Editor’s Note: When we at Pin Curl were brainstorming on what new additions to bring into the magazine for 2012, a question and answer etiquette column kept coming up. You know- backstage etiquette, producer/performer etiquette, all sorts of burlesque related questions filled our heads. We couldn’t think of anyone’s advice we’d rather take than Miss Jo “Boobs” Weldon, Founder of the New York School of Burlesque and author of The Burlesque Handbook! We are so thrilled that Miss Weldon is our newest monthly contributor! Have a question you’d like Jo to answer? Please title your email “Etiquette- _your issue___” and send to editor [at] PinCurlMag [dot] com and we will send them right over to her!
Since I published The Burlesque Handbook in June 2010, I’ve gotten a lot of response to it from both beginners and pros, and the most frequent comment I’ve had from experienced performers has been, “Thank you for the chapter on etiquette!” And most of them add, “Especially the part about taking pictures!”
In the guidelines for the chapter, I wrote:
1. Ask before you take pictures, and be genuinely willing to not take them. People who don’t mind being photographed doing all kinds of wild things onstage may not want to be photographed checking the crotch of their underwear for clitty litter. Or they may wish to be photographed only by professionals. This is not necessarily uptight of them. There are a lot of issues around photography and burlesque. And for god’s sake, if you post a photo online and someone asks you to take a picture down, do it!
In this era of cameras everywhere, most new performers think of their first backstage experience as something they must document and post to as much social media as possible. I think this is a beautiful instinct, and a testament to the joyous experience most burlesque performers are having.
However, for many people, burlesque is something they treat as a job or career, and they do their best to have some input into what photos appear related to their stage names. They are thinking of burlesque as something fun, for sure. However, they are thinking of it as a job, not a party. They have to think about how every photo that turns up whenever there are googled by a show producer or event planner might affect their next chance to get a gig.
About ten years ago I had a website called G-Strings Forever, on which I had something like a photoblog featuring digital pictures I’d taken at Tease-O-Rama, Exotic World, and several weekly shows in NYC, including Starshine and Burlesque at the Beach. The photos were not only low-resolution but full of mood and motion, and if anyone had a zit on his or her butt, you wouldn’t have been able to tell from these photos. Still, I carefully considered the effect of every picture I posted.
These days, when just about any image clearly shows every hair out of place, it’s just common sense to distribute them with respect and care. Just because we love every body type in burlesque doesn’t mean we’re not vain; we all want to look our most fabulous, whether our fabulousity comes from rhinestones, slapstick, or shock value. Wanting to have some control over our image is just part of being a professional performer.
Here are a few tips to help you out, so that the person whose photo you tagged on Facebook last night doesn’t suddenly become just a few degrees cooler the next time you encounter them.
1) Ask yourself: If you were a producer considering hiring this performer, what impression would you get from this photo?
2) Ask yourself: If you were a performer, would you feel this photo gave away too much about your act?
3) Ask the subject if he or she minds if you post the photo.
4) If the subject requests that you take it down or use a different one, oblige them. If they untag themselves, don’t be offended.
5) If they tell you they like the photo, offer them a high-resolution version to use (some photographers may have a professional interest that doesn’t allow them to offer this).
Performers’ etiquette toward photographers:
1) It is very common to allow photographers at burlesque shows. Don’t be offended if they assume they can take pictures at your show; and don’t hesitate to let them know if you don’t want them to shoot.
2) Although many photographers and burlesque performers work with each other without charging, if you ask a professional photographer to take pictures, they are within reason if they believe you’re intending to pay them. Make sure it’s clear.
3) If they ask you to model for them, you are within reason if you believe they are intending to pay you. But don’t assume.
4) Do your best to make sure they get full photo credit every time you use their photos in any capacity.
5) Even if you’ve paid to have a photographer shoot your show, do your best to make sure the other people in the show are represented as they would hope to be in the photos.
