Canon Italy Posts Landscape Composite Without Credit, Stolen Elements, and Taken on a Fujifilm

Canon Italy Posts Landscape Composite Without Credit, Stolen Elements, and Taken on a Fujifilm

Having Canon post one of your images to social media is a worthy accolade for any photographer. However, if they do so without crediting the artist, it devalues it somewhat. It's devalued further when your work only comprises half of the image in a re-edited composite. Any value left at this point is then stripped away when the image in question wasn't even taken with a Canon.

[Update: Canon Italy have responded and it's... underwhelming.]

If you're into landscape photography, you're probably already familiar with Elia Locardi; plus, he's a bit of a rock star around here with his “Photographing the World” series being very popular. In fact, it was in the Facebook group for tutorial owners that Matteo Callisti brought to Locardi's and Fstoppers' attention that the official Canon Italy Facebook page had posted a very familiar image. The image looked incredibly similar to one taken by Locardi:

Interesting. It's definitely not the same image, but the top half looks almost identical save for the reprocessing. Take a closer look:

It may have been adjusted, but it's the same top half down to the pixel, and I mean that literally, as you can see with this bird/pixel:

It's quite clear it's a composite using Locardi's sky and a few parts of the highest foreground, and the shot used wasn't even taken on a Canon camera: it was taken on a Fujifilm X-T1. To make matters worse for Canon's social media team, the image has been posted on the Instagram accounts for Canon Italy and Canon Spain:

So, the social media team for Canon Italy (and Spain) have posted a composite landscape, half of which was stolen, not taken with a Canon, and not credited anyone involved in the creation of this image. Rough day at the office.

Lead image used with permission of Elia Locardi.

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Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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It almost looks like they wanted to piss off the biggest amount of people possible with a single image :D

Goes hand-in-hand with last week's statement from Canon admitting they can't keep up with innovation........

Look at the patterns in the water/current, too. It's the same, except cropped in a bit. It's just been shifted. I think the bridge and building and lighting/lights are different. But that water is definitely 90% the same, with the biggest differences coming from massive added light reflections.

Yeah, I think some of the water was used as well.

I can't find the composite via Google Image Search – you'd think one of the hundreds of shots here could be cleared!

very original composition

"Lead image used with permission of Elia Locardi..."
You say while shoving your middle finger into Canon Italy's face. Then you repeat:

An editorial use of an image when the article is about the image (as opposed to about the subject of the image) falls under 'fair use'.

Lets chalk it up to Canons “lack of innovation” interview.


To be fair, Elia's version that was stolen here was shot live during our tutorial. The Vatican lights were off the whole week as they were converting them to LED. Elia's portfolio version of this shot is better than both versions being debated here.


So now we are copyrighting the sky?

If it was for any other image, I'd probably think of it as fair use.
But they are using almost the same composition as the photo that the sky was taken from. It is not providing any added value, so I do think it should be credited.

It's not really a question of "copyrighting the sky" but more so the fact that someone clearly ripped of Elia's image, took what they considered the best parts and blended it in with another image. That's clearly wrong. It doesn't matter if they took one tiny cloud - it's someone else's work.

Exactly. And on top of that, Canon did it. No some "not photography related" company....

It is Vatican. They even have model releases for the sky.

I find it odd that the Canon accounts didn't credit anyone for the image. It's very possible they had nothing to do with the actual theft/composite but were provided the image by a 3rd party who "created" it. But then why not credit that person? Bizarre situation overall.

There is only one thing left - to find that bottom part was shot on Nikon/Sony/Pentax/Olympus/Whatever.

That's just too much work for making such a terrible mistake. Seriously, did nobody at ANY moment say something like hey, MAYBE this is not a good idea?

Tsk tsk....I shot Canon for many years and their cameras are pretty good. Shame they couldn't put a photographer on location with one of their own products for this shot.

Just another reason why I switched to Sony. Never going back.

No lights in the Vatican reflection on their image lol. That should have been part of the process during the creation of the illegal composite. Crazy story. I hope they make up for it Elia.

According to an article about this image that was posted on DPR, the image Canon used was a royalty free image on unsplash so Canon may not be directly responsible for this situation.
Honestly, the worst part about this story as it relates to Canon is that they can't find the $$ to actually pay a photographer for an image. It's a company selling a variety of photographic equipment to a variety of people, including those who make a living from using the equipment they sold, and they can't be bothered to support them in return.
That's just sh***y.

Just so I understand are saying that certain parts of the image were royalty free and used to composite unto the EL image?

