Photo use (was Facebook)

Boyce Tankersley
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 08:54:50 PST
We have been working on a smartphone app. for the collections at Chicago
Botanic Garden for a little over a year now.  The intended audiences are
our visitors and online home gardeners and both groups rely heavily on
images to confirm the identity of plants they are interested in.  There
were 'several' discussions concerning investing in photographing the
Garden's plants (and all that entails) versus simply linking the plant name
to a Google Images search and displaying the results to the end users.

We chose to recruit and train over 40 staff and volunteers and invest in
hardware and software.  The reasons why?

Type in just about any plant name into a Google Search and then count the
number of inaccurate images that crop up on the first page (my quick and
dirty survey found about 40% of the images are inaccurate but it varies

The other fly in the ointment was the knowledge that images get re-posted
on Internet without the approval of the original photographer.  I have
always been super careful to credit the original photographer whether we
had to use an image created outside the institution  (after obtaining
permission to use their image) or the image was created by one of the
Garden staff or volunteers.

The PBS wiki images were the exception when the quick and dirty research
was done - they were not only accurately named but also of exceptional
photographic quality.  From this perspective they do have 'value' to the
scientific as well as commercial interests.

Boyce Tankersley
Chicago Botanic Garden
USDA zone 5 with a low temperature last night of minus 5 degree F and a
daytime high of 15 degree F.  Last night the boilers that produce heat to
the production greenhouses and horticulture building (where our offices are
located) decided to bust a pipe.  A 'bit' chilly but everyone seems to be
taking things in stride as the contractors work on the repair.  Hopefully
will not have first hand observations to contribute towards frost on bulbs.

On Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM, Jacob Knecht <> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I don't get to follow or post often here due to time restrictions but I saw
> Matt's comment and felt compelled to add a few quick personal thoughts:
> >
> > As for photo fear...really? Who would really want a photo of a Massonia
> > pustulata besides us? Or someone who should be in this group? No one
> sells
> > photos anymore, and no  one pays for the use of photos anymore. In a
> world
> > of Instagram and Twitter, photos should be our greatest asset.
> >
> > I file this fear in the same bucket as those who still place those
> annoying
> > © copyright lines ghosted over their images. Crazy.
> >
> While I agree that copryright stamps on photos are unsightly and this is
> why I've never used them, despite my concern about theft, I strongly
> disagree with your statement about photo vale/copyright.
> "No one sells photos anymore, and no one pays for the use of photos
> anymore" It's dangerous to overgeneralise.  There has been a decline in
> this area, but good photos still have value and are still very much bought
> and sold.  I sell publishing rights to a number of my photos to magazines,
> journals, websites, newspapers and licensing to plant vendors.
> I put a great deal of care, effort and resources into the photos I take and
> share on my flickr and tumblr accounts, as well as upload to the PBS wiki.
> I share my photos because I want as many people to enjoy and be inspired by
> them as possible, especially I hope to get more younger folks interested in
> horticulture.  My photos are continually used on other websites and blogs
> without attribution. When there isn't attribution or back-linking I am
> disappointed but not terribly so.  My photos are quite often stolen for use
> by web- and eBay-based sellers of plants and seeds. I take issue when
> people take my creative content (photos or text) without out permission to
> use for their own monetary gain, that is real theft, both unethical and
> thankfully still illegal.
> PBS wiki photos used *all the time* on eBay for plants and seeds.  I don't
> have time to be the policeman but this theft is shameful. Without these
> images they wouldn't be able to sell hardly any of their wares. It is
> perhaps easy for someone on the outside to devalue an image of a special
> plant, seeing as how spoiled we've become with the internet, but surely
> Matt as someone who takes beautiful images of your own plants, you know
> that costs go into each photo: the expense, time and effort of acquiring,
> growing, bringing to flower and being present with the plant at the right
> moment and lighting for the photo, not to mention the time in editing,
> uploading, and the cost of camera equipment.  What about in situ photos,
> with all the travel costs?
> The internet is huge now with seemingly immeasurable data but we need to be
> reminded that quality content doesn't create itself, such content only
> springs from genuine effort and resources. I maintain that quality photos
> of interesting subjects will continue to have value for many years to come.
> Jacob Knecht
> >
> >
> > On 1/21/13 5:49 PM, "Ina" <> wrote:
> >
> > > So the page is there. But there is no way to do anything except look at
> > > it and like it.  How can it be made to be useful?
> > >
> > > Ina
> > >
> > > Ina Crossley
> > > Auckland New Zealand  Zone 10
> > >
> > > On 22/01/2013 11:31 a.m., Steve Marak wrote:
> > >> Neither slings nor arrows here, Jim.
> > >
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> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
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> >
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