Fashion world shaken by #NoFreePhotos row

Photographers have risen up in revolt at the way fashion labels and influencers are using their street style images without crediting them. (AFP)
Updated 30 September 2017
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Fashion world shaken by #NoFreePhotos row

PARIS: Photographers have risen up in revolt at the way fashion labels and influencers are using their street style images without crediting them, highlighting discontent about the “work for free” culture in the multi-billion dollar industry.
More than 40 photographers who follow the fashion circuit and snap its top celebrities and bloggers as they arrive for shows in New York, Paris and Milan have formed an unofficial union, and have threatened to shame brands and influencers who use their images without permission.
Influencers and bloggers are often paid by labels to wear their clothes and promote their lines in social media posts, mostly on Instagram.
And the photographers claim that some influencers with hundreds of thousands of social media followers are making money from their photos while they get nothing in return.
The row raises questions about how the fashion industry works in the digital age, with many people prepared to work for little or nothing to get a foothold in such an outwardly glamorous world.
Most models, particularly young ones climbing the catwalk ladder, are paid “peanuts”, with one 17-year-old model at Paris Fashion Week telling AFP: “It is pocket money for doing something that I love.”
The protesting photographers have begun adding the hashtag #NoFreePhotos to images uploaded to their Instagram accounts, which have more than three million followers.
And they have threatened to refuse to tag rogue influencers and instead call them out with the #NoFreePhotos hashtag.
One of the group’s leaders, Nabile Quenum, told AFP that the protest was “not about shaming anyone. We are in this together. We are just asking for respect.
“Girls get famous because of the photographers. We take pictures of the people we judge cool. When we shoot someone it says they are cool and people look for inspiration from cool people.
“Brands can see (from what we do) who is hot, who is marketable... and who they can pay to lead them to the consumer. Somehow (the influencers) have forgotten that we make them.”
Quenum, who has been on the circuit for eight years, said most brands and influencers respected “copyright-protected photos”.
But a “growing minority” did not, using their images for commercial gain without paying.
A Japanese photographer called Koji outside the Issey Miyake Paris Fashion Week show on Friday said he had stopped uploading his images to Instagram because of rampant piracy.
“Why should I so people can steal my work and not even credit me. I have had enough,” he added.
But the claims that influencers were making a “disproportionate gain” from cheerleading for brands drew a sharp response on Instagram from some bloggers.
“The notion that many influencers are being ‘disproportionately’ paid to wear clothes is quite laughable,” said top blogger Bryan Grey Yambao, aka Bryanboy, who has more than 640,000 Instagram followers.
“Do these photographers know how absolutely cheap many of the brands are? A lot of the girls I know are not being paid to wear clothes. Many spend money to go back and forth for ‘fittings’... and are often dressed by brands to be on their ‘good graces’. All for free!
“Influencers are happy to do all that to develop a (usually disposable) relationship with brands who are more than happy to move on to the next girl with even more followers,” the Filipino style guru insisted.
Yambao said he understood that photographers had to be paid. “But then again, when was the last time an influencer demanded a model release form from photographers who sell their images to magazines, retailer websites or the brands directly?
“Imagine if every influencer or editor or fashion person started complaining that their images are being taken and sold without authorization?” he added.
But American photographer Jennifer Graylock said the relationship was “lopsided in favor of the influencer or celebrity. If a photo runs of you wearing designer X you get exposure. Which leads to more followers which leads to more interest in your favor.
“However (if the photographer has been credited) they only get the 10 cents and never benefit further.”


Amal Clooney attends American University of Beirut bash in London

Despite being one of the most celebrated couples in Hollywood after their 2014 marriage and the birth of twins a year ago, Amal and George Clooney rarely speak of their private life. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Amal Clooney attends American University of Beirut bash in London

DUBAI: Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney gave a speech at an American University of Beirut alumni event alongside her father in London over the weekend.

George Clooney’s wife attended the WAAAUB UK Chapter’s bash on Saturday night in Knightsbridge’s glitzy Jumeirah Carlton Hotel, wearing a crushed velvet gown in a shade of burgundy.

Amal, 40, also attended the launch of Italian designer Giambattista Valli’s new store on London’s swanky Sloane Street on the weekend.

It seems burgundy is the color of the moment as she donned a one-shoulder jumpsuit in the shade for the event. The ruffled neckline added flair to the outfit, which she paired with loose, wavy hair and a clutch bag.

The lawyer and activist, who shot to celebrity stardom when she married Clooney in 2014, is no stranger to the spotlight and earlier this year was photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Vogue’s May 2018 issue.

“One of the many conversations we’ve been having at Vogue lately is about who exactly should be gracing our covers given the radically changed world we now live in. We’ve always taken the position that the women we feature should have substance to them, something that has only taken on greater urgency in the last year or so,” US Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour wrote in her editor’s letter for the edition.

“That’s why I’m delighted that Amal Clooney, a force to be reckoned with in the realms of international law and human rights, agreed to appear on our May cover.”

Earlier this month, she paid unprecedented public tribute to her movie star husband, calling him a gentleman, an amazing husband and father and the love of her life, Reuters reported.

The lawyer was addressing a star-studded lifetime achievement award ceremony in Hollywood for “Ocean’s Eleven” star Clooney.

But she said it was easier for her “to address a court on behalf of detainees than to speak publicly, as I am doing for the first time tonight, about my husband.

“I met George when I was 35 and starting to become quite resigned to the idea that I would be a spinster. Then we met,” Amal Clooney told the audience, packed with friends and A-list stars like Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston, model Cindy Crawford and Diane Keaton.

“Five years later, he is the person who has my complete admiration and also the person whose smile makes me melt every time,” she added.

Despite being one of the most celebrated couples in Hollywood after their 2014 marriage and the birth of twins a year ago, Amal and George Clooney rarely speak of their private life.