Guðleifsdóttir, Photography, Flickr, censorship and happy end (?)
December 28, 2007 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Guðleifsdóttir (can you pronounce this?) is a young photographer from island and she puts her pics on flickr

Problems started, when Only Dreaming started selling prints of her pics without her permission on ebay. When her lawyer was not able to help her, the flickr community started coming up with suggestions for "unorthodox" solutions. This caused a big stir, Flicker censored the thread but has since apologized for it .
Anyway, a good chance to enjoy the scenery of island and also, Guðleifsdóttir is hot 1, 2,3.
posted by yoyo_nyc (58 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
sure, flickr apologized, but now I want to know what happened with the company that sold her photos!
posted by heeeraldo at 9:05 PM on December 28, 2007


Good Leif's Daughter.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:08 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Flagged as sexy.
posted by dhammond at 9:12 PM on December 28, 2007


This was her original post accompanying the picture deleted by Flickr:

I have a LOT on my mind right now.. to be honest, i've rarely been so royally pissed off as i am today.
The photos shown above all have one thing in common (besides being rather lovely landscape photos):

They were all taken , without my permission, by the London based print-selling company Only-Dreemin. This company prides itself on offering its customers only the best quality canvas prints of the finest photos , by top artists.

What they fail to mention is that some of the photos they're selling prints of have been illegally obtained, and are being sold without the artists consent or knowledge.

In my case, a friend of mine came across their store on ebay and recognized one of my prints. (this was way back in january i think)
I looked into the matter and discovered 7 more of my photos being sold there. In the case of pictures 1, 2, 6 and 7, the image had been divided up into 3 vertical panels. ( Something i would never DREAM of doing myself. ) Furthermore, the images had been given new and exciting titles, like "Seraque II" and "Attica", "Dawn expander II" and " Joga" (barf)
I spent a good many days researching, going back thru their customer feedback, and was able to track back the sales of at LEAST 60 prints made from my images.
These prints sold for a total sum of 2450 british pounds (around 4840 US$ )

I gathered all the evidence , saved each webpage displaying my work , saved the list of customer feedback, printed all this stuff out and took it to a lawyer here in iceland.
She was confident that by sending them some well-phrased letters i'd be sure to get some damages out of them. After all, i had tons of incriminating evidence.
The letters did nothing other than make them take the images down from their site. Further letters got no response from them. My icelandic lawyer could do nothing else, so i was stuck with a bill and the infuriating fact that I, being only a non-wealthy art stutdent/ single mom in iceland, will have to accept that these people stole my work and made lots of money off it, and apparently are going to get away with it.

This is NOT OK BY ME.
I could think of little else to do than to at least tell people about this.
I have reason to believe that they've stolen images from other people, maybe other flickr users.
The reason i suspect this is quite simple. My photos were being sold under the bogus name of "Rebekka Sigrún" (the nerve of keeping the first name the same is somewhat amazing).
I saw a number of other photos being sold under that same artist name, and they werent mine. And obviously this Rebekka Sigrún doesnt exist.
Looking over the pictures i remember being sold under that name, it appears they've changed the artist name to "marco van eych". If anyone knows a landscape photographer by that name, let me know. i very much doubt he exists.

So i encourage everyone that has been displaying similar landscape photos on flickr to look at their site and see if they see something suspicious.
It would also be pretty cool if as many people as possible would send them angry letters, (address them to info@only-dreemin.com ) but that's just if you feel like it;)


ok. i've said my piece. Quite a load off my back.

posted by Exchequer at 9:14 PM on December 28, 2007


Some of the photographs look a touch too manipulated for my taste, but overall a fantastic body of work. And yet another reason that Iceland is by far the coolest place on the planet.
posted by Slothrup at 9:14 PM on December 28, 2007


This set on Flickr from Iceland is downright astonishing, and they were recently ranked as the "best country in the world." I am starting to rethink my assumption that Iceland is a desolate nowhereplace and somewhere that I might actually enjoy visiting.
posted by dhammond at 9:18 PM on December 28, 2007


Oh, and here's her photo that Flickr deleted.
posted by Exchequer at 9:22 PM on December 28, 2007


Christ, someone sure loves their Photoshop.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:43 PM on December 28, 2007


No Photoshop needed here.
posted by Exchequer at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2007


interesting - Only Dreemin no longer has a shop at their web site. And they cannot be found on ebay either. So it looks like they were successfully shut down.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:51 PM on December 28, 2007


Oh, Rebekka. I thought everybody was already following her Flickr feed. Some company once ripped off her photos--how did that work out? I think it's why her pics are not full size and watermarked now.
posted by muckster at 10:01 PM on December 28, 2007


I think this is her first Flickr featured photo, an apple in mid-air. It might be the wrong one -- there are several similar -- but it's the one I like the best.

