Is this photo a mere artifact from my recent sojourn in New York, or can it be seen as a social commentary on our times. In this image, the iron lady who welcomes all comers to New York Harbor is at once clear and distinct, and again blurry and vague. Is she facing out in a welcoming gesture, or has she turned her back on those who seek freedom? She appears again and again in this image, either facing front, or having turned her back. The numerous torches are reminiscent of a mob scene. What is this picture about, really?
A soft focus lens allows a picture to be in focus, but the lens blurs the subject, some would say for a more pleasing effect. There are specialized soft focus lenses to achieve this effect, and there are home spun methods to achieve the same result. One such method is to rub vaseline on the outer lens element (or a lens filter) and shoot the photo using that lens. Another method is to place one or two layers of clear plastic wrap over the lens and secure it tightly with a rubber band before taking the photograph. I used this latter method to take the photograph on the right. The image on the left is made using the lens without the plastic sandwich bag over the lens.
Recently, many folks have put up on their Facebook walls language allegedly designed to prevent Facebook from using the content they post. Often a friend will post a comment pointing out that such language will not work — it is a scam — Facebook still owns all your content and can sell it to anyone.
Perhaps I delude myself to think that my words and photos are worthy of protection — so be it. In light of that potential delusion, I considered myself clever not to post my photos on my Facebook page, but rather to post links to my own personal websites on which websites I shared some of my photos. But was I clever enough to stymie the Facebook rights grab?
The following portion of Facebook’s terms of service is instructive as I consider that question: “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).” The key clause, I think is “in connection with.” Other bloggers have scratched their heads, wondering what that might mean, but I have an idea as to what it might mean and how it might impact my “clever” strategy.
By posting a link to the websites that contain my photos, notwithstanding that I have exclusive ownership of those sites, perhaps I have made a post that is “in connection with” Facebook, thereby opening a gateway to grant Facebook all rights to the photos I post on my own websites.
With that in mind, I have deleted the links to my personal websites from my Facebook wall. Again, I may be deluding myself that my content is worthy of protecting, but I am taking steps to protect it nevertheless.