Everybody loves Instagram. The app has pretty much destroyed the photo album, making a digital photographic journal for users. Some have even made a career out of IG posting “thirst traps” that are attractive to the eye. However, when posting on Instagram, it’s always good to keep in mind that those photos are public and they are not your property once you hit post. Your photos are open game to anybody who may want to use them for whatever they want, even to sell them. Painter/photographer Richard Prince is one of those people.
Prince is participating in the Frieze Art Fair in New York. His exhibit titled, “New Portraits” is made up of six foot prints of random women’s Instagram selfies. That’s right, he enlarged screenshots and is calling it art. He simply removed the captions and and added (weird) comments to them. Reportedly, nearly all of the pieces have been bought for $90,000 a pop. He first debuted his gallery inspired by Instagram on Madison Avenue at the Gagosian Gallery.
“Re-photographing” has been Prince’s game since the 1970s. He takes pictures from ads, magazines, head shots and such, then alters them slightly. Prince ran into legal trouble in 2008, the Washington Post reports:
In 2008, French photographer Patrick Cariou sued Prince after he re-photographed Cariou’s images of Jamaica’s Rastafarian community. Although Cariou won at first, on appeal, the court ruled that Prince had not committed copyright infringement because his works were “transformative.”
Just something to keep in mind. Your Instagram photos are not yours. When you post them, you are making your images available to everybody, and they can do whatever they want with them.