ObWiki
posted by dhartung at 10:18 PM on December 28, 2007


Only Dreemin jumped earnestly into the fray in the comments back here.

But now, new name, new online store, new eBay store.

So much for being successfully shut down.
posted by Exchequer at 10:22 PM on December 28, 2007


Anyway, a good chance to enjoy the scenery of island and also, Guðleifsdóttir is hot 1, 2,3.


Either she is an talented photographer with an interesting story on flickr, in which case her physical appearance is irrelevant and should be left off the FPP, or, she is a hottie who takes pictures, in which case, post it to FARK.
posted by Rumple at 10:50 PM on December 28, 2007 [6 favorites]


i disagree with rumple. talented artists who are also beautiful women are evidence for the existence of a god somewhere.
posted by bruce at 11:08 PM on December 28, 2007


Rumple, the folks at Toyota would probably split the middle...
posted by Exchequer at 11:16 PM on December 28, 2007


Guðleifsdóttir (can you pronounce this?) is a young photographer from island

Would that she were from isthmus.
posted by dersins at 12:07 AM on December 29, 2007


No woman is an Iceland.
posted by greycap at 12:35 AM on December 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


There are probably some facts I am missing here: why her lawyer can't take any more action? Surely they can file papers in the UK for damages? This isn't the first time IP has been taken from one jurisdiction and sold in another, saying nothing else can be done would be disastrous for copy-left movements.
posted by phyrewerx at 1:05 AM on December 29, 2007


Why -can't- her lawyer do anything else? - is what I meant to ask. Darn late night posting.
posted by phyrewerx at 1:06 AM on December 29, 2007


So it looks like they were successfully shut down.

Or they changed their name to OnlyTheeving?

why her lawyer can't take any more action?

It looks like she can't afford the risk of stumping up for legal costs with no certainty of winning. Trans-national litigation isn't cheap, and if this company has gone tits up, she'd simply be spending good money after bad.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:11 AM on December 29, 2007


why her lawyer can't take any more action?

Money
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:37 AM on December 29, 2007


This happened a long time ago. My FPP on this very same subject was deleted, as a matter of fact.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:06 AM on December 29, 2007


It's always nice to run into another dubstep fan.
posted by riverrun at 4:53 AM on December 29, 2007


Guðleifsdóttir is hot 1, 2,3.

How disappointing. This could have been a substantive post- on Icelandic photographers, on the problem of copyright in the age of digital reproduction- but, as you make clear, the reason this is here is because of some one-notch-above-MySpace bikini shots.

And see ChuckDarwin's comment.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 4:56 AM on December 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


so what's the lesson here? watermark your shit, and don't post printable resolution shots.

art thieves are everywhere. not just in the movies.
posted by spish at 6:02 AM on December 29, 2007


yoyo thank you so much for linking to that Wikipedia article otherwise I would never have been able to figure out that "island" means Iceland in a link about someone named Guðleifsdóttir. I always love extraneous Wiki links just in case I'm too stupid to figure out stuff like this. (Hope you read this before the admin deletes it)
posted by nax at 6:36 AM on December 29, 2007


Guðleifsdóttir is hot 1, 2, 3.

There's a photo of her in a bathing suit on the front page of her own website.

Pulling out a whole bunch of contextless OMG PURTY jpgs to finish off your post is weak.
posted by jessamyn at 7:08 AM on December 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Flagged. Emailed. Almost a posted MeTa.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:43 AM on December 29, 2007


I reckon chuckdarwin has a point. Jessamyn, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 AM on December 29, 2007


I am starting to rethink my assumption that Iceland is a desolate nowhereplace and somewhere that I might actually enjoy visiting.

