I tend to be quite possessive with my photos; I limit my FB & Instagram photos to my so-so photos or those who have others pictured. The “Share” feature, and easy download option, is only one of the reasons for me holding back. Although it is true that I cringe every time I see someone post mine, or another artist’s, photo on their wall without so much as a mention of who took the photo. Of times, in fact, they don’t even know who took the picture. It’s sad. And yet…
I remember, early on in my blogging, I searched the internet for photos on the subject for which I was writing about and used the images on my post (generally, but not always, including a hyperlink back to the source). One day, I received a nastygram in my string of comments. I truly meant no harm and thought that including the link to my source was good enough. Years later, I found a picture of mine (with me pictured) on another yoga blog. I only discovered it through my StatCounter’s display of where readers come to my blog from (referring site). My thought: Wow. She didn’t even ask or tell me that it was there. I might have said yes.
Just this past week, a Tibetan monk came to the yoga studio to create a sand mandala. It was tied to a fundraising effort for the Tibetan Children’s Foundation culminating with a dinner and separate sand mandala workshop where we got to try our hand at working with the sand ourselves. More on this later. The point here is more about the monk, *his* creation, and how freely he shares it with my community. We are free to take pictures, and/or videos, and post as we desire.
Now, you might say that he is creating this as part of a fundraising effort, but I don’t see it this way. I see it as a selfless act of compassion in which he shares his creation and the Tibetan tradition with all of us. In Tibetan tradition, the blessings and transformation can be profound for the maker, organizer, and viewer of the mandala if intentions are pure. I learned this all after I struggled with posting my favorite photo of the mandala on FB.
The part of me that wanted to hold back my prized picture bumped up against the thought of how this monk freely shared his work. Moreover, he did not care if anyone included him (or didn’t) in the photos they took. He gave selflessly with the hope that his craft would make the viewer “happy” just to see his work. And indeed it did.
Oh, did I mention that in the end the sand mandala is destroyed?
If you feel moved to give freely, even the tiniest bit, the Tibetan Children’s Foundation would greatly appreciate any donation you have to offer. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.tibetanchildrenseducation.org/
What an interesting – and appropriate – fundraiser. I go back and forth with photos too. One of mine recently ended up a top pick on Google images and got swiped for a lot of other publications without attribution. It initially annoyed me, then I just decided to be flattered.