TWiP #210 – Monkey Business

Audio MP3

This week on TWiP: Monkeys taking self portraits, AP gets tough on photo manipulation, and Steve Simon discovers Facebook.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson with Alex Lindsay, Ron Brinkmann, and Steve Simon.

If a Monkey Steals Your Camera, Who Owns the Photos?
You may have recently heard that wild Indonesian monkeys stole a camera belonging to British photographer David Slater and how they were supposedly so enamored by their reflection in the lens that they inadvertently fired off several frames. These hilarious (and endearing) self-portraits quickly went viral and were published by news agencies, citing fair use. However, the photographer who owned the camera has issued take down notices saying these photos were used without his permission and that their copyrights belong to him. The TWiP hosts were going to talk about who owns the copyright to the photos: the monkey, the photographer, etc, but first, Frederick wanted to go on record to say he believes these photos are a complete hoax because they looks suspiciously similar to Jill Greenberg’s work. The other hosts agree that the photos could be too good to be true and say it’s not clear who owns the copyright. If the monkey was in captivity then perhaps the monkey’s owner would. In the case of this wild animal, maybe the copyright defaults to the owner of the camera. Alex wants to know if compensation for the photos would be paid in dollars or bananas. Frederick claims the portraits look Photoshopped, but Steve jumps to the monkey’s defense saying they shouldn’t make fun of how he naturally looks.

Olympus is Talking Trash About Your Camera Phone
On his blog, Chase Jarvis posted about how Olympus has begun a guerrilla marketing campaign in select Australian cities by placing plaques on sidewalks that say “If your camera also sends text messages, that will explain why your photos are rubbish.” The sign then points pedestrians to which redirects to Olympus’s site. Frederick sees this as Olympus trying to shed some doubt on mobile phone photography in consumers’ eyes. Alex thinks the company had to make this move because they need to make the most of their, perhaps niche, product line that is beyond the needs of the everyday, casual shooter. Steve also sees Olympus’s reasoning saying they probably see the writing on the wall that fewer and fewer people will need a dedicated camera when camera phones are getting better all the time. In closing, Ron points out that soon cameras will be so easy to use that even a monkey can use them.

AP Drops Photographer for Photoshopping His Shadow Out of Image
The Associated Press has pulled photos by Miguel Tovar because he cloned his shadow out of an image he shot for them. The AP later sent a memo to its staff worldwide calling it a case of “deliberate and misleading photo manipulation” and saying they have severed all ties with Tovar who will “not work for the AP again in any capacity.” They also reminded their photographers about AP’s code of ethics which say “The content of a photograph must not be altered in Photoshop or by any other means. No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph… Only retouching or the use of the cloning tool to eliminate dust on camera sensors and scratches on scanned negatives or scanned prints are acceptable.” Steve understands AP’s hard line on this because news agencies cannot allow their credibility to be questioned and also says as a photojournalist your reputation simply would not recover from this kind of lapse of judgment. Alex agrees, saying the AP had to fire the photographer because otherwise, it would’ve set a dangerous precedent. The hosts talk about the image authentication software available for Nikon and Canon that prove an image was not manipulated, but even that has been hacked recently, says Steve.

Feel free to post your questions you would like answered on the air on our Facebook page:, on Twitter @thisweekinphoto, or on Google Plus. Here are this week’s questions.

Question 1: Twitter user tookiebunten from East Kilbride, United Kingdom asks when “taking landscape photographs without filters: how do you best balance the exposure?” Steve says whenever doing landscape photography to bracket 3 stops to have all that raw information available in post to adjust exposure levels, especially if you will be doing HDR. (Make sure to stay in Aperture Priority mode though to maintain depth of field and only adjust shutter speed while bracketing.) Ron says he tends to expose his landscape shots such that the highlights are just barely blown out which he can recover later since he shot in RAW. He also uses one of his custom functions on his camera which is set to auto-bracket at high speed in Aperture Priority.

Question 2: Also on Twitter, bergmanpictures (Gustav Bergman) from Lund, Sweden says he wants a 135 f/2 for his Nikon D700 and wants to know what the hosts would do: get the current one or wait for the new one that perhaps would come out soon? Alex says Gustav could get it now if there’s a particular shoot he needs it for today, but now that summer has rolled around, he might want to wait until fall, which is when new lens announcements are generally made. Frederick agrees and suggests perhaps renting the lens now and waiting to see if a new version of the lens comes out. On the other hand, Steve says you can’t wait forever and because this is a lens that may not get updated, it might be a good idea to purchase it now, or at least consider buying it used.

Question 3: Listener Jens Marklund wants to know the best way to get noticed in the photo industry. They shoot travel, portrait, and landscape photography and is getting a new website built. How should they go about marketing the site or getting it noticed? Ron says step 1 is getting a podcast to mention their name and their work on the air. Alex says step 2 is to check out the video from the How to Market Your Photography talk that Sandy Puc’ did at a San Francisco Bay Area TWiP meetup recently.

Ron: – a fun site where photos of the past are lined up with current images of the same scene.

Alex: his latest toy, the Sekonic C-500 ProDigi Color Meter – a device that pro photographers can use to precisely measure the temperature of color, especially critical in situations that have multiple light sources.

Steve: his new book, The Passionate Photographer, available for pre-order on He hopes to give away a few copies on a future episode of TWiP.

Frederick: EasyVideoPlayer 2 – a “personal YouTube” that you can easily install on your website.

Follow us on
Join the Flickr critique group. You can also join our Facebook group.

Ron: or at

Steve: his new Facebook page.

Alex: or his blog, BorderSac.

Frederick: or or on Google Plus.


TWiP is brought to you by the following sponsors: – the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to – the fast and easy to to publish a high-quality website or blog. For 10% off your SquareSpace account for three months go to and use the offer code “twip7”.

Producer: Suzanne Llewellyn

Pre-Production and Show notes by Ernest Aguayo or

Bandwidth provided by Cachefly

Intro Music by Scott Cannizzaro