I have been to Iceland. Iceland is awesome. Here are a couple of my favourite photos from my trip (my wife can be seen, barely, in the bottom left-hand corner of the second picture).
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:48 AM on December 29, 2007


Oh, and also,

I am a rock,
I am an Iceland.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:48 AM on December 29, 2007


On a desert Iceland in my dreams...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:48 AM on December 29, 2007


I like the supportive guy quotes underneath the pictures - it reminds me of when i went on a day trip with a good looking female friend and suddenly entered a world full of helpful men.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:23 AM on December 29, 2007 [7 favorites]


I love the smell of sanctimony in the morning...
posted by benzo8 at 10:45 AM on December 29, 2007


But is it an interesting post ? I think so, more for the historical aspect than anything else - theres a speech martin parr gave in france about people in magnum getting worried about what kind of threat flickr posed to them and he specifically mentioned this photographer - she got given a contract to do a car ad ahead of a very good pro etc.

A lot of things in photography are being turned on their heads at the moment, especially with the internet and digital photography - i can pretty much guarantee that in every photography course in the world right now, at least some of the students will know more about digital than the tutors and all that wise knowledge about fibre papers, split grade printing etc etc now means increasingly little.

So a very good example of a new trend in photography emerging - our tutors were showing us the floating apple shot in class, i guess that shot will end up in some weighty history of photography at some point - whether it's to your taste or not is pretty unimportant.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:48 AM on December 29, 2007


MeTa
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:05 AM on December 29, 2007


dhammond, about 5 years ago my sister had a layover of several days in Reykjavik via the Icelandair deal and LOVED it, even in mid-February. She particularly enjoyed horseback riding and the Blue Lagoon.
posted by chihiro at 11:42 AM on December 29, 2007


Sorry, should have sent that via MefiMail.
posted by chihiro at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2007


It's always nice to run into another dubstep fan.

haha, yeah. There's all these kickass nature scenes and icy landscapes, and then it's like "Hey, there's Mala!"

That guy is everywhere these days. Scene's getting bigger though.
posted by First Post at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2007


I like the supportive guy quotes underneath the pictures - it reminds me of when i went on a day trip with a good looking female friend and suddenly entered a world full of helpful men.

Exactly, and I think the poster was right in pointing out this, though it was done in a terrible way. I realize no all of the photographs are of her in a bikini, but the mere fact that one is, and many more have a very sexual feel, puts this in league with other high brow pornography. I realize that's sort of a loaded term, pornography, but that is what it is. The center, the showcase of the photograph seems to scream sex and sexuality. Viceland pioneered this technique, At Chumley's, Swedish Librarians and that one photographer whose name escapes me but did images of the girl with the nose bleed and countless others. I realize those are fashion spreads, but the composition and aesthetic is very similar to what she presents on flickr. Take this photograph for instance, it has that same innocent, sapphic imagery. The total lack of self-awareness of the subject, but at the same time we're almost forcibly drawn to the legs and breasts. It creates a certain voyeuristic aspect of looking in on roommates or a sister's room, but make no doubt the shadows and perspective draw the eyes directly to the sexuality.

I have no idea what point I'm trying to push, only that admiring the photographic equivalent of fashion spreads always strikes me as sort of, odd. Maybe I just get depressed when I realize that if art galleries had comment sections you'd see a lot of "Wow!!!!!" and "YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!" and other comments that make me realize that Enlightenment artists perhaps weren't being as deep as I like to think when they showcase half-clothed painted women.
posted by geoff. at 2:46 PM on December 29, 2007


So....let me get this straight...a photograph of girls sitting on a bed, talking, is sapphic high brow pornography?

If you could stop imposing your own gaze on the photographs and could instead consider that they exist without your interpretation written upon them by nature, possibly we could move away from both the boyzone quality of the original post AND get somewhere more interesting in terms of discussing photography by women. You might look at it and think "ooo lesbians!!11!!", but strangely enough, that doesn't mean that's either a) the intent of the photograph, or b) a fair assessment of its content. If a woman's body always denotes sex to you, you're probably never going to manage to move past this gut reaction, but please stop presuming that just because something's a turn on for you personally that that's it's entire purpose, intent, and value.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:22 PM on December 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


aside from you infatuation with her looks, this was an interesting post
posted by caddis at 5:41 PM on December 29, 2007


one of the better photography posts as of late
suck it haters
posted by caddis at 5:43 PM on December 29, 2007


if a woman's body always denotes sex to you, you're probably never going to manage to move past this gut reaction, but please stop presuming that just because something's a turn on for you personally that that's it's entire purpose, intent, and value.

