Tuesday 12 February 2013

Swings and roundabouts

So, on the one hand, this happens: a single issue of the NZ Herald's Travel section, and inside not one, not two, but three stories of mine, one of them featured as the cover story. Quite a varied selection, in subject as well as time-scale - the Rail Trail one from a couple of weeks ago, travelling Europe by train from last year, and one about looking at old and new planes in Washington state from two years ago. It was pretty exciting, to be honest, particularly as I was expecting only the plane one. I was thrilled to see it on the cover, although it was only a shortish piece - usually it's the big read, the 1200 words on the centre spread, that gets that treatment; and also that it was on page 3, ie the first real page of the section. Then I looked through to see who else had got in this week, and found the horse one featuring my photo - and then, amazingly, the train one at the back.

I was thinking, apart from "Yay!" that it was famine or feast again, as it always seems to be (not that I'm complaining about the feast bit) - but actually, it was the swings and roundabouts phrase I should have been referencing, because what did I discover a couple of days later, but this:
That's my photo of Geoff Scholz of Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris in South Australia, doing a bit of emu-whispering. Looks great, doesn't it, on the cover of this travel mag that's taken a number of my stories in the past, though not recently. I was delighted to see it, then puzzled as I couldn't remember sending them a SA story, then confused to see it twice inside, on the contents page and again with a story about Gawler by someone else, and finally furious to realise that they had not only used my image without permission, attribution or payment, but had printed above it 'Images by Patrick Gawler'.

He doesn't exist, I've discovered. The magazine must have used the reference name on the file of photos sent to them, without thinking; and the image had been mistakenly (and still somewhat mysteriously) included with stock photos supplied by SA Tourism. They are now very apologetic and will pay; the magazine we're hoping will print a correction in the next issue; and it was all a genuine mistake rather than deliberate copyright infringement. But it's still so disappointing that my photo has been given such fabulous coverage, but with no credit to me. Bummer.

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