Enjoying “Stolen Images”

Restoring this post after this weekend’s spam-fest; apologies if it appears in your RSS Reader twice.


Here’s something that won’t be around forever: a French MySpace page that catalogues 1,428 images devoted to the bob hairstyle and its derivatives. Brooksie would be proud!

Looking through the images in rapid succession was like shaking a grayscale kaleidoscope of eyes, lips and hair angles into constant new configurations, a delightful experience that left me feeling awed and inspired. I wondered if I should be feeling a twinge of guilt for ravenously going through what can be classified as “stolen images” that have been gathered from the web, scanned from magazines and even manipulated without credit. And then it hit me: I don’t care.


Of course knowing the artists’ names would’ve been nice, but I accept that it may have been impossible to compile that information. I enjoyed the site anyway. Was that wrong? Depends on where you think the line of theft gets crossed. Of all places, I’ve observed that the most embarrassing attitudes towards image theft come from within the alt photo/modeling scene. What I mean to say is: no one has bigger or uglier watermarks than alt photographers.

Every day on every networking site, people swap copyrighted photos for inspiration. It’s become part of our culture. In reaction, I’ve seen many alt photographers and models sick their DMCA-brandishing fan army like a pack of attack dogs on any DeviantArt artiste or naive foreign-language gothchick photo-swapping blog that “gets reported”, and it always left me feeling more sorry for the target and even the fans than for the artist who’s been “ripped off.” I bet that at least at one point in their life, every photographer stumbled across an uncredited image they didn’t pay for that affected their aesthetic sensibility. Well, it’s time to give that to someone else; today’s world just makes this process more transparent, and faced with this this new visibility into the life cycle of their work, image owners freak out.

Obviously, it’s wrong to steal a photo and proclaim yourself the subject or the photographer; still, I feel that humiliating these people (most of whom are just insecure 13-year-olds) publicly should be beneath the image owner, and that a private email or website customer service alert should suffice. Swiping images (or complete art direction, for that matter) as a means to financial gain is the least forgivable thing of all, and that’s when I support the heavy-handed tactics described above.

Anyway, back to the 1,428 beauties and their sleek hairstyles on MySpace. It’s an amazing repository of inspiration and research; enjoy! And if you’re a photographer who ended up there (yay, Allan!), be happy. It’s the residual effect of producing an iconic image, the fact that it ends up in a place like this where people can find it and get inspired in turn.


7 Responses to “Enjoying “Stolen Images””

  1. meeks Says:

    oh sigh, images like these are what make me wish i was born with straight hair.


    thanks for sharing this though, it’s too much gorgeous to even handle.

    i see lots of sketching and some sleek-haired photo shoots in the future thanks to this. very inspirational.

  2. Lolla Says:

    this came just in time, to save me from my boredom with my hair.
    Thanks. I see a haircut coming very soon!

  3. Zoetica Says:

    Mhm, mhm preach it, sistah.

    As an alt model and artist with a bunch of my art and modeling images floating about the web I’ve had all kinds of brushes with this sort of thing. I suppose the line gets drawn when someone actually impersonates me or claims to have created my paintings. Both have happened and were dealt with.

    The smaller scale stuff I’ve learned to ignore or handle quietly; it’s the Internet for Darwin’s sake – have some grace, because in 10 years all your 6th grade rabid hate-spew will still be floating around for all to see.

  4. rubyredshoes Says:

    thank you for this. I think Im bob obsessed, my hair hasnt grown past my shoulders in over 5 years and Ive had loads of different shapes, colours and fringes and im still not bored.

    why have hair that just sit there on you shoulders when you can have geometic shapes with lots of teasing?

  5. illyana Says:

    i subscribe to the RSS feed for this site, and this post came through with a TON of links that seemed very weird. after the paragrah that ends “…watermarks than alt photographers,” there is a huge list of porn links before the real link to the rest of the entry. the links all lead to various pages on http://www.jtechnica.com (which doesn’t seem to be something that would host a ton of porn). here’s an example link: http://www.jtechnica.com/hqc.php?butt.htm (this one is labeled “gay butt”). i haven’t clicked on any of them, so i don’t know if there’s even anything illicit behind that gay butt.

    just thought i’d let you know that something weird is going on. i love the site and wouldn’t want to see someone fucking with you guys!

    (never mind; i see you have found and fixed the problem!)

  6. lucylle Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you|
    When I saw the post I first thought that Coilhouse had been upgraded with telepathic functions as I badly needed the bob-related visual inspiration for my next haircut :-)

    As for the question of inspirational images versus image theft: for me, the main reason people upload their work online, is that they want it to reach as many people as possible…. they should be prepared to the fact that images WILL get downloaded, linked and used as reference by others.
    I, for starters, have gigabytes of inspirational pics: while I can name most of the authors, other images just didn’t have that information with them and sadly remain unclaimed despite my searches.

    Watermarks? They usually reek of scarce professionalism, ruin the image and spoil the view…. not to mention, they won’t get saved as much and won’t circulate. As for getting well known…. isn’t “who made this?” the first question people ask when confronted with a beautiful picture? :-)

  7. Io Says:

    My personal issue is when someone is: making profit off those images/damaging their market value (making prints for free, etc), or when they are using the images to impersonate the photographer who took them or the model shown in them.

    Of course, now that I’ve read the rest of the blog, you say exactly the same thing.

    That said, I’ve come across photos of myself used as examples (of corsets, hairstyles, etc.) on pages, and it doesn’t bother me one bit. If someone finds inspiration in me or the artists I’ve worked with, then that’s awesome!