What We Learned This Week: Photographers Suing Tattoo Artists and Hilary Duff

By David Schonauer   Friday February 26, 2021

PPD’s court calendar was full this week.

On Tuesday we noted that L.A.-based photographer Jeff Sedlik is suing celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D for infringing on his copyright by using a photo of jazz musician Miles Davis as basis for a tattoo.

Sedlik created the image in 1989, and it was first published in a cover story in JAZZIZ, noted Billboard. Since then, it has been widely published in magazines around the world.

Owner of High Voltage Tattoo in Hollywood, Kat Von D was made famous by the TLC reality TV series LA Ink. Kat Von D’s Instagram account boasts over 7.4 million followers, noted PetaPixel. In 2017, Kat Von D used Sedlik’s photo to create a tattoo on a client’s arm and publicized the tattoo several times on social media. Apparent, added PP, the tattoo artist never requested a license or permission to reproduce the photo.

Sedlik is demanding that Kat Von D remove all instances of his photo (and images of the tattoo base on it) from all print, Web, and social media platforms. He’s also asking for statutory damages (up to $150,000), profits earned from the photo tattoo, losses incurred by the infringement, as well as other fees incurred from the legal battle, noted PP.

Then on Thursday we we noted that photographer Darryl Wilkins has filed a defamation lawsuit against Hilary Duff, after the actress shared a video in which she confronted him in a park as she played with her children. Duff included a caption with the video when posting it to Instagram: “Paparazzi shooting KIDS. Go ‘practice’ your photography on ADULTS! Creep! Laws need to change! This is stalking minors! Disgusting!”

Duff is heard on the video saying, “Can you stop taking picture of the kids, please?” Wilkins is heard saying, “It’s legal. I’m taking pictures. I’m practicing photography. I’m not here to scare you or anything like that. Your paranoia is unwarranted.”

Talk show host Wendy Williams later featured the clip on her program, saying “Creepy to me,” noted PetaPixel.  Wilkins has included Williams in the lawsuit, in which he claims that Duff defamed him by publicly accusing him of “reprehensible and despicable conduct including by innuendo that he was a child predator.” The Blast first reported the story.

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:

1. Kenya Under Attack From Locusts

Kenya is battling some of the worst locust plagues in decades — scientists say warmer seas are creating more rain, waking dormant eggs, noted Reuters, while cyclones that disperse the swarms are getting stronger and more frequent. The news service featured images of the locust attack in a report on a start-up called The Bug Picture, which is working with Kenyan communities to harvest the insects and mill them, turning them into protein-rich animal feed and organic fertilizer for farms.

2. Documenting a Supermarket in a Food Desert

Syracuse, New York’s South Side became a food desert when its last supermarket closed in the 1970s. Photographer Michael Santiago was studying in Syracuse in 2017, around the time the community learned that after five years of planning, a Price Rite supermarket would be built and would be hiring directly from that community. He began documenting what the new supermarket meant to the neighborhood. “I wanted to work on a project that showed there were people who loved their community and worked hard for it,” Santiago told BuzzFeed.

3. Science Photographer of the Year Winners

Photographer Sue Flood’s image of a melting North Pole is one of the winners of the 2020 Science Photographer of the Year competition, announced recently by the Royal Photographic Society. Flood’s image, winner of the contest’s Climate Change category, shows a sign post depicting the geographic North Pole placed on sea ice largely covered with water. “Each year the ice cover over the Arctic declines, a direct result of changing global climate,” Flood noted in the image's caption.

4. The Humble Beauty of Snails, With Bokeh

Poland-based photographer Katarzyna Zauna captures the mystical beauty of snails using an exquisite bokeh effect, noted My Modern Met.  “They are graceful and communicative, establishing contact with humans in their primitive way,” Zauna said. “This is what delights me most in them.” While snails aren’t the fastest creatures in the world, capturing their humble beauty takes some work, addd MMM. “You can create beautiful compositions, but it takes a lot of patience and sensitivity to light and to detail,” Zauna explained.

5. Sandro Miller's 'Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich!'

Photographer Sandro Miller first met John Malkovich in 1999, and the two have been collaborating ever since. In their most recent project together, Malkovich adopts a number of different guises as Miller pays homage to the great photographers of past and present, from August Sander and Irving Penn to Arnold Newman and Diane Arbus. Seen in exhibitions around the world and used as a teaching tool to help reintroduce modern viewers to master photographers, the work is now collected in the book "Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich!” We featured in on Wednesday.
At top: From Katarzyna Zauna


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