Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Kick That Dead Horse

If I remember correctly I was in the 8th grade when my dad came home with his first Harley. It was a 1979 Superglide. I wasn’t really sure what to think about it. I really had no interest in the thing and wondered why he got it. He worked on the road my entire childhood and on the rare occasion he would be home during the summer and I’d see him blast through town on that SuperGlide….. I would think…. Damn… that’s kind of cool.

Just about the time I graduated High School I started to find some chopper mags lying around his house. There was really only one “real” Chopper magazine at the time in my opinion and that was The Horse. Growing up I always seemed to walk the off the beat’n path, whether it was music, art or just life in general. I was a weird kid and most people probably didn’t understand me… hell… I didn’t understand me. I didn’t know a damn thing about a motorcycle but the bikes in that rag just left me sitting on the shitter with my jaw on the toilet seat.

I went to the city to attend college where I would learn to take photographs. It was a very technical school and from day one we were taught the ropes of the photography business including how get work, how to charge and our rights has a photographer. As I received my education in photography my love for motorcycles grew.

Upon graduation I contacted the guys that sparked my love for custom motorcycles. I couldn’t believe it…. within two minutes of sending an email my phone was ringing and a few weeks after that I was on the set of a The Discovery Channel Biker Build Off. Things were moving fast but I quickly realized that all my hero’s and the people involved in the motorcycle industry were just as dirt poor as I was. The money was tight for everyone so I didn’t expect much just an amazing life of traveling around and shooting the motorcycles I loved.

So I worked for peanuts and tried to make do with what I had. Life was hard and the bills weren’t getting paid. The wife ran off so I hit the rode for good….. figuring it out as I moved along. I worked my ass off and loved every minute of it. There was a management change at The Horse and some things were getting switched around. There were some misunderstandings and we went our separate ways. Things were said and I tried to be the better man by walking away and burying the ashes.

I’ve heard about things being said or done but I figured what do I care I’m Living life on a motorcycle and having the time of my life. I’m not the type to start wars or drama but I feel the need to clear some things up. This is something the editor of the Horse posted on his chat site earlier this week.

I was paying him more than any other magazine was paying him, giving him $500 out of my wallet at Smoke Out West because he was low because I was feeling sorry for him. I paid his way there, put him up and paid him to work the event, a sizeable investment for a guy who was broke. Then when I published the issue, he came back and wanted extra pay per shot, on top of what I had already paid his worthless ass. Then he tells me how "legally" he could do this and do that. That's when I told him to sue me (knowing he didn't know shit about the law) and told him to take his whinning faggot ass out of here.

Just hope he doesn't come whining and crying for compensation because it's on this site. Fucking little cry baby”


Now there is some truth to this but mostly twisted facts. First of all… how does he know what other magazines were paying me at the time. If I remember correctly he did out of the Kindness of his heart give me two hundred dollars out of his own pocket. I was running around the joint like a chicken with it’s head cut off shooting the action without rest and I had made the trip to Arizona on 10 dollars. So he kindly thanked me for my efforts and I thanked him for the kindness. The Horse did pay my transportation and hotel but that is to be expected if an editor wants you to take time out of your schedule to travel to their event. There was no pay or expected pay for working the event itself. My goal once there was to cover the event and shoot as many feature bikes as I could during the event to collect usage fees when the event feature and bike features were published in the magazine. The more I shot the more I would get paid in theory. So I gladly shot the bikes they wanted for their publication.


I was finding that the bikes they told me to shoot at smoke out east were getting shot by other photographers at west and used over my shots mostly likely because the other photographers were doing it for free or less pay than me. I understand that there are photographers out there that shoot bikes as a hobby while maintaining a solid job and I respect that but if an editor asks you (hires you) to shoot a bike it's understood that they will publish the shots you have taken of that bike.


The issue he mentioned was not actually a monthly magazine issue…. it was a calendar. I was never contacted about this or even sent a copy. I found out about it through friends that had seen it. These calendars were being sold for a decent amount of change and it was used as a tool to advertise/promote their Magazine. So I sent an invoice for the usage of my images in that Calendar. This is the series of emails between The Horse Staff and myself from almost two years ago. They weren’t very happy about the invoice so I reverted to what was pounded into my head from the time I started my education until the time I finished. I was willing to work something out but wholeheartedly knew it wasn’t going to be an option.

From: Josh Kurpius [mailto:joshkurpius@hotmail.com]

Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 3:38 PM

To: The Horse

Cc: joshkurpius@hotmail.com

Subject: Invoice for calendar

Invoice for calendar.

----------------------------------------

From: -------@comcast.net

To: joshkurpius@hotmail.com

Subject: RE: Invoice for calendar

Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 22:08:01 -0400

Josh

How did you come up with $2,000.00? Most of the shots were out takes from features I paid you for already. I think only one was not from a paid feature.

