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Instagram 'Re-Snaps" Sell for $90,000

Painter and photographer, Richard Prince', Instagram account has 10,200 followers but has not posted a single photo? Strange huh? What’s stranger is that Price uses his account to ‘retake’ snaps of photos posted on Instagram, makes minor adjustments, then calls them his own and sells them in New York gallery, Fruze Art Fair for $90,000.

Founder of Lime Crime Makeup, Doe Deere, spotted her own photo on sale in the gallery.


She then posted on Instagram the picture above with the caption:
“Figured I might as well post this since everyone is texting me. Yes, my portrait is currently displayed at the Frieze Gallery in NYC. Yes, it's just a screenshot (not a painting) of my original post. No, I did not give my permission and yes, the controversial artist Richard Prince put it up anyway. It's already sold ($90K I've been told) during the VIP preview. No, I'm not gonna go after him. And nope, I have no idea who ended up with it! 😳 #lifeisstrange #modernart #wannabuyaninstagrampicture

Nothing like someone selling photos of you to make you realise we live in a really f**ked up world. But apparently it’s legitimate, given the flexibility of copyright laws. Prince would know. He’s been making a lucrative career from “editing’ other peoples photographs since the 1970’s.  

In 2008, French photographer Patrick Cariou sued Prince for re-photographing Cariou’s images of Jamaica’s Rastafarian community. Cariou won the appeal, however the court ruled that Prince had not committed copyright infringement because his work was “transformative”.

What Prince does to transform these images Instagram images is add captions such as “DVD workshops” “Button down” “I fit in one leg now” ‘Will it work?” “Leap of Faith” from the account ‘Richardprince1234’. He doesn’t alter the username or the photos - looking identical to the originals.

The collection of “New Portraits” is mainly made up of pictures of women posing in sexually suggestive fashions. Prince doesn’t feel the need to let the women starring in “his” pictures know, or even ask for permission.


The screenshots are enlarged to 6-foot-tall inkjet prints and according to Vulture, nearly every piece sold for $90,000. Prince knows that more legal action is unlikely so he’s been re-tweeting and re-posting his many critics, calling them “idiots” or “morons”, appearing to be enjoying the attention.

American attorney, Bradley Shear who specialises in social media and privacy law said “he is going to have a very difficult time trying to defend himself if he ends up being sued, because in general when you’re claiming fair use you’re taking bits and pieces of someone’s work and then commenting about it, or you’re taking something and changing it” Prince took the whole image and wrote a one-liner.

Didn’t Pablo Picasso once say that good artists ‘copy’, while great artists ‘steal’.

Jessica Smith 

Australian girl, Jessica is loving England but is missing the sunshine! She loves writing, dogs and plays hockey! Follow her @JessicaAtSMF

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Instagram 'Re-Snaps" Sell for $90,000 Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, May 28, 2015 Rating: 5

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