I thought that for today I’d approach the subject with a twist and try writing in the form of a script for an play to be called GIVE AND TAKE.
To set the scene, Character 1 is a well accredited photography judge.
Character 1 has been invited to judge at a very large club with a reputation for having a member totally lacking in ethical photographic practices, particularly when it comes to copyright. =TYhe meeting is at night.
Character 2, a member of that club, is determined to win the ‘Photographer of the Year’ title by hook or by crook.
Character 1 is aware of Character 2‘s take no prisoners approach, total disregard for copyright and the general rules of camera club competition.
Character 3 is the Club’s President and emcee for the night.
Character 1 and Character 3 enter the Club room where there are many images on stands.
Character 3 addresses the assembled camera club members,” Friends, tonight we have Fred Bloggs here to be our judge for the night. Fred is well experienced and has been here before. I know that many of you know him and know what to expect. Fred, the floor is yours”.
Character 1,” Thanks Mr President. It’s a pleasure to be here again. If I remember from last time, you want me to award Distinctions for the best works, Credits for those that are almost as good and comment on images where I think it’s warranted. If you have any questions, please ask them as we go along. There are lots of images to evaluate so I’ll get started straight away”.
Character 1 then begins to inspect the images and comments as he works, firstly along the rows of monochrome images.
Turning to the members, Character 1 says, ‘Well folks you have all done exceedingly well. It’s not often that I am able to award 7 Distinctions and 12 Credits in the monochrome section of an ‘open’ competition. If I could award a ‘Highly Commended’ classification I’d gladly do so for every other monochrome you have displayed. I admire the originality of each image and the effort you have all made. It’s been a pleasure’. The audience responds with applause.
Character 1 then turns his attention to the colour prints, He is aware that Character 2 has a work in that section. but is not aware of which one.
As he examines each print and makes the appropriate awards, he occasionally pauses to make a comment. Of one work he says,’ I’m particularly impressed here. The author has shown originality, understanding of light, composition and aperture. It’s an outstanding example of the photographers craft. Well done. Who created this great photograph?’
A voice from the rear of the hall says,” I did, I was on holidays and the landscape scene appealed so I made the shot. Thanks for your encouraging remarks”.
Character 1, replied, ” My pleasure”, awards it a Distinction and continues along the lines of photographs, making award after award.
Finally, Character 1 pauses at a landscape image comprising a number of dead trees forlornly silhouetted against a background of what appeares to be a red sandhill. After examining the work closely, he asks,” Whose work is this?”
From the centre of the hall a voice replies,” It’s mine, I liked the scene so much I couldn’t resist making the shot”
Character 1 recognises the voice as coming from Character 2 and says,” What an interesting image, where and when did you make it?”
Character 2,” Last year on holidays in the Flinder’s Ranges in South Australia”.
Character 1, ” Interesting work” and advances to the next image.
Character 2, “Wait on Fred, you haven’t commented on my work and you haven’t given it an award. Everyone I’ve shown it to reckons it’s a winning image and I’d like you to tell me why you’ve ignoring it”?
Character 1, “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not discuss your work right now, let’s talk about it after the judging is completed”.
Character 2, “You’re discriminating against me, I demand that you talk about my work here and now or I’m going to complain about you to the Federation and you’ll be sorry!”
Character 1,” You can take any action you like, I’ll complete the judging and talk with you later, preferably in private”.
Character 2 grunts and sits down.
Character 1 completes the judging, making numerous the appropriate awards to the applause of the gathering and then joins with everyone for light refreshments. Character 2 remains within hearing but remains mute and just glowers at the judge.
The meeting concluded, everyone leaves. In the car park, Character 1 is confronted by an hostile Character 2 who launches into a tirade of abuse. At the conclusion of the rant, Character 1 says,” There was no need for that, you know full well why you didn’t get an award and why I didn’t comment at the time on that image you purport to be yours”.
Feigning surprise, Character 2 says,” What do you mean by purport?”
Character 1, “You know damn well what I mean. That image is copyright. It was made by Ian Plant in the Namib Desert and is part of his famous Namibia portfolio. I’d recognise it anywhere”
Character 2,” So what, everyone thinks it’s mine, I changed the contrast and upped the saturation a bit and I reckon that it’s mine now so what are you going to do about it?”
Character 1,” I’ll make a deal with you. If you give me your undertaking that you will never again breach copyright and claim someone else’s image or images as your own, I’ll not refer your conduct to the Federation and ensure that you are banned from ever exhibiting in any club or competition in Australia or overseas ever again and have you turfed out of the Federation on your ear. Think yourself lucky that tonight I’m feeling benevolent”.
Character 2,” I’ve not much choice have I? I’ve been stupid and I give you my word I’ll play it straight from now on. As soon as I get home, I’ll rip the image up and take Ian’s images off my hard drive. I’ve one question though, why are you being so accommodating?”
Character 1,” Because young man, I’ve seen your own photographs before, you have a lot of talent and you have a great eye for composition, colour and perspective. If you put all of your effort into your own work you have every chance of becoming a well known and great photographer in your own right. That’s why I want to give you the chance”
Character 2,” Thanks Mr Bloggs, I appreciate the chance, I won’t let you down and I’ll honour my promise and never cheat again”.
Character 1,” That’s good, I’m pleased to hear it. I wish you all the best for your future and we will put tonight’s episode behind us. I’d like you to always remember that a little bit of give and take can achieve a lot so goodnight”.
Character 2 drove off in his car and drove straight to an all night bar where he had arranged to meet up with his mates. He boasted to them about beating the camera club rules, the system generally and how the stupid old judge so readily accepted his word that he wouldn’t cheat again and how the judge waffled on about give and take, what a lot of garbage. He told the mates that as soon as he got home he was going to create another masterpiece using the work of another overseas photographer whose work he had downloaded from the internet.
Give and take is sometimes strangely balanced by fate. On his way home, Character 2, well under the influence of intoxicating liquor, lost control of his car, left the road and crashed into a tree, killing himself instantly. The subsequent fire destroyed his misrepresented photograph. That was the element of take. He was alone in his vehicle when it crashed. No one else was injured. That was the element of give.
THE CURTAIN CLOSES. THERE IS NO CURTAIN CALL.