Most of my friends following my work as a photographer are from the US and so I decided to switch to my favorite language in this blog post, just to let you know how we’re doing here in the Ancient World. The guys from the European Union who are telling us how curved a banana is allowed to be and especially we stupid Germans who are willing to follow any fool as long as he or she is leading the tribe from the front row, have created a wonderful rule which will be law after March 25 and it’s regulations are mostly about privacy in the world wide web. This GDPR is driving me nuts the last few weeks and instead of doing what I do best – taking pictures creatively – I’m sleepless at nights and working through rules and regulations at daytime in order to not loosing my website next week and all the work I’ve done the last years. Frankly, I’m already about to delete the whole damn shit and print a book, cause I’m also a InDesign geek loving digital publications. Wanna know what I’m doing? Buy the book!
As traveler through time and space I came across a tiny galaxy, the inhabitants in an even smaller corner are calling „The Milky Way“ and shot a photo which you can see above this text. This is how photography on a website like mine will be displayed in the near future. I had to anonymize all the people and the text on sunshades in the background, because with this data and telling when I was taking the image you could do evil things. Maybe one of these bipeds listening to a concert was actually there instead of working and his or her employer would then be able to identify this person and fire him or her. Good idea! Luckily my camera doesn’t record geodata so you won’t be able to extract the location from the EXIF. You instead have to believe me that it was somewhere on planet Earth in the year 2900. Or was it Alpha centauri? Don’t remember!
You know me as an ambitious hobby photographer, sort of semi-professional but I don’t earn money with the work I’m doing in my leisure time. I’m just doing this because I love the beauty of nature, architecture, animals and people. Running around with my photography equipment I’m often asked to take a photo of people, mostly tourists, with their own or my camera and afterwards sending the photos to them via email. I never publish these photos here on my website and if so I had the oral permission to do so. But this won’t suffice the lawyers and so I’m either anonoymizing or deleting these portraits from my website. In the near future I then will also carry around a small office and before we can do any spontaneous shots we first have to do a lot of paperwork! This is not the way art is created and I’m better off refusing to do so.
Swedish and Austrian people are much smarter than we are because they’ve understood that GDPR from EU is a recommendation and can be overwritten by national law. We Germans wanna follow it in any miniscule paragraph regardless of the consequences for photographers showcasing their work in art. What sort of consequences are taking place I’m just about to understand, when revisiting all of my imagery here and anonymizing photos, where faces can be identified. It’s really hurting me to the bones to redact my photographs and completely loosing the message of art, like in the post For The Boys.
People often say that my photos are somewhat sterile because of the lack of human beings. As if I had anticipated this GDPR, I was always eager people not getting into my images and if so, I’ve often retouched in Photoshop any humans out of them. It seems that it’s an advantage to me because I don’t have to redact too many images on this website!
Anyway, my website will be offline from March 25 because I don’t have a lawyer nor the money to pay one and it will take me some time to adapt my website to GDPR. In the meantime I’m wishing you a wonderful summer and will let you know when or if I’m back.
Closing with a citation from my favorite artist springing to my mind when thinking of nonsense in over-regulation:
It’s against the rules and regulations of The New Jersey Turnpike Authority driving in the right direction in reverse on The New Jersey Turnpike“.
– Laurie Anderson, „United States, Parts I – IV“