Saturday, 17 April 2010


Chris Perkin's Scotch Mist at Beale park. Photo by G.Neil
Have you ever caught sight of your own reflection unexpectedly, maybe in a shop window or in a double mirror, where you don't immediately recognise yourself but you seem a bit familiar.

Its a weird sensation, I always wonder who the slightly chunky bloke is who looks a bit like my dad until it dawns.

A similar thing happened to me the other day on one of the forums I frequent.  I was scrolling down a row of photos, when suddenly I saw this......without the caption. 

Graham Neil in "Caitlin", an Iain Oughtred Whilly Tern Photo by Chris Perkins
Now, dear reader, I can tell you I got that funny prickly feeling as I slowly recognised the back of my own head, followed by a sort of nostalgic feeling for my old boat.

It should be noted there was then a feeling of embarrassment when I notice the rudder is only half way down, and i'm sailing around in half a breeze with a great big reef tucked in. It got worse when I remember i'd only just been towed off a mud bank by Chris Partridge, 
 after I'd got caught on a lea shore.  I digress.... 

It took me a minute to fully work things out.
 My flashback of recognition and embarassment meant I knew immediately where it had been taken, which in turn whittled down the possible list of photographers to about three.
Thinking back to the day in question I could pretty much say without hesitation that it was Chris Perkins who took the photo. Here's another one of his own boat Scotch Mist lying next to Caitlin taken on the same day which also appeared on the same posting as did several other photos of Chris's own boats.

Caitlin and Scotch Mist at Cobnor Photo by Chris Perkins

I was even more intrigued as I hadn't seen the first photo before, although many others taken that day have been published elsewhere.

Somehow, through a series of virtual mirrors and shop windows, with a wave of the mouse a photo of me, taken by Chris, appears on a post by someone else.
 Sounds a bit like sleight of hand, a conjouring trick, something not quite right.

 I think it was the American Indians who likened photography to stealing souls and I'm beginning to understand where they were coming from.

The Home Boatbuilding community in UK is fairly small, and Chris Perkins is very well known.
His boats have won many prizes at Beal Park Boat Show, and he is well kent and respected from Gweek Shop in Cornwall through Beale Park and Barton Turf via the East Neuk  by Bernisdale on Sky and beyond to his own wee green shed in Ullapool.

He is particularly noted for the Iain Oughtred boats he has built including "Scotch Mist"  a MacGregor canoe, two Humble Bees, and Stangarra his Stickleback canoe.
 He has published articles in Watercraft Magazine and his boats have been personally inspected by Iain O himself and found to be good.  He even got a sideways mention from Adrian Morgan in Classic Boat Magazine this month and that must have stuck in Adrian's craw!

He has made a significant impact on the Scottish Coastal Rowing project by helping Alex Jordan of Jordan Boats,  

  build the the first Oughtred designed St Ayles Skiff and is currently building another in Adrian Morgan's Cow/Boat Shed.

Thanks in no small way to Chris there are now no fewer than 19 St Ayles Skiffs  in build  and as a small token of gratitude that first boat was named Chris o' Kanaird after the man himself.   

Chris O' Kanaird at Eyemouth photo uncredited.

Chris has given his time, effort and knowledge freely to anyone who asked for it.
 He also has an extensive catalogue of photographs which he has published on his web-site and has been happy for others to use so long as he was given due credit.

Chris has strong views about retaining the right to his own copyright and makes it very plain for all to see, however a couple of people have persisted in ignoring this and have continued to lift Chris's photos and post them, uncredited on other sites.  Now you can argue till the cows come home about the rights and wrongs of this and never reach an agreement but my main concern is this.

If someone you know and respect specifically asks you to stop doing something which you know  upsets  them, why on earth would you persist?  
There may be nothing illegal here but to my mind its moraly dubious and the end result is that
Chris has withdrawn all his photos from the internet and everyone loses.


ianhurley20 said...

Very well put Graham. I agree fully with your well considered comments. I too am sadened by the actions of some, now had to stop myself there and think of a printable comment, but can't.

Anonymous said...

"so if you see any more, they too are pirated" I am not sure that statement is correct. This flickr mining site still finds them easily enough.

ChrisP said...

Totally agree. The piracy also affected Chris personally a good deal and I think that is despicable.
The Other ChrisP

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Graham , piracy is not a nice thing ,it hurts a lot of artists , and legitimate enterprise and business and more.

Furthermore ,it shows total lack of good manners , and I can appreciate that it can be as hard to tolerate as a rude and undisciplined child.

However , having said that , I can also understand how this can easily
occur without any intended malice.

People want to share information ,
generally want to be ( or want to appear to be )helpful and knowledgeable.Particularly when they are among other like minded
individuals ,sharing opinions , views and all manner of information about their own particular passions.

Participating on forums and message boards often requires uploading images to image hosting sites , to publish images for discussion.

I still encounter many people on boating related message boards and forums who don`t actually have any real idea of the concept of copyright or intellectual property.They just participate .

If they don`t hurt the original copyright owner (the author) financially,through loss of revenue , or defamation , or other
nasty intent , I don`t really see a big issue. Bad manners maybe , but no real issue .

Pulling your blog , images , text , whatever , as a reaction to this impoliteness is akin to cutting your nose off despite your face.

It also hands the power over to those very people .Think about it .

Sometimes ego can get the better of good sense.