Monday, November 15, 2010


While we're talking about computers (I was in the last post) I'd like your opinion about using pictures on your blog.

Usually I carry my digital camera around with me and I take a lot of pictures. Quite a lot of them get used on my blog. Scenery, food, cats, quilts, "oddities" of Japanese life. But you may have noticed that I don't show too many pictures of people... Somewhere in my blogging manners list (that I made up myself) was:

"Don't use pictures of people unless you get their permission."

This goes for friends and students and even for people on the street. I can ask friends if they mind if I use their pictures, and they usually say go ahead, but it is hard to go up to a perfect stranger on the street and say

"I just took your picture and I'd like to use it on my blog."

I'm thinking of a very tan, bent over, little old man who squats on the corner next to the trash pick-up area. I'd love to show you him but for some reason I feel sneaky trying to take his picture and then feel it would be wrong to show his picture on my blog just because he is quaint.

The kindergarten where I work has asked me NOT to post pictures of children. The pre-school however says it is okay. Tetsu has asked me to fuzz out the faces of residents at his convalescent home when I've posted about them. Some pictures of large groups are in my own grey zone of being so small that it would be hard to recognize people.... but of course anyone wise in computer photography would be able to blow up a picture if they really wanted to...

Some blogs show absolutely fantastic pictures of daily life in their area with children bouncing balls and teenagers clicking away at their cell phones. However, I can't get pass taking people's pictures and blogging about them without permission though I LOVE seeing such pictures on other blogs. My own quirk?

And just trying to explain what a blog is makes it all the more complicated. I have taken pictures of the locals and explained that I wanted to show my friends in America. This is true but doesn't go into the details of Internet and international... Is this a white lie?

So that's about the pictures I take myself.

Sometimes when I'm blogging I don't have a particular picture and I go searching on Google. Usually Google has something interesting. But wait. Some of those pictures, when you go to the website (usually the illustrations) say that they are copyrighted . Does that mean that it is stealing if you use the picture on your blog?

Sometimes I'll find a picture that doesn't say anything about copyright and will use it on my blog. Usually I try to say at the end of my post that I've taken the picture from the Internet, but from where I have no idea... Is that stealing? I know some people who have gotten very upset to find their pictures on other people's blogs... How you find that out I don't know.

A few weeks ago a magazine contacted me about a silly little picture I'd taken of Japanese beetles. The magazine very kindly explained that they would like to use my picture on their website for environmental consciousness. They probably found it on Google. They could have "taken" it without me ever knowing. I thought it was nice of them to ask but unnecessary.

Someone once contacted me about what my opinion was over a picture of their baby (taken 10 years before) that had found it's way to a Japanese website and was being used REPEATEDLY in cartoons and not so great publicity ads. They wanted to know what the Japanese said and I had to report that it was not very good. I would be VERY upset to find out my picture had been used that way!

Adding illustrations and pictures makes a blog interesting. But where does MY picture leave off? More importantly to me is can another blog or web site's picture become MY picture if they haven't specifically said "don't use"? I'd really like to continue using Google's images...What are your manners for illustrating your blog?

The yellow copyright symbol was "taken" from the Internet.

No comments: