Two years ago, I got an e-mail asking whether I’d be willing to do an Uhadi Ensemble photoshoot. I said fuck yeah! Getting to spend time in the vicinity of bra’s McCoy Mrubata, Paul Hamner, Feya Faku, Herbie Tsoaeli, not to mention ‘m’e Sibongile Khumalo and the young lion Justin Badenhorst (aka Nomad). It went swell and everything was gravy. And then one time later that year, I was at the Joy Of Jazz festival and saw a canvas print of one of the images, bra Herbie’s, being sold at a stall. I was too nice-up to worry about it. It didn’t concern me that a corporate entity such as Standard Bank — which sponsors an entire festival; which can afford to send an e-mail requesting whether they can use an image — did that.
Because that’s what they do.
What it did teach me, though, was that people will use and abuse your shit to no ends. In today’s terms, that means cropping out your watermark, putting filters on your work, sending the work you took to other people and conveniently forgetting to mention who did the shit, and so forth. That incident taught me that I don’t have control over what people decide to do with my images, but I do have a platform, regardless how small, to state that I did the work. Hence my posting about where my work is featured. Years from now, I don’t want to be the angry, bitter black guy crying foul that the system did me wrong.
I’m figuring out how to hack their fuckin’ system and this is but one of the many ways.
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