These tips are just the beginning , but they should give you an idea of what there is to consider and why it’s never a good idea to take for granted that what seems like common behavior around photos is acceptable to everyone. When in doubt, ask!
Kellyn Willey, owner of Pin-Up Girl Cosmetics, talks poorly blended foundation, places to visit in Atlanta, grapeseed oil, human disco balls, and owning a business before she owned a car.
Q: Pin-Up Girl Cosmetics is a full concept unlike any we’ve seen in the country. You have a storefront location, with regular business hours, and on site photographers, make-up artists, and stylists, in addition to a retro clothing boutique. How was the idea born in 2006, and was there a “model concept” or “model store” to look to for inspiration?
There was no model for the shop. The original owner was an extremely gifted makeup artist and hair dresser. She wanted to have her own shop where she could express her talents. Eventually she met up with an equally gifted female photographer and opened the shop together in June 2006. It was just 2 talented young women expressing their creativity and passion of vintage culture and fashion.
Q: Your site mentions that the pin-up shoots were almost an afterthought, to document the fabulous makeovers, and now you have three full time photographers on premises! Tell us about the evolution of that aspect of the business.
Yes, in the beginning the first owner just wanted to have a cosmetic boutique but then she met, who would be her co-owner, a local female photographer and they decided to join forces and make a store front together. Now, in our new location, photo shoots compete with the cosmetic services, but the shots win with a few steps ahead.
Q: How did you go from “working at the shop in 2007” to “proud owner in 2009”?
Well I was hired in November 2007 as a makeup artist but predominately a shop girl: just very simple tasks with little to no real responsibility. Then the owner decided to go in a different direction when she realized that I was also a budding photographer and graphic designer. She cut the staff back 3 months after hiring me and made me store manager. Then by the end of the summer, we moved the shop out of Little 5 Points to Grant Park due to issues with our original landlord. It was the best thing we could have done. Eventually after a few months of being in our new shop home, the owner told me she was feeling overwhelmed by running the shop and taking care of her new baby, not to mention to the global recession being upon us all. She asked me if I wanted to be the owner…I said no way! I’m only 23 years old and I don’t even own my car!
Eventually I realized that if I wanted to keep the ONLY job I’ve ever loved and ever been good at, I was going to have to own it. So, in late July 09, she signed the entire company over to me. It was so terrifying and I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning…except pay the bills on time and advertise online. But with the support of my staff, family and friends and a lot of praying and midnight panic attacks, it all panned out over time.
Q: Your shop has recently tripled in size from its original location, and is now located in the hipster paradise that is Grant Park (Atlanta’s largest historic neighborhood), and become the “talk of the town”. What are passerby’s reactions to the entire pin-up thing? Have you noticed an increase in folks familiar with, and inspired by, the look recently? Do you ever get walk-ins?
Oh yeah the neighbors really were shocked when they first saw us…they still are. Oversized paintings of nude women hang in our pink and red store front with corsets and stockings lining the walls. We’ve heard it all before, “What is this place? What kind of pictures do you take? What the hell is a Pin-up girl?”
We have many walk-ins every month, typically clients getting their brows done or shopping and then we have the Frequent Flyers! These are our clients who get multiple services a year…over several years. We have about 4 die-hard ones who are moving into their 8th and 10th shoots since 2007. It’s pretty incredible to have support like that in a business that’s not considered a necessity but a luxury. Not to mention having our newest addition to the Pin Up Girl family, “Lucky Starr” a fantastic vintage clothing and accessory boutique. Christine Starr Cookus is the brilliant owner and she was one of my clients years ago when we first moved into the Grant Park space. Christine is a breath of fresh air to our business, bringing with her tons of new clients and a positive attitude. She has only been with us a month and I can’t imagine the shop without her. Groupon has also brought us boat loads of new clients…219 new faces in 24 hours to be exact! We’re very blessed and more than thankful.
