This photo of my tail seems to be getting around the net! Just now I saw a post of this photo that got 13K+ notes! But every time I see this photo shared on the net- all over the net, on every social media platform- it has the upper part of my body cropped out, as well as my watermark (now moved so it can’t be cropped out). While I love that people think my tail is beautiful- my tail maker Merbella Studios did a amazing job creating it- I have to admit that I’m a bit insulted. Every time I see this photo, it’s cropped and/or rotated differently. That means that people are finding the original photo, but every time they are cropping me out. Not that they happened to find a cropped image then re-post. Does this mean that I am not pretty enough to be shared? Just my tail is?
This brings up something that has been a part of the mercomunity for a long time that has always bothered me. 90% of comments I get are along the lines of, “Beautiful tail!”. It’s great that you love my tail- I spent years saving up for it, it reflects my personality, and it’s a work of art by my tailmaker. However- there’s a person in that tail. I’m by far not the only one who is bothered by this issue. Most if not all mermaids get the same kind of comments. There is more to admire than a photo of a mermaid than their tail. You can admire the myriads of photography aspects and the person as well, not to mention all the years and countless hundreds or thousands they may have put into that passion. All to make that photo a reality.
For the same reason, it’s also important to give credit. Leave the watermark in. Credit the person if at all possible (a quick reverse image Google search only takes a few seconds). For a lot of pro mermaids and tail makers- this is how they make their living. Their livelyhood. It’s how they feed themselves and their families, pay their bills, keep a roof over their head. Mermaiding is a very hard business to begin with, but it’s even harder to get exposure, and you need exposure to get business. Copyright is there so that all those years, all those countless thousands, can pay off and help them make a living- and to also continue to make more great photos! But if you just take an image off google search and share it without credit or sighting the source, or if you intentionally crop the watermark out, it’s disrespecting that and can even hurt those people’s businesses. That’s why there are legal consequences to copyright infringement. I’m just trying to explain it in a way that you realize that these are real people- that it’s not just someone on the net bothering you about, “Copyright this, and blah blah legal that”. We’re people too! And we’ve worked hard to get where we are. So please respect that and give credit, don’t crop out watermarks, and don’t remove credits posted with content.
Iona the Mermaid
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Photos by Elena Kucher
Art by Chiara Bautista