Lensman Jonathan Becker Talks Career Highs, Copyright Infringement – WWD


Arriving at a studio in an old bank building in Bedford Hills, NY earlier this week, longtime vanity fair photographer Jonathan Becker responds with an interesting footnote that connects the life of photography and media without buying it completely. ..

Becker, who was in the moonlight as a taxi driver in New York City in the late 70’s, welcomed Diana Vreeland and her friend Rudy Crespi at the Beekman Theater’s Checker Cab after watching a movie by Luchino Visconti. The photographer said, “I didn’t know her, but when I lived in Paris, I knew the actor in the movie. I knew her two sons and two grandchildren. She was like, “Who is this taxi driver?” Because I blurred all this. “

Three months later, WWD assigned Becker a photo of Vreeland. “I’m there where the taxi driver is knocking on the door. She was happy. She got it. She loved the people who work. Behind her. Standing was the glorious and great Andre Leon Talley, and then we together made this beautiful portrait of her, “he said.

Taking portraits in private is what he continues and is also making prints. Becker has been a landlocked country since December 2019 when he was taken to Marrakech in Paris and Morocco by a magazine assignment. He remains on the masthead of Vanity Fair, but the photographer who owns all his work maintains his independent spirit. Regarding his 45-year magazine career, he states: Had it not been for me, the archive wouldn’t have been … Books are great, but I loved magazines. Every month, something like this came out and became a hot topic. It is reconfirming. What did we get now? Instagram? I can’t take myself to do that. “

Nowadays, print buyers are interested in the very fine details found in images of Blenheim Palace, Ernest Hemingway’s house, and artist’s studio. As a sign that the foundation of photo sales is changing, Becker’s work can be found on the 1st dibs site and in his studio. Focusing on how Getty integrated the elite division, Lensman still has a relationship with Getty.

From his point of view, “the whole concept of intellectual property is under great threat. [of media] It’s about numbers, content, and space to fill. Delicacy and quality of work have not received much attention, “he said.

Recalling that the Daily Mail was once an important source of income, he got some of his portraits, he said. “If they want a monopoly for something, they’ll pay by nose,” he said. “They don’t care now … When they use photos, it’s easier for them to just let the lawyer answer the phone. [without permission].. Most people don’t care. “

With Andre Lion Tally’s death last week, many, whether or not he knew him personally, remembered his unmistakable fashion position. Becker, who became friends with Tally in the 70s, wasn’t just confident. Andy Warhol’s interview, WWD, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and airmail crossed high-flying creatives shared a similar career trajectory.

Becker said the outlet sent an email to the Daily Mail’s photo rights team on Wednesday after using one of Tally’s photos with a credit of “Copyright Instagram.” As of Thursday afternoon, he had not received a reply. The media request for the Daily Mail was not approved on Thursday. “They seem to tend to use what they want and worry about it later,” Becker said.

He said the issue of copyrighted images being widely reposted to Instagram without permission needs to be clarified in terms of what rights Instagram uses the photographer’s intellectual property. .. “I consider intellectual property to be the civil rights of everyone. What if I can’t benefit from my work and I don’t have copyright? That’s terrible. Why someone? Will you make it? “

Guessing about other scenarios, he states: NFT was supposed to go in the opposite direction [protecting artists’ work with encryption and giving them royalties each time the NFT is sold]”This is a lawyer’s problem. These are just questions, not blame.”

For those who aren’t sure and consider Instagram a free platform, he says: It’s free when it’s there. “

Instagram declined to comment Thursday on its policy on copyrighted images reposted or posted on media sites, a spokeswoman for the company said.

Recalling his bohemian days of piloting a checker cab, Becker said that being a taxi driver was a good thing to do in the late ’70s. The composer Philip Glass was also driving one at the time. Becker sometimes drove a taxi to film WWD parties and returned to the taxi to receive the fare.

Some favorite subjects from his life in the fast lane of the photo include Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the advocate of euthanasia. How she decorated things with animal print decorations. The Welsh prince, like the artist John Chamberlain, was another prominent figure. Tally may have been Becker’s “greatest subject in history,” he said.

Becker, accustomed to allocation-led travel before the shutdown settled, is keen to return to Paris, London, Rome, Brazil and Argentina. Recalling that he spent months and months filming a drinking fountain on Capri, Becker said: Slim Aarons always made fun of me, “Oh, you missed a good time.” I didn’t miss it. Now I miss it. But no one knows who is doing that right now. At Vanity Fair, I spent weeks at Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Adirondack, and Bedford filming everyone and the community. It cost me a lot of money to talk about that. We stayed at the best hotel. They all had to eat wine and food. But that wasn’t a problem. Readers liked it and continued their subscription. “

When he lived in Paris in the 70’s, Becker and his hero, the Septuagenarian Brassai, became close friends. When restaurant Elaine Kaufmann sent Becker $ 300 to return to New York on Christmas, Brassaï regains hundreds of prints by French photographers for books not published by literary agents. I asked for it. Becker said:That book [‘The Secret Paris of the 30’s’] Published — not very good. But the pictures were great … when I met him, his inventory was a bit low. He then performed a show in Marlboro, New York for the book and the beautiful books that followed, and a show about the artists of his life — virtually all major artists during the war in Paris. We have a very good relationship and will bring good luck to each other. “


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