by Richard Chenoweth, AIA
Thank you for the AIArchitect copyright article about photographers' rights.
As a past president of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (2005), as well as a designer and licensed architect (and member of the Washington Chapter), I would like to suggest that architectural illustrators share a similar, perhaps far worse plight.
First, photographers and illustrators share a common goal: to project a three dimensional
architectural work into two dimensions, although we work on different ends of a project. The illustrators do their work on the front end of a project and the photographers do their work on the back end of the project.
Yet, even though architectural illustrations are protected under current copyright law, treated as drawings or graphic art, the ASAI has been fighting for our intellectual property rights and credits in publications for 25 years now. But do this: Open any issue of one of the leading architecture design magazines today and look in the margin for the accreditation of photographs and the accreditation of illustrations. Many illustrations simply say "Courtesy of the Architect." Almost invariably, however, photographs will be properly accredited to an individual.
The ASAI has brought this to the attention of magazine editors, and, yet, nothing changes.
Many of my colleagues have fought personally with huge American newspapers simply to be credited. I once called the architecture critic for a major East Coast metropolitan daily who used one of my illustrations for his column without proper credit, and he simply said: "I don't care who did the drawing."
I don't have time to speculate about the many reasons for this. But I would like to suggest that perhaps we, as a profession, could broaden our support on this topic of giving credit where credit is due, especially as copyright and proper crediting are often a negotiated term of agreement.
I have been on architectural shoots, and appreciate the technical skill, aesthetic insight, and creative abilities of architectural photographers who can spend many hours setting up, waiting for the light, and creating many photographs for a graphic artist's ultimate selection. For the illustrator's part, sometimes a single architectural drawing of an unbuilt project, created in perspective, can take 20, 40, even 60 hours. What we do also has value.
We have struggled with this, and if we cannot even get our professional publications to comply, then who shall stand up for us?
Again, thanks for the article. A great take-away thought is that I will explicitly define the copyright of photographs as a part of my work product that always belongs to me.
Rendering of the Dorsey Residence, Madison, Conn., (designed by Duo Dickinson, AIA) by Richard Chenoweth, AIA, Chenoweth Architecture.