Q: In fact, you’ve been getting so much attention that you we’re named “Critics Pick- The Best Reason to Dolled Up” in the Best of Atlanta 2009 Issue of Creative Loafing. What was your reaction?
To be honest, I cried. I had only owned the shop for 3 months and was stressed all the time due to low revenue from the recession. I remember that day so well. My best friend, Shellie called me up about 7am screaming, “You made the Best of 09!!!” I didn’t even know what she was talking about. I remember people voting for it online, but everything those early months was a blur. Then she emailed me the link…and I almost died. I felt like we won an Oscar, and in a way we had. It’s such an honor. I was and am still so proud of that. My staff deserved it for all the long hours they put in every week. They’re so patient and passionate.
Q: On your list of services you also include theatrical and special effects make-up. That’s unusual! Were you or Kiah [Kiah Clark is the other make-up artist at PG!] formally trained in make-up, or are you all self taught?
Kiah and I both studied makeup under our perspective high schools. Theatrical makeup is something we do in our freetime…when we have it. Kiah does make-up for the local Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Plaza Theatre here in town when she has the chance. While I’ve done dozens of local, independent films and photo shoots with special effects makeup like zombies, severe bruising and gashes. Yes, we are self-taught and we have learned a lot of techniques from other makeup artists from around the region.
I would never call myself a special effect makeup artist, but I do believe a true makeup artist can pick up any cosmetic tool or product and figure out how to apply to any skin type in a matter of moments. I’ve done so many crazy makeup applications from making someone into a human disco ball, pageant and drag queen makeup to making myself appear as a zombie with buckets of blood pouring out of my mouth. I love it all!
Q: What are your biggest make-up or pet peeves, or common make-up mistakes?
Poorly matched and blended foundation….Yuck! A bad quality foundation whether it’s a powder, cream or liquid, is even worse when not blended into the face a neck well. If it doesn’t match your skin it can make you look old and dry to say the least. My favorite trick to well-blended foundation is to apply the makeup to your whole face with a brush our sponge then use your hands to blend the makeup into your neck and edges along your hairline and ears.
Too much undereye liner gets annoying to me too. Unless you have HUGE eyes, it can make you look decades older and tired. Try applying a small amount of liner to the inner bottom lid by your bottom lashes on the outside corner. Add a bit heavier of a stroke on the farthest outside point of that line wear your eye ends for added drama. You can even do the same technique on the top lid. It’s very Sofia Loren!
Q: What are your five favorite specific beauty products?
1) A great moisturizer! At our shop we love blending aloe vera gel and grapeseed oil as our face moisturizer. Grapeseed oil is packed with antioxidants, has natural SPF 15 protection, is closest to the oils your face produces and is a very neutral/mild emollient great for all skin types PLUS extremely affordable. If you have the drier or more mature skin, add more grapeseed oil. If you have oilier skin, use more aloe vera. Always moisturize when you have freshly washed skin that is still damp. You only need a nickel size amount of this moisturizing blend.
2) All-natural lip balm! It’s a secret to the perfect lipstick/gloss application. My favorite is Burt’s Bees original formula. Dry lips make you look dull, dehydrate and yes, old; all things we fear as women. Many lip products are made with mineral oils, parabens, alcohols and other petro-based ingredients and they only moisturize temporarily. I apply lip balm 3-5 minutes before I apply my lipstick and I make sure to bloat of any extra balm I have before I apply the lip color to ensure a lasting application.
3) A truly dramatic mascara! I don’t leave the house without it! There are so many great brands out there I can’t name them all, but I’m wearing Rimmel’s Glam’ Eyes Flirt lately and I love it. My old tried and true favorite is Physician’s Formula Plump Potion mascara. Try a heated lash curler AFTER you apply your mascara for even more drama. They really work and your lashes stay curler ALL DAY! Mine has a silicon strip instead of a metallic, bristly wand, and I can sanitize it after ever use. It was less than $10 from Ardell at Ulta.
