Have you seen this photo recently? It was shot in the New York subway a few years ago by Melanie Einzig. She placed it on her personal website and in her In-Public portfolio. Since then the image has taken on a life of its own. It has popped up in all sorts of places online, rarely with a photo credit and never with Einzig's permission.
At least one person has put the photo in their personal flickr stream. Another has printed the jpg as a wall decoration. Some people have taken the liberty of adding their own captions.
Most photographers would be upset to find their images treated like this, but for Einzig it's particularly galling. More than most, she is very careful with the use of her photos, and normally doesn't allow any of them to circulate beyond her direct control.
But with this photo it may be too late. The genie may be out of the bottle. Or is it?
I have a simple proposal. Let's eradicate all unauthorized copies. If you have published this photo online, please take it down. If you encounter it somewhere online, send a personal email asking that it be removed.
On the face of it the effort might appear futile. The web generally works in one direction only. Images are like invasive weeds. They don't go into remission, they proliferate. I'm not sure it's possible for an image be removed from circulation, and in fact the eradication effort itself may lead to further proliferation.
In any case there's only one way to find out. Let's make this a test. Please help eradicate, and spread the word (not the image) to others, and we'll see what happens.
A TinEye search this morning lists 117 unlicensed copies of Einzig's image. Let's see if we can cut that number in half by August 1st.