N Touch
Monday 27 May 2019
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Letters to the Editor

The Carnival photographer – collaborator or parasite?

THE EDITOR: Please allow me the opportunity to comment on some concerns regarding Carnival photography and the TT Copyright Collection Organisation’s (TTCO) approach to the laws regarding “works of mas.”

In May last year I had a discussion with veteran mas man Peter Minshall. We shared some thoughts on the role of the photographer as it relates to mas and the relationship to the art of mas as created by the designer and played by the masquerader, with the imagery that is created by the photographer.

We agreed there is a symbiotic/collaborative relationship between the photographer and the mas, for the image could not exist without the artist and the art would not be seen nor remembered without the image creators.

Photographers have been carrying out a mainly thankless role for decades in relation to Carnival, with barriers being heaped upon them, even though Carnival cannot be promoted, uplifted nor shared with the rest of the world if it were not for the image creators, photographers/videographers.

In fact, it is the photographers, videographers, publishers and broadcasters who provide the platform for making the mas, the artist and the masquerade famous, for without the image, who would know what this thing called Carnival is about.

The position of the TTCO is one that seems to look upon photographers as parasites and opportunists instead of symbiotic collaborators, many of whom do not earn enough from Carnival to cover their costs of coverage, neither do they receive royalties nor compensation from anyone for the goodwill that a published image brings to the Carnival artist.

Perhaps it is time for the TTCO to take a long hard look at its approach to protecting the “neighbouring rights” of the artist and to take stock of the challenges that photographers face, as well as the actual rights of photographers and let us work together to make our Carnival a festival that can be seen and shared with the rest of the world as “the greatest show on Earth.”


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