© An Andalusian dog. Photogram Luis Buñuel. 1929
The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.
I don’t like to see a wonderful photograph and have my gaze fall on that wound; on the fiery mark of the creator, invalidating the visual walk of the person who observes and contemplates. Therefore, I invite you to start your critical thinking, another way of looking.
A large number of photography professionals believe that they should apply a watermark to their images for two fundamental reasons: first, so that their photos are not stolen; second, to advertise directly and economically. It’s true, it protects from easy theft and anyone can know the authorship of the photograph but what is the cost?
© Eugeni Forcano
As children, we are trained to learn visual discrimination. Specifically, we learn to detect letters or symbols before any other type of signal. This learning is essential to learn how to read and remains on fire in our brain. We prioritize the letters or symbols; thus, when we perceive an image, our gaze inevitably falls on the letters or symbols. Therefore, where do you think your gaze travels when you delight yourself by looking at a photograph? Again and again to the same place: the watermark.
In a world in where we express ourselves through the image, understanding this as composition, history, personal project, identity,… There’s no point in “staining” our work. It’s like we go to the cinema and have the director’s signature in the corner of the screen. It’s a totally invasive and not very delicate element, which literally corrupts the image, causing the visual tour to be interrupted or completely damaged.
If you want to make it clear that you have a picture’s authorship, use the image’s metadata. Deleting or cropping the watermark is easy with an editing program.
© Annie Leibovitz
The image is the photographer’s way of expressing and for the person who enjoys it is a visual experience. The photographs must be contemplated and for this, there must be a balance, a synchronization with the captured image and the viewer. Make the invisible visible.
Neither Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Bárbara Traver nor many other artists use watermarks. In contemporary photography it never appears, therefore, as a person who creates and expresses themselves through images, you can ask yourself the following question:
Is it important what I tell or express with my photograph or is it important that my name appears?
© Trip to the moon. George Méliès
Don’t resist removing watermarks; treat your images as they really deserve and think about it: Am I afraid of being stolen? Advertising? Or photographic ego?