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.

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.


Author: Diane Seddon ARPS AFIAP CPAGB BPE3* - D Seddon Photography

I am a retired freelance photographer, based in Louth, Lincolnshire.

11 thoughts on “Sunrise / Sunset / Image Theft ???”

  1. I’m not overly precious about my photographs but, on the few occasions they have been pilfered and misrepresented, I contacted the miscreant politely and told them to remove my work from their website. In nearly every instance, I received an apology and they put things right. I am not naive enough to think they were sorry for doing it, just sorry for being caught out. And what this woman (not a lady, not an artist, but an opportunist) has done is out and out theft. Not only that, she has taken images of a beautiful natural occurrence and created a harsh, garish piece of wall hanging that offends the eye. She should be sentenced to sitting on a riverbank for a year at sunrise and sunset until she appreciates the beauty of Nature.


  2. Is it theft – Yes. Blatently copying an image with a watermark is indefensible. If she really wants to produces something different, why couldn’t she take her own pictures. Perhaps she doesn’t realise the sun rises and sets 365 times a year?


  3. This is straightforward theft as far as I’m concerned, no argument! That apart, do I like what this “artist” has produced with her I’ll gotten goods? NO! Simple answer, it’s a joke. “Emporers New Clothes” springs to mind & so called “modern art” is a very sore point with me, it insults my intelligence that people produce this kind of thing and expect praise & adulation for it.
    Back to your original question: is it theft? YES, in every sense of that word.
    Is this art? NO, it’s rubbish, I wanted to use a much stronger word but this is your blog.
    Sorry if my comments are a tad honest.


  4. The use of others images in any form is theft. Copyright us there for a purpose. If some one abuses it report then.


  5. Well having had a look, at first I was not sure that I liked the image at all, looking through the rest I did enjoy the one with bits of letters and cameras on and I think that would be a pleasant image for the wall. When the first image is shown as a full wall, it does have impact, ok in a gallery or subway wall perhaps? perhaps seeing it for real may be better. On the point of; is it stealing other peoples work? again for me possibly yes, if we did the same with a bunch of wildlife images and described it : as an adventure on Safari you would say , it is stealing other peoples images. I think I am correct in thinking the author is an artist, and this is her way of doing a piece of art without a paint brush? instead, using photographic images. I think it is an ingenious concept, never the less. May be in this case she is justified in what she has done.


    1. So because she is an artist – it’s OK? So if I took a load of your images, put them together in a panel, and sold it as my work, you’d be happy?


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