Matt Healy of the popular British rock band The 1975 has sparked a huge debate online this week with an Instagram post and a question. He posted a photo of himself at a concert, taken by music photographer Robert Gallardo, and asked his followers how they felt about crediting your photographer. Healy stated that since he personally knew the photographer, he felt the need to credit him for his image, but that in general he thought it was not necessary for the artist to credit the photographer if it was an image of himself. You can read the full text of his comment below.
There were thousands of comments from artists, musicians, and fans chiming in on their opinions. An overwhelming number of people responded in favor of crediting the photographer, due to the fact that it’s an original artwork that they have created and therefore should be credited as such. Photographer Ashly Nicole compared the scenario to other mediums and forms to make her point, saying, “You had people share your art and say it was created by you, and it should be the same for a photographer or even an illustrator. Just because it’s not the same medium as your art, doesn’t make it not art nor extinguish the hard work put into the art. Give credit no matter the medium,”
As a photographer myself watching this unfold, I was pretty shocked. I know how it feels to put in a lot of time and effort for a photoshoot only for it to be posted by a media outlet or someone online without proper credit. For someone with such a big platform and voice in the industry, it’s disheartening to see Healy take that stance. He might not realize it, but he has the power to impact the entire career of a photographer by posting one photo that they have taken.
In this social media age, your work being shown by accounts with millions of followers holds a lot of value. When someone like Matt Healy posts your photo, the digital currency of your work increases. By not tagging the photographer, you’re effectively robbing them of potential opportunities, future jobs, and exposure. To me, that’s stealing.
No matter the medium, when people put in hard work, they deserve to be credited. There’s a reason that there are credits at the end of a movie and the back of a magazine. It’s to acknowledge when someone has participated in a production. The same goes for photographers, and makeup artists, and designers, and painters. I’m a photographer, so I might be biased, but I think credit should always be given.
Healy updated his post later, stating that he “lost the debate” and tagging Robert Gallardo in the post. What are your thoughts? Comment below what you would have done, or how you think this impacts the industry standards of crediting photographers.