Mona Lisa

Ghost Women in Barcelona

My eye keeps finding more images for my Ghost Women series. This time, on the walls along the streets and alleyways of Barcelona. (See more of this portfolio, along with an explanation, under the Galleries tab above.)

In this photograph of some urban graffiti and poster advert detritus, I was seeing two couples–but their relationships are quite different. Perhaps one couple (upper) has managed to find accommodation and contentedness while the other (lower) is dealing with resentment, fear, perhaps even abuse?

Ghost Women, #51. Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #51 (Dos Parejas, Un Contraste). Barcelona, 2017

 

Can you see the face of self-destruction in this next photograph? Torn and disfigured…disappearing…perhaps due to unspeakable childhood traumas…the disintegrating effects of an addiction, maybe…

Ghost Women, #52 (Autodestruction). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #52 (Disappearing Self). Barcelona, 2017

 

Apparently comfortable, happy and healthy in their own skins in this urban space–what are their 3000 personal stories?

Ghost Women, #53 (What is their story?). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #53 (What is their story?). Barcelona, 2017

 

All I want is respect…dignity…you know, all those standard human rights we all ought to enjoy…

Ghost Women, #55 (Deserving of Respect). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #55 (Deserving of Respect). Barcelona, 2017

 

High voltage 69…authorized personnel only…

Ghost Women #56 (High Tension 69). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women #56 (High Tension 69). Barcelona, 2017

 

In a bar…on the street…a furtive glance. But who is he, really? Perhaps just a mere phantom of her own personal opera?

Ghost Women, #57 (A Furtive Glance). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #57 (A Furtive Glance). Barcelona, 2017

 

Is she in pursuit of a life-saving superhero? Ah, but superheroes are often distracted, with other, grander (!?), things on their minds. Or maybe they just want to go out alone on the balcony for a pensive smoke now and then…

Ghost Women, #58 (In Pursuit of a Superhero). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #58 (In Pursuit of a Superhero). Barcelona, 2017

 

And, finally, we have Leonardo’s reflective Mona Lisa selling Louis Vuitton handbags. I wonder what da Vinci would think of that? Would Lisa del Giocondo approve? And who were the Madmen/women who came up with this mad marketing campaign, anyway?

Ghost Women, #59 (Mona Lisa Marketing). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #59 (Mona Lisa Marketing). Barcelona, 2017

Murals, graffiti, and public art

Large town mural. Leadville, Colorado, 2013
Large town mural. Leadville, Colorado, 2013

Is it legal to make direct photographs of public art (as in the above image)? Of course it is! Snap away…post on Facebook…show your friends…post on your blog…make prints for artistic purposes…even make a coffee table book of the graffiti styles of Moscow, Idaho if you like…BUT, if you intend to use those images for commercial purposes–say, to advertise your business, or to sell greeting cards and make money–and the images are simply straight pictures of the original art–then you are most likely violating the copyright of the original artist. This includes all kinds of public art: sculpture, paintings, murals, graffiti, mosaics, and so on.

And this also includes the obnoxious (to you, maybe) but colorful graffiti spraypainted on the sides of railroad freight cars, even if there is no obvious (to you) signature or date.

Now this can get a bit less clear if you use the public art as only one element of your photographic composition–that is, if there is more going on in your image than a simple photographic reproduction of the original artwork (not the case in the example image I have posted above, by the way).

If your work goes beyond simple copying and creates something new you are probably OK. (For a really interesting example of this, check out Marcel Duchamp’s Mona Lisa with a mustache called “L.H.O.O.Q.” at THIS LINK.)

Your best bet if in doubt: consult a lawyer who specializes in copyright law.