UK Magazine Blames Stock Photo Site for Stolen Photo Used on Cover

UK Magazine Blames Stock Photo Site for Stolen Photo Used on Cover

Prominent photographer Nadav Kander recently found his portrait of David Lynch on the cover of UK magazine The Big Issue. The problem is he never provided the portrait that was used and the image looks to be a photograph of his photograph which was purchased on stock photo site Alamy.

Copyright theft is becoming bigger and more problematic for photographers and other artists with the internet free-for-all that search engines help perpetuate and the lack of understanding of the general public who don’t work in the art space. That should be where this story would end, but it seems that magazines, stock photo sites, and even other photographers posting work that is not their own are profiting from copyright theft.

This past week, the UK magazine The Big Issue released their newest issue with a cover image portrait of David Lynch. The original image was taken by Nadav Kander with his prominent lighting and personal techniques on full display. The image that The Big Issue used is allegedly a photo of a photo that was taken by another photographer where the portrait was on display at a gallery. This photo of the original portrait was then allegedly placed on the stock photography site Alamy where The Big Issue magazine purports to have purchased the photo from.

Going down the rabbit hole and some sleuthing does bring up the Alamy image that was previously being sold by a photographer with shadows being cast across the framed portrait and the black frame and wall the image is hung from in the photo itself. The cover image has been cropped in, presumably by someone from The Big Issue’s art department, to remove the wall and frame, but the shadows are still viewable in the cover image. I would believe that an art department worth their salt would have seen the original image in the cover prep and removed it from consideration, but there could have been other considerations that did not allow this to go noticed.

The Big Issue did respond to Nadav Kander on instagram with a comment that states:

[Kander], we’re very sorry you feel aggrieved. This image was sourced by the art team. They discovered it on Alamy. It’s a great image that we felt would help move the magazine.

It seems that The Big Issue is attempting to lay blame on the stock site Alamy rather than having a higher expectation of their art department when sourcing imagery. Kander also added in his statement on Instagram that the photographer who allegedly sold the image on Alamy states on their site that permission should be sought before using their work.

The Big Issue was contacted for comment but has yet to respond at the time this article was written.

Copyright infringement can happen to anyone whether a small town photographer or a national portrait artist. Whether you are the former or latter and in the USA, check out the CASE Act that is working its way through Congress and reach out to your state representatives to put your support behind your copyright protection.

Lastly, how do you feel about this sort of image theft and those who profit from it? Let us know in the comments below.

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Previous comments
Kevin Harding's picture

Note to JT Blenker. The Big Issue is a charity magazine for the homeless (and you should know that before leaving that important information out of your article) that is designed to not only bring attention to their plight but provide some much needed income for some of them. It most certainly won't have an 'Art Dept worth it's salt'.

The issue is undoubtedly with the tog who stole it and posted it on Alamy. The owner should go after him for all he's worth. I'm not so sure however that much blame can be attached to someone likely giving up their free time to work on The Big Issue (which is distributed for £1 per copy, on the street by homeless people) if I'm honest. They likely had no idea it was stolen when buying it from Alamy.

KN Weston's picture

I dont see anything that was stolen in the so called offending image.

Curt Nesset's picture

I find it curious that you identify the accomplices, Alamy and the Big Issue, but you fail to identify the thief. The “photographer” who took the photo of Kander’s picture and then peddled it to Alamy is the one who initiated this whole chain of events and should be identified. But for his actions, none of this would have happened so why shield his identity?

Christine Deschaseaux's picture

Stocks like Alamy could reverse search photos before buying them, to check their rights, just like Youtube does with Content-ID.
The technology of content-ID for images already exists: hides a unique identifier in an invisible watermark.
We have already proven its robustness in a similar case where a watermarked print was photographed : the ID was still detected in the copy!

Greg Edwards's picture

What kind of photographer photographs another photographers image and puts it up for sale?
An unoriginal non-creative thief!