4) A fantastic red lipstick! I fought red lipstick for years until I found PinUpGirl! I didn’t believe that it would look good against my dark skin. But I soon realized that it looks incredible on all skin types and ages, you just have to find the shade last works best on you. Cooler tones, like a more blue-based red, look better on fairer tones: think of red like a deep candy apple red. If you have darker skin tones, try a warmer red with more yellow tones like Coca-Cola red with a darker red or even a plum/ violet lipliner. ALWAYS line your lips first when applying a red lip. If not, it can bleed, feather and make your lips appear smaller than they truly are. For that true retro pout, heavily line the 3-dimentional line of your lip (slightly outside) and feather in the liner then apply the red and blend with a lip brush. Our favorite red are the ones we sell in the shop through our private label but MAC has some incredible shades especially in the Pro Longwear LipCreme shades!
5) A great teeth whitening system! It’s more affordable than you think. So many of us love lipsticks, especially those luscious reds and a bright, white smile will make all the difference in that sexy kisser of yours. I recommend a pre-brush whitening rinse, then a whitening tooth paste with fluoride using a good electric tooth brush (Oral-B makes the one I use and it’s less than $30..I’ve had mine for 4 years), a post-rinse with great restorative properties like enamel strengtheners to keep your teeth in shape and they even have whitening floss to brighten up in between your teeth. I guess I’m obsessed with pearly whites…but it’s a great way to always look your best without wearing a stitch of makeup!
Q: In just a matter of weeks, Atlanta will be filled with tourists checking out the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival. If you could only recommend five places to visit while there, what are your picks for vintage minded visitors?
1) The Starlight Drive-In on Moreland Ave. It’s worth the drive to enjoy a great movie under the stars with your honey. Sometimes you can even catch a retro flick if you review their schedule.
2) The Clermont Lounge on Ponce It’s where strippers go to die and party before they hit the ground. Yes, I just said that This is a must-see experience that EVERYONE (over 21) has to partake of. Not for the faint of heart. Seriously, it’s a blast, especially on Karaoke night!!!
3) Holy Taco on Glenwood Ave Some of the absolute best flash mural designing in the city, incredible cocktails and the food is truly amazing! I LOVE GREAT Mexican food and this place has INCREDIBLE Mexican food!!! I have had many a mid-day margarita there and I’m looking forward to my next!
4) Liberty Tattoo on Ponce or Grant Park If you need to bleed, you’ve come to the right place! Just ask for Shay or Kaki or anyone holding a tattoo needle for that matter. Tell ‘em Kellyn sent you!
5) Anything in Little 5 Points I can’t list everything I love in Little 5 because there is so much but stop in Libertine for awesome accessories plus cosmetics, the Porter for their Belgian fries and a Lemon Gingerade (my favorite combo), Stefan’s for some hard-to-find vintage apparel, and Rag-O-Rama for great second-hand trends and finds!
Vol. I: Almost Everything You Need to Know About Copyright Law Regarding Photography
After receiving a degree in photography, and taking an entire year in photo business and law, I thought I knew all the answers to folks copyright questions regarding images. Then I started receiving a ton of questions that I couldn’t answer, so I started researching for this article. I was surprised to learn how much the laws regarding copyright and case law on the subject favors the photographer almost always. I found very few situations in which the models had any rights at all, and in the cases that swung in the model’s favor, it was because no photo release was present. After visiting more than 100 websites, reading four books on image copyright, and reviewing case law on the subject, I think I finally scratched the surface on some of your copyright questions, even though there are a million shades of gray in the law.
This is a small sampling of what I gathered in my research, it is a tool, and I have catered it to the burlesque/pin-up industry. Understand that I am not a lawyer, and as such am not qualified to give legal advice, and this article should not be taken as legal advice. For specific advice on your particular situation, contact a copyright attorney. To find a lawyer in good standing with the State Bar of Texas, visit their website. You can research any lawyer’s name in the state from there, and you are looking for someone who specializes in copyright law, and has no ethics violations, suspensions, or other black marks on their record.
