Sunrise / Sunset / Image Theft ???

I’m a bit quick off the mark with the blog posts at the moment, but I follow another blog with a link I thought was worth sharing.

It also begs a question, and I’d be interested in getting opinions.

The link is at the bottom of the page, but before you look, read on…..  This ‘artist’, has culled from Flickr thousands of sunrise, and sunset images – she’s also taken them from other sites, some still show partial watermarks.

She has cropped each image down to what looks like postcard size, so that they only show the sun rising, or setting.  These images have then been curated together to form massive murals of red and other colours, and to be honest, they look quite stunning.

My question is about using other peoples work to create your own – as I notice that her work is copyright to the artist….

Here’s the question……  Is it right that she has curated, and used all these images from Flickr, and other sources, to create a work of art of her own, and to make a profit from it?

I know (as I do use Flickr) that you can set a creative commons licence to images on there, which would allow both private and commercial use.  However, I also know that a lot of people who post on there, use the generic copyright, which does not allow use by anyone else.  Plus, I also see on some of this ladies work, the partial copyright signs that she is cropping.  Shutterstock, and Bigstock are just two of the agencies that I immediately recognise.

Have a read of the page, and please do tell me what you think.

http://www.penelopeumbrico.net/index.php/project/suns/

Here’s a quote from her website:-

Copyrighted Suns / Screengrabs questions the claim of ownership of an image of something that is essentially un-possess-able. I cropped the suns from images of sunsets on stock photography websites that had a ‘watermark’ running through them. I used the descriptive tags of each of the stock images as the titles of each of my cropped ‘watermarked’ suns. The words summarize the collective narratives we weave around it’s setting, and also indicate how much a fragment I am using from each image.

Is not a landscape, un-possess-able (as she puts it), or an image of the stars, or aurora, and does this mean she can use any image she wants – is the fact that the image is cropped make it acceptable to use it?  Does the fact that she adds tags to each of the stock images make it right?

I think not – there is something I find intrinsically uncomfortable with this type of art ‘theft’ – if indeed it is theft….

Your thoughts will be much appreciated.