Lensman Jonathan Becker Talks Career Highs, Copyright Infringement – WWD

Came to Bedford Hills, NY, his studio in an old bank building earlier this week, perennial Vanity Fair Photographer Jonathan Becker chili responds with amusing captions that stick together for a lifetime in photography and media without outright buying into it.

Appearing as a New York City taxi driver in the late ’70s, Becker picked up Diana Vreeland and her friend Rudi Crespi in his Checker cab at the Beekman Theater after they both watched a movie together. movie Luchino Visconti. The photographer said, “I didn’t know her, but I knew the actors in the movie, when I lived in Paris. I know her two sons and two grandsons. She was, like, ‘Who is this taxi driver?’ because I just said all these things. ”

Three months later, WWD assigned Becker to photograph Vreeland. “Here I am, the taxi driver, knocking on her door. She was very happy. She understands. She loves the people who work. Behind her stood the great André Leon Talley in all its glory. Then we got together to do this beautiful portrait of her,” he said.

Shooting portraits in private poses is what he continues to do, as is printing. Becker has been inactive since December 2019, when magazine missions took him to Paris and Marrakech, Morocco. Though he’s still on the headlines at Vanity Fair, the photographer, who owns all of his work, has maintained his independent spirit. Speaking of his 45-year magazine career, he said, “Somehow, even during that time, I worked for myself and to my own standards. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have that archive….Book great, but I love magazines. Every month, we have these things launched and talked about. It is reaffirming. What do we have now? Instagram? I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”

Towards the end, buyers of paintings are interested in very fine details, such as those found in his images of Blenheim Palace, Ernest Hemingway’s home or artists’ studios. As a sign of the changing background of photography For sale, Becker’s work can be found on 1stdibs and through his studio. Noting how well Getty has integrated its elite division, the lens still has a relationship with Getty.

In his view, “The whole concept of intellectual property is under great threat. Value [of media] has just become about numbers, content and space to fill. I said.

Recalling how the Daily Mail was once a significant source of revenue, choosing some of his portraits, he said. “They will pay through their noses if they want the exclusive rights to something,” he said. “They don’t mind now…it would be easier for them to just have a lawyer answer calls when they use images [without permission]. Most people don’t mind.”

The passing of André Leon Talley last week prompted many to recall his unmistakable status in fashion, regardless of whether they knew him personally or not. Befriending Talley in the ’70s, Becker was more than just a soul mate – the high-flying creators shared a similar career trajectory, intersecting in Andy Warhol’s Interview, WWD, VogueVanity Fair and AirMail.

Becker said he emailed the Daily Mail’s photography rights team on Wednesday, after the outlet used one of his photos of Talley with the credit “Copyright”. Instagram. As of Thursday afternoon, he still had not received a response. A media claim to The Daily Mail was not acknowledged on Thursday. “They seem to have a tendency to use what they want and worry about it later on,” says Becker.

The issue of copyrighted images being widely re-posted on Instagram without permission, he said, needs to be clarified about what rights Instagram has to use the intellectual property of photographers. “I consider intellectual property a civil right for everyone. If there is no possibility to profit from my work, there is no copyright, what will happen? It’s terrible. Why would anyone do anything? “

Speculating on other scenarios, he said, “Do they have the right to take your entire Instagram feed and sell it as NFT without paying for it? NFT is supposed to go the other way [protecting artists’ work with encryption and giving them royalties each time the NFT is sold], “I said. “This is a matter for lawyers. These are just questions, not accusations.”

For those who might not know better and consider Instagram a free platform for all, he said, “That’s the impression Instagram gives. Once it’s there – it’s free. “

According to a company spokesperson, Instagram declined to comment on Thursday on its policy regarding copyrighted images re-posted or featured on media sites.

Recalling his freelance days driving a check-in taxi, Becker said being a taxi driver was a respectable thing to do in the late 70s. Composer Philip Glass also drove one at the time. that point. Becker sometimes drives his taxi to film a party for WWD and then returns to the taxi to collect the fare.

Some of his life’s favorite subjects in the fast-paced field of photography include welfare advocate Dr Jack Kevorkian, who Becker says is a fascinating subject, as well as Jocelyn Wildenstein, who tends to like cats thanks to her plastic surgery, the way she dresses, and the way she decorates things with animal print ornaments. The Prince of Wales is another standout, as is artist John Chamberlain. Talley might be Becker’s “best subject ever,” he said.

Accustomed to traveling on assignment before the shutdown, Becker wants to return to Paris, London, Rome, Brazil and Argentina. Recalling how he once spent months photographing the watering holes in Capri, Becker said, “It was just another time and another world. Slim Aarons always taunts me, ‘Oh, you missed the good times.’ I didn’t miss it. Now I remember it. But I don’t know who is doing it now. With Vanity Fair, I spent weeks in Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Adirondacks, Bedford photographing all the people and communities. It costs a fortune to make such stories. We stay in the best hotels. They have to drink and dine for everyone. But it doesn’t matter. The readers loved it and it went on to subscribe. ”

While living in Paris in the 70s, Becker and the female warrior Brassaï, his hero, quickly became friends. When restaurateur Elaine Kaufman sent Becker $300 to fly back to New York for Christmas, Brassaï asked him to get hundreds of prints by the French photographer for an unpublished book from a literary agent. learn. “I brought them back and he brooded over them,” says Becker. That book [‘The Secret Paris of the 30’s’] published – not so good. But the pictures are amazing… his inventory was a bit low, when I met him. Then he had shows in New York at Marlborough for that book and a beautiful follow-up book and show about the artists in his life – pretty much every major artist between the wars in Paris. We just have a very good relationship and will bring each other luck. “

https://wwd.com/eye/people/photographer-jonathan-becker-talks-copyright-infringement-his-career-1235054699/ Lensman Jonathan Becker Talks Career Highs, Copyright Infringement – WWD


Linh is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Linh joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: linh@interreviewed.com.

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