Copyright Myths Verses Facts
Myth: The work doesn’t have a copyright notice, and the photographer did not officially file a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, so the work isn’t copyrighted.
Fact: This was true in the past, but today all major nations follow the Berne Copyright Convention. In the US, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not.
Myth: I hired the photographer, and I bought the photographs or images, so they are mine. I can do whatever I want with them.
Fact: When you purchase a CD of images or prints of yourself from a professional photographer, you are buying the images for personal use only. Depending on your agreement with the photographer (which you should always have in writing) this may mean anything from you may look at them whenever you wish, to you may make prints to hang in your home, or maybe even publish them to you social networking pages.
Personal use does not include, you the model, selling the images (as in to autograph at shows, etc) or submitting them to publications. You must have the photographer’s written permission to publish the images anywhere or to sell them.
Myth: I, the model, did the shoot TFP so I may use them anywhere.
Fact: Trade for Print is defined as a shoot where no money is exchanged. The photographer and model simply work together to produce images they can both use to enhance their portfolios. These exchanges should always be accompanied by a TFP Agreement that outlines what each party is going to get from the shoot. In most cases, these images may be used by both the model and photographer in both their print and online portfolios, but the images may not be used by the model for any other reason. Selling these images commercially (to sell a product or service), selling them to fans, or submitting them to publications is prohibited unless stated otherwise in the contract. The photographer maintains copyright on all images taken.
Myth: As the photographer, I may publish my images anywhere I choose.
Fact: Unless you have a legally binding, well written, and signed model release you are dead in the water. You may not publish the images anywhere — even in online portfolios — without a model release. With a quality model release however, you may do almost anything you wish with the images.
Myth: I am the photographer, and I have a model release from the subject, so I may do whatever I want with the images.
Fact: Be extremely careful that you are using a professionally written, legally binding model release. If there are any holes in the wording of your release, you may end up in legal trouble.
If your model release is air tight, well written, and legally binding, this statement is true. A girl who came in to get a pin-up shoot for her husband, could, in theory, end up selling soda on images on grocery store shelves. This is why it is imperative that you read a model release carefully. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen some girl sign a contract when she hasn’t read a single word of it. Read your model release carefully- it is the photographer’s golden ticket.
Myth: I may shoot live events anywhere that is public, or where I have purchased a ticket.
Fact: It is true that you may photograph anyone in any public spaces. However, “public spaces” are very limited. Public parks, sidewalks, and roads are certainly permissible, unless you become a public nuisance. However, private clubs, theaters, homes, yards, are all private property. Purchasing a ticket to an event, does not mean you may shoot there. In all cases, you may be removed from private property at the owner’s discretion. In some cases, this may be the owner of the venue him/herself, in other cases it may be the producer of the show as the person who has contracted the venue for the night. The safest bet — always ask permission, and certainly stop shooting if asked — however, never surrender your camera, memory cards, or film. Know your photographer’s rights.
Myth: I had permission to shoot an event, therefore I may sell images of the models/performers that performed at that event.
Fact: This is one of those areas where there are many shades of gray, and many places where the law is open to interpretation- so tread lightly. Commercial sale (i.e. selling a photo of a performer to fans) is not permissible without a model release. Generally speaking, what is permissible is the publication of those images in newspapers (online and print) and magazines (online and print) of what may be deemed as “newsworthy events”. However, there is a lot of room to challenge what is “newsworthy” and what is a violation of privacy, so you should seek an attorney’s professional advisement on a case by case basis if you feel your rights are violated.
Myth: I have the copyright, but someone else is misusing my images on MySpace. Since MySpace is so vast, there’s nothing I can do.
Fact: The MySpace Terms and Agreements contract that everyone must agree to when you become a member of MySpace specifically prohibits the misuse of copyrighted material. If you feel your images, music, or other copyrighted material are being ripped off, email email@example.com with the details of the infringement.
