject.
Sony, Canon
Posted: 05/22/2014, 23:00:32 PM