No, this is absurd, and completely misses the point. To contrast: I really enjoy the photography of Cindy Sherman. I find her photography very, very good. She is often the subject, well almost always, the subject of her own photography. But I don't make the same comparisons. Is it because I'm elitist and Cindy Sherman is in art galleries and her photography is better due to some criteria of aesthetics that one must know and study to appreciate? It could be, I don't know, but I find something qualitatively different with Cindy Sherman's art than Gouleifsdottir's work. Perhaps I cannot explain what, but it is the difference between Michaelangelo's David and David Beckham's last photo shoot.

When I saw the photos I was immediately reminded of the hipster photoshoots of American Apparel, Viceland, et al. It is a style that I think she often imitates with her photos and the style is in the context of eroticism. Is she making a greater point? That we look at the photographs and we think immediately about her attractiveness and are reminded that the voyeuristic feeling and aesthetics that she uses are completely fantasy upon our part and we are foolish when it is taken out of its usual context (highly sexual Viceland photoshoots)? Perhaps, and I guess that is why her photography is interesting. In my opinion it is on the visceral level and would have never given it a second glance, writing it off as hackneyed. But in this case we're debating it in a larger context, and I guess that what good art does, it stimulates.

I'm sorry but I can't view the photographs without the context of the Flickr sets, the titles and even the comments. Am I suppose to separate it? Am I suppose to disregard how it seems to parallel the other photos I mentioned so closely? I don't think so, but it doesn't mean either of our perspectives is right. If anything I would compare Guoleifsdottir to Vince Gallo, whose work is similarly exploitive of himself and I think with a certain degree of look-at-me vanity.

Do I know either Vince Gallo or Gouleifsdottir? Of course not, so I don't know their true intentions, but that does not mean I cannot take the information I have and interpret it to the best of my ability. Am I calling them attention whores? No, no more than any attention I derive from engaging in this discussion. Do I think they know what people like and give them more of it? Yes, yes I do. And you cannot deny that pictures with double entendres like "hot under the collar," with pouty lips and photoshopped eyes are more "look at me I am attractive" and less, "look at how I play with the aesthetics of photographic composition."
posted by geoff. at 6:54 PM on December 29, 2007


Well "attention whores" is not the best turn of phrase I could have used, so I'm going to go back and remind myself why I don't involve myself in threads like these and that I am not, no matter how much I close my eyes and wish, anywhere near an art critic .
posted by geoff. at 7:11 PM on December 29, 2007


There is very little eroticism in these photos, as far as I can tell. I'd say none at all, aside from the presence of boobs and the occasional vague, weak euphemism in text. To me they speak far more of "girl in iceland" than "fuck me fuck me now". You pointed to a photo of two girls sitting and talking and said it was sapphic; there was nothing sapphic in that photo. Your presence as the viewer (man watching two girls on a bed) adds that to it, perhaps, but why are you insinuating yourself into this scenario in this way and claiming that it's inherent?

I think the photos themselves are quite beautiful and well composed, however. I don't even see much attention-whoring here. Just because you find her attractive doesn't mean she can't use herself as a model.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:11 PM on December 29, 2007


You pointed to a photo of two girls sitting and talking and said it was sapphic; there was nothing sapphic in that photo. Your presence as the viewer (man watching two girls on a bed) adds that to it, perhaps, but why are you insinuating yourself into this scenario in this way and claiming that it's inherent?

Well, if anything, I would find it much more interesting if that was her intention, on further review I believe you are right, and I assumed they were sexual because of the way she was presented and my own, previous experience with similar photography (supposedly innocent scenes, such as the one in the photograph, with very similar compositions as far as lighting and aesthetics) and jumped to the conclusion. Perhaps I am over thinking to the level of Alexander Portnoy, assuming the photograph was trying to ask me why I would think immediately about the complex issues regarding sexuality, voyeurism and male fantasy (I think it does it a disservice to believe it is as simple as "fuck me fuck me"), but of course I thought the early Kate Moss billboards were interesting because it seemed to be explicitly aware that it was exploiting her for commercial gain, hence the abused, thin look.

But of course I am being cynical, perhaps she is just having fun taking pictures of herself. I immediately believe, whenever I see repeated pictures of someone on the Internet, everyone is a vain, vapid MySpace attention-seeker. I probably shouldn't bring that baggage.
posted by geoff. at 7:53 PM on December 29, 2007


There is very little eroticism in these photos, as far as I can tell.

