Sunday, 17 February 2013

Short Film 'Seagulls' about the violation of privacy, is itself a violation of privacy

UPDATE: Following his public appeal to the artist online, Peter reports that the offending image of his child has been removed. 

I know a chap named Peter Neill. He's a photographer, quite a skilled one (and I don't just say that because he took my wedding photos). Visit his website here. This man has snapped U2, Coldplay, My Chemical Romance, Slash, Black Eyed Peas, Alice Cooper - the list goes on - capturing them perfectly, his photos possessing a wonderful energy and sense of being right there in the moment.

I wish that this post was me spruiking the excellent work of my friend, but something has happened to him and it is simply not on. 

Today Peter posted a link to a film on his Facebook account. A short, titled Seagulls, by director Mato Atom.

seagulls from Mato Atom on Vimeo.

It aims to be topical by citing surveillance culture, represented here by automated drones - anthropomorphized as lascivious voyeurs - as well as social networking sites documenting our daily lives. References to Little Red Riding Hood litter the film, which ends on a similarly ambiguous note of violation as the original short story Le Petit Chaperon Rouge did - apparently Mato Atom does not realize Angela Carter well and truly dug this furrow back in 1979. 

If Seagulls was just a pretentious and unoriginal short, according to this piece the director describes himself as an 'astronomer without a telescope', that would be fine. However, what Peter noticed was that the film opens with a picture of his newborn daughter, sourced without permission by the filmmaker from Flickr. The original image is clearly identified as the property of Peter Neill, but no attempt was made to contact the photographer - leaving aside for the moment the fact that he is also the child's father. 

This is a violation of privacy. It beggars belief that Mato Atom would not check to make sure the images were available, especially given the material. 

I would ask anyone who reads this and feels it is wrong - contact Vimeo. Inform them that their 'Staff Pick' is in flagrant breach of copyright. Share the facts of this story on Twitter, Facebook - show that this kind of behaviour by an artist is simply not acceptable.


  1. the image that wasn't under creative commons license was apparently removed. great video by the way

  2. Well as I said above, I find the video quite obvious and confused - and the image was copyrighted to Peter's account.


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