Didn't we just see an article yesterday about unsplash??

The image on unsplash is royalty free. Whether the person who put it there had a legal right to do so (because the majority of it was an original work by Elia Locardi) is another matter. Basically, Canon did nothing wrong (unless they can be legally held liable for using an image that is predominantly a stolen image). can't be. Nobody would steal...and even if they do so what. It's "exposure". Locardi is going to be rich!

Who is this Greg Paul Miller character providing the image on Unsplash for free? Not only Canon is liable in this infringement. How many of the other images contain stolen imagery?
This photo also looks very familiar!

I assume that you are comparing it to this image:

In this case, the two images are definitely different - even the position of the camera during exposure is different (see the perspective of the red building in the lower right corner on Elias image. They are not worlds apart, no, but there is no copyright infringement going on.

Thanks! Yes that is the image i believe. It looks like that might be manipulated as well. What do you think @Elia Locardi?

I remember when the 5D mk2 first came out, there was a full-page or full-spread ad by Canon for it in Outdoor Photographer magazine, featuring a fisheye image by George Lepp of a gorgeous Hawaiian (??) sunrise or sunset. The advertisement touted amazing image quality, bla-bla-bla...

A few months later, Lepp who was / is an OP contributor, published an article about bracketing exposures to create a "natural" looking HDR, featuring, you guessed it! ...the freaking Canon ad fisheye photo. (I think the total amount of bracketing was either 5 or 7 EVs.)

I knew then that Canon marketing was full of s**t, and furthermore, that their sensors were falling behind.

BTW, before people jump down my throat to mention that this was the photographer's fault, NOT Canon's, I'll add this: I can confirm that Canon does indeed ask "was this image shot entirely on Canon equipment?" when they contact a photographer directly about commercially licensing a photo. So, apparently on social media they have relaxed their standards.

Make no mistake, Nikon has their share of humiliating stories about "faked" images too. The bottom line is that this ain't Nat Geo. This is social media marketing, and "anything goes" is the new status quo. And, IMO, Canon is likely the worst culprit.

Oh come on! They might just got lucky that they had the same sky during their shoot.... No

Of all people, this company should understand the importance and value of photographic integrity. Granted, this might not have come from any main office, but this account represents the social media aspect of the company on that side of the world and essentially is speaking on behalf of Canon. Not only have they stripped elements from Elia's original image without giving him any kind of credit, they've told their followers that the image was shot on Canon not really knowing whether a large portion of that image actually was shot on Canon.

It probably would have taken less time to just grab a Canon and shoot the scene again. I honestly don't understand why the photographer / editor would go to all the trouble to rip elements from the original image, sacrificing Canon's integrity in the process.

I guess the question is was the original image obtain as a stock image. I checked his website and his 500x page. There is no way they get from those two places. I also saw the other version, which is amazing. But not this version. Where did Canon get the first image from?

The image isn't there anymore.

I guess it's time to call Monte Isom :D

What ? Someone ripped off an image on social media and posted it without credit ?

Extract from Canon Italias official statement under the image:

1. The image was taken by @gregpaulmiller with Canon gear, not Elia Locardi. It does look similar to his image, but it's different on some parts, so it's a different image...
2. The images is from unsplash, so it's copyright free. It won't be taken down from anywhere.
3. The image's goal was to inspire the community to take amazing pictures. It wasn't a promotion to Canon gear.

Moral of the story: You can get away with anything if you composite.

Locardi's image was used in the composite. That's obvious. The main question, was it available as a stock image. Just grabbing an image let say from google to use it in a composite isn't cool. It's not illegal, but its not cool. Also I get the inspiration, but anything Canon posts or publishes is promoting their brand. Which is their gear.

Also, I believe a composite promotes that you cannot achieve amazing photos without manipulating the image. I am not referring to editing and processing. That would make the image more art than a photo and would make Canon or any other Brand gear seem not important.

Photography is an art. Gear is not important. Even Elia does composites. Not everyone wants to be NatGeo photographer.

It is an art indeed and normally I have no issue with composites. But as I expressed. If Canon promotes a composited photo of different stolen images, some not even taken with their gear, then that makes Canon's brand in general irrelevant. This is about a promotion that suppose to encourage me to buy Canon gear, not hire Elia as a photographer or to buy Photoshop.

Also, I have seen what NatGeo Photographers have to go through. I'll stick with product photography. LOL

hahaha truly italian..

My guess is that the Canon guy took the image from his spot at different times and composited his own images. One of them just happened to be at around the same time of the Fuji guy.