I disagree. There are plenty like this, this, this, and this. Her back and forths with the helpful guys in the comments sections, as well as her titles (e.g. "Flaunt") and tags, emphasize the "look at me!" aspects of these photos, rather than just abstract artiness. (The majority of her photos, however, are of other subjects -- landscapes, her children, etc.) Now, how much of that is "attention whoring," how much is disingenuous, how much is calculated self-promotion, and so on, I have no idea. She is certainly not a passive recipient of the helpful guy attention; she is clearly deeply engaged with that process.
posted by Forktine at 8:10 PM on December 29, 2007


Her pride in her body isn't presented as sexualized, if you can imagine a nude female form not being sexualized. If you've been in art galleries for any length of time this isn't a huge stretch. I still don't see any porn or eroticism in those photos. She's taking angle shots of her torso, quite tastefully. Is she proud of her body? Clearly. That doesn't make the photos particularly erotic.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:25 PM on December 29, 2007


Her pride in her body isn't presented as sexualized,

Well, maybe. That's in the eye of the beholder, since none of us knows what her intentions really are. But in the comments to the third link I gave, she writes:

if you have a look around at my other photos however, you can see that i dont just make a habit of flaunting my physical aspects to get views. I no longer need to, as my talent as a photographer has increased dramatically in the past few months. At the time i posted this, i felt like doing so.

And from the first:

believe it or not, this is my most viewed image
(fakes an innocent look)
:p


Basically, she is aware of how her photos will be received ("hot"), and is fully complicit in that process, by choosing photos that will bring out those reactions, and taking part in a "yes I am hot" commentary with the "wow, you are so hot" commenters.
posted by Forktine at 8:57 PM on December 29, 2007


"Hotness" is a surface aspect here, but I find geoff.'s comment interesting. The photo he labels "sapphic" is a montage of two self-portraits (with a hair coloring in-between), which he doesn't mention, so I don't know if he saw it (did you?).

There is definitely an intimacy about the photograph, and photography (and painting before it) has long had an interplay with intimacy as a form of sexualization. I think there is also an unsettling aspect about the self-portrait montages that creates an intimacy surpassing that even of twins, and it is geoff.'s reaction to that breach of intimacy through the photographic eye that leads him to a sexual interpretation of intent. I think it's brilliantly on the fence, though, in terms of whether Rebeka actually intended that understanding. It's a challenging photograph, and quite good because of that.
posted by dhartung at 10:34 PM on December 29, 2007


Her pride in her body isn't presented as sexualized, if you can imagine a nude female form not being sexualized.

Did you even look at the pictures?
posted by afu at 12:34 AM on December 30, 2007


You pointed to a photo of two girls sitting and talking and said it was sapphic; there was nothing sapphic in that photo. Your presence as the viewer (man watching two girls on a bed) adds that to it, perhaps, but why are you insinuating yourself into this scenario in this way and claiming that it's inherent?

I agree that the photo is not "inherently sapphic" (and I actually think it's a nice photo)...but her title for it forces that perspective onto in a coy, "aren't I a cheeky monkey" kind of way: "...not really, we were just sitting here talking!" Snicker wink nudge hair-flick! She couldn't just leave it alone as a portrait of warm intimacy (sexual undertones or not) between two young women.

Titling is everything, which is why many photographers avoid it.
posted by availablelight at 7:25 AM on December 30, 2007


Two young women? It's her twice.
posted by dabitch at 8:08 AM on December 30, 2007


Two young women? It's her twice.
posted by dabitch at 11:08 AM on December 30 [+] [!]

LOL, thanks for correcting me. Amazing what a little hair color change in low light can do, at first glance.


OK, looking at it with that in mind, now the title doesn't scream, "tee hee, we're "just talking", but...the image just tilted from "affecting" to "narcissistic". Very clever, though.
posted by availablelight at 8:44 AM on December 30, 2007


Her pride in her body isn't presented as sexualized, if you can imagine a nude female form not being sexualized.

The only way you could reach this conclusion is if you've got an agenda and are ignoring anything that doesn't fit.
posted by Justinian at 11:55 AM on December 30, 2007


The only way you could reach this conclusion is if you've got an agenda and are ignoring anything that doesn't fit.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on December 30


Seconded.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:45 PM on January 3, 2008


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