Tuesday 18 May 2021
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Your watermark does not protect you but can ruin you

Man I’m so proud of the Namibian community for the way they have started to embrace the arts.  Most people have started to accept that the creative industry is a vital industry to the Namibian community and this on it’s own serves as a great platform for what used to be called the artsy fartsy – now called the creatives, with so much room to create!

Over the past few years I have been introduced to and had the opportunity to liaise, feed and bounce off creative energy’s from many individuals. From graphic designers to fashion designers, from videographers to animators, from painters to photographers, there’s not a creative I have met that hasn’t had an impact on my craft.

With all that said and with disclaimer that this is not a personal attack or a degrading to anyone specific, but more of a challenge for the creatives of this art to look into the situation and see if we can improve on a few things.

A public cry to the photographers of amateur status and it’s affiliating ranks. A cry for the betterment of us all.

For those that do not recognize the term, a watermark is basically an overlay on top of an art piece that helps identify the property of a certain individual. So a washed out logo in the corner of a photo or a letterhead on quotation or invoice etc. These things are there to create identity and ownership and the practice of doing so had been around for a young minute now.

But I have a concern. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to understand the creative scene and the work that comes from them. But there are so many things that we need to do to get to a place where we can confidently, as a nation compete with other advanced creatives internationally, I’m talking locally established agencies not the Leo Burnett’s and the Saatchi and Saatchi’s.

Many photographers in Namibia seem to have an understanding of the watermark that is detrimental to their craft and intellectual property. I have seen so many photographers who put a watermark on top of picture that is almost the same size as the picture, smack center of the picture and it is sad.

Due to lack of knowledge and a teachable spirit, due to a low self esteem and a misplacement of intent for the craft many, MANY, photos and photo compositions have been ruined and it’s such an injustice to the photos.

If you think about it, anything creative is such a selfless sport. Everything we create we create for the world to see, for the world to appreciate and for the world to embrace. It’s always been about portraying a message whether it is “let’s change the world” with a brush stroke or “I literally got the moves “ with a frame from a video, a message has always been portrayed through the arts. But it seems as though the obnoxious watermark refuses this for it’s audience. The only thing these A5 size watermarks portray, is low self-esteem.

Now, don’t get me wrong  – I wholeheartedly advocate for the rights to your own work and the protection of intellectual property but there is an etiquette we need to follow. Keep your art clean and make sure it is of quality, it will force the audience to look for you as photographer. Keep your watermark minimalistic and almost out of sight. Many professional photographers have advised me that the common practice is to HIDE your watermark in plain sight, find an area that you can place your watermark that wont be too obvious or loud.

METADATA- is a term unfamiliar to the rookie photographer. So I suggest you look it up and do some research on it. These are just a few methods that we can use to protect our intellectual property, there are so many other methods rather than trying to make what seems to be a whole photo manipulation.  Yes your efforts can go to waste when a good graphic designer has time because they can remove your watermark.

Here’s a thought, painters and artists use their signatures to authenticate their art, not to claim their art.  And when they do, they do not scribble all over their work.

It only gets better from here…

This column is based on personal experience and in no way reflects the editorial policy of this publication

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