Fatu ma Futi, also known as Flower Pot Rock
Luisa, Monica, Diana, Vera and Faith asked;
“Did you take these pictures here?” “Do people know you take their picture?” “Do you ask them?”
All but two of the paintings are from pictures I have taken. I have permission to use them and give credit where it is due. The photographs I've been working from are next to the paintings for now so people can compare them. Since this project is about American Samoa, I only used photographs taken here. Most of the paintings are of candid shots of people doing things. In street scenes with a lot of people I don’t ask everyone for permission. For close up pictures I either ask or hold up my camera so people have the option to say no if they don’t feel like being photographed.
Many of the photos are from events where I was invited to take pictures. The first painting of the two girls was taken at a wedding at Sadie’s by the Sea. I have photographed the staff at the hotel for the web site and so far no one has said no. When I can I print people’s pictures and send them to them. I don’t ask permission to do the paintings from the photographs though. Under United States law I’m not required to since our government doesn’t limit creative expression for original artwork. But I need to obtain permission to reproduce the paintings if people are recognizable. In most of these paintings they are not, but some of that is just lack of skill.
The questions were asked with a slight degree of suspicion. I suppose to find out if I am a user or not. I have heard that there are no copyright laws on the books in American Samoa and no one I have asked knows if there is precedent on that particular subject. Regardless, I ask people for permission to photograph them because it is polite. I have not asked before doing the paintings since I didn’t know who many of the people are or how to contact the ones I do. Hope they find me.