Myth: Someone has broken the law by stealing my idea.
Fact: You cannot copyright an idea, only the expression of that idea.
This requires a bit of explanation. For example, if you told someone about an idea you had, and they ripped it off — you are out of luck. You can only copyright something tangible, like an image, not the idea in your head for an image.
However, what most people mean when they say they were ripped off, is that someone has copied an image they have taken. It has been said that all the good ideas are taken, and in pin-up and burlesque we are often looking into the past for images to replicate. When we are inspired greatly by a piece, and do a version of that work it is known as a Derivative Work. The US Copyright Office has specific laws pertaining to Derivative Works. However, there is a fine line between being “inspired by” someone else’s work, doing an “homage” to someone else’s work, and flat ripping them off.
Very generally speaking, if the work is obviously inspired by another work, and you do a new interpretation of that work, rather than an exact copy, you are usually safe. If you do an exact copy, you could be in legal trouble. The guidelines for what is a duplicate and what is an adaptation of an original photograph are very gray and open to interpretation. Basically, it is up to the original copyright owner to make that determination, then they would send a Cease and Desist or sue you, at which point you must defend your image in court- and it is up to the courts to decide if there has indeed been a copyright infringement.
Example 1: The iconic image of Betty Page hanging an ornament on a Christmas tree. You know the one. Many modern pin up photographers have done an exact duplicate of this photograph. Could Bunny Yeager (the photographer) sue you? Sure, she could. Would she win? Maybe. If she does win, what happens, how much do owe her in damages? That is completely speculative and up to the courts to decide.
In a recent case pop star Madonna was sued by the estate of photographer Guy Boudin, for copyright infringement. (Read ripping off his photos and emulating them in her Hollywood video.) The case was not the first time Madonna has been sued for copyright infringement, and this case was settled out of court for a presumably hefty sum.
Example 2: You just did a circus themed photo shoot, another competing photographer does a circus theme a few months later, but the theme and maybe a few other minor details is all they have in common, resulting in totally different photographs. Are you a victim of being “ripped off”? No. The best advice, is to get over it and just make sure your images are the best they can be. You cannot copyright an idea.
Example 3: A magazine approaches you do purchase an image you have done. They find your price too high, and hire a cheaper photographer to do an exact duplicate of that photograph. Do you have any recourse? It depends. First you have to find a lawyer who will take your case, fork over the cash for representation, and then prove they completely ripped you off.
Myth: A magazine published my photographs, then sold them to another magazine. They informed me that once they run the image, they own copyright.
Fact: Copyright always remains with the photographer, unless the explicitly sell off their rights through contract.
Be careful when signing any and all contracts. Here are some terms to know:
When the word “first” is placed in front of other rights it simply means that the entity purchasing these rights gets to publish/use the image BEFORE anyone else who has purchased license rights. There is usually a waiting period (30-90 days is standard) before you can publish them anywhere else.
Serial rights apply to magazines. This means that the magazine is licensing the right to use the image in magazine format. In other words, if you sell serial rights to magazine A you can’t sell licensing rights to magazine B as well (unless you only sell “FIRST” rights – then you can sell more rights later).
Watch out for this clause. Non-exclusive rights can be a reasonable license to sell but they can also be a quick way to lose the use of your image. Non-exclusive rights mean that the licenser has a specific set of rights at the same time someone else has them as well. The problem is that this clause is usually followed with a large amount of specific rights and many companies use this type of clause to allow them to reprint and resell your work on their own.
One Time Use Rights
One time use means that the entity buying the license can use your image “one time”, for one specified project. They are easy to manage, and often preferred by photographers.
Want to read more on all subjects pertaining to copyright and images? Here are some great resources:
- ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography
- The Professional Photographer’s Legal Handbook
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Getting Permission: How to License and Clear Materials Online and Off
- ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) Official Website
- US Copyright Office Official Website