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Copyright and honor.

Over the years I have photographed a lot of paintings, old photos and various other art. It is mainly for the artist, a gallery, or for someone who is the owner of the art.  Some are photographed for record keeping, for a website, or for reproduction. There will always be a need to keep a record of original art.

I was once asked to reproduce a painting by sons of divorced parents. The dad refused to give back the paintings to the creator of the art, the mom. The sons were systematically having the paintings reproduced. The dad could keep the copy and the original could be returned to the mom. They were trying to do a good and honorable thing.

One routine request involved a favorite framed photo that was damaged by a delivery company. The combination of poor packing, poor handling, and no insurance prompted a call to me. I volunteered to swing by to assess the damage and quote on reproduction, if needed. I always ask if they have rights to reproduce it. They indicated that it wouldn’t be a problem.

The photo was a beautiful black and white of dunes near a beach. I found that it was not a random poster or anything that was created by the family. It was a numbered original by Clyde Butcher. He is amazing at what he does. I had been following him on Facebook for a while. You can see his work here. I quickly realized that they should have bought insurance.

We checked the replacement cost. It was over $15,000.

This is the image.



I know a lot of photographers and artists. The great ones do the right thing.  They help when they can, they are honorable. I suggested that she connect with him and explain her situation. My gut told me that he would be helpful. She valued the suggestion, and told me that she would let me know of the outcome.

I have spent a lot of time in the darkroom trying to get the right print. His work is meticulously created and hand printed. Even if it were not illegal to reproduce Clyde’s work, I would have disliked doing it for many reasons. Here are my reasons.

– The client would forever know that I am willing to bend the rules for money.

– It would give them the freedom to cheat me the same way.


She called me recently to tell me of the outcome. Honorable.

He replaced the image for a small, small fraction of the current price.

-Mahmood Fazal

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