Is it okay to take photos of artists' works at a public festival?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 26,250
Depends on the artist, of course...

AZBlue wrote:

I recently went to a Halloween festival that was open to the public and held in a city park (public place). There were a number of arts & crafts booths with some local artists showing their work (jewelry, glass sculptures, antique instruments converted into lamps, etc.). Several of the vendors saw me walking around with my camera and invited me in to take photos of their work, which I thought was a clever way to sell me on their work.

I found an artist with some beautiful glass pumpkins set against a backdrop of holiday lights about 20 feet behind. I thought the bokeh would be nice and wanted to practice shooting with shallow depth of field. I barely got two shots before the guy berated me for taking pictures of his work without permission. He said nothing to the five other people taking photos with their phones.

He incorrectly claimed that a photographer who shoots his art then owns his art, but I didn't want to get into an argument about copyright law. I was there to have fun and enjoy the festivities. Two people who were in my party decided against buying his glass pumpkins because of his behavior and told him so.

Was I wrong to shoot his work, for personal use, in a public place?

I would respect the artists' wishes.  Yes, it's a public space but many artists don't want someone copying their work by taking photos and then going home to try it themselves or share with a friend/family member who is artistically inclined.  Maybe he doesn't consider cell phone images to be a threat.

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