The Horse

-----Original Message-----

From: Josh Kurpius [mailto:joshkurpius@hotmail.com]

Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 4:52 PM

To: The Horse

Subject: RE: Invoice for calendar

Horse,

I am a freelance photographer. If you would like to use my images, you will be charged according to how they are used. This is the reason why you are invoiced as my photos were published. I am by no means selling you the "rights" to own that particular published photo or set of photographs. I fully understand that you may not be aware of copyright laws and the industry standards for usage rights. Unfortunately, we do not have a contract that allows you to have unlimited usage of my images. In short, photographers are paid per usage unless there is a "buyout" of the images or a "work for hire" contract signed. As the Freelance photographer, I retain the copyright to all my images. I have been understanding in the past about the reoccurring publication of my "George the Painter" image and flaming burnout photograph you use to advertise "The Smoke out" event. However, when my images are used in a separate published form (i.e. the calendar) for which you collect additional revenue, I must protest. At this point you have stepped out of the editorial and into a commercial venue. In the future, I would suggest that you draw up a contract for your contributors to sign in order to avoid confusion. I would also suggest that you notify photographers when you plan to reprint their work or when you wish to obtain further usage rights. I' m sure this was an honest mistake.

However, I felt that the issue needed to be addressed to clarify my rights and prevent you from running into similar issues with future contributors. Most magazines buy one-time usage rights (including web and electronic media) and have exclusive publishing rights for up to three months for a feature and one year for a cover. As for the $2000.00 for the use of my images in the calendar..... I calculated this amount from the very low end of my commercial rates, which was based on the number of images you used in the calendar. I feel this amount is very fair.

Please contact me so we can figure this out in a manner that works well for the both of us. I appreciate your time and consideration concerning this matter.

Thanks-

Josh

----------------------------------------

From: ------@comcast.net

To: joshkurpius@hotmail.com

Subject: RE: Invoice for calendar

Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 21:44:37 -0400

Josh

First of all, I don't need you take on the law. In fact, I find that very insulting and won't comment any further but to say this: Sue me. I've had it with your whiny attitude and constant complaining. Sue me and show me how copy righted stuff works...

I'll send everything I have back to you and don't bother me again...

The Horse

So that’s how I left it. I never bothered him again and shifted my work towards other magazines in the same bloodline of motorcycling. I didn’t seek the money because I was just thankful for The Horse being the magazine that made my life what it is today. It’s been a fucking blast! I’ve learned a lot from this experience….. Communication is key…. and the rails need to be straight before you roll down the track. I wish I could still contribute to the magazine that got my wheels turning as well as to help me grow closer to my father but I figured I wouldn’t Kick The Dead Horse

And what is it any of Ralph's business if I enjoy the company of men?






Over and out. Enough of this..... let the good times roll.

44 comments:

WisconsinWillard said...

Wow, that's ummm, wow. Sucks things went down that way.

T1 said...

wow that's heavy. i have to say Fuck'em. the horse influenced me in the same way man, they dissapointed the hell outta me every since i went to the smoke out last year, it's goin down hill son!

Wes Drelleshak Photography said...

Great post Josh....You dont need to do work for someone that doesnt respect your talent...In the past i was considering sending some work there way, so glade I never did.I will stick to people that call me BACK!

Cortez said...

A hammer is a tool. Hammer is a tool. The magazine hasn't been relevant to me in the past year or so. If that's the way he's going to treat his contributors, well as T1 says, "Fuck'em." Maybe he'll buy a shirt with arms on them with the money he saved from not paying you. I'll spend my money on DicE, GK, and Sideburn, thank you very much.

Grease Monkey said...

Hate that you got screwed, but the last image from Salisbury is fucking awesome. Our crew still laughs about spotting those everywhere.

Tim O'Keefe said...

Very well put!

Bad Monkey Motorworks said...

Haha. I've still got one of those stickers somewhere. Like Grease Monkey said, we got a good laugh out of seeing those all over Salisbury that year. The business side of this thing can be pretty twisted sometimes.

cro said...

Dude,I haven't bought a Horse mag in YEARS!!!

Heroin said...

I gave up my subscription last year when I sensed a change in the wind. Hammer's better than all of us. All his fresh tattoos and canned tan points to the fact he's better. I'm embarrased that I ever believed. Keep up the good work Josh and I'll see ya at county line. I've got a new hero.

lifeisfuct-diekruzen HEAVY KLOTHING said...

it all went down hill after David Snow left the scene. Snow kept the underground alive for years,just for the love of it.

davexherr said...

very consistent of the "im a bad ass tough guy biker" fake attitude he pours into every issue. like heroin said hes better than all of us. fuck it dude, lets go bowling.

Mitch said...

harshin' my mello, man.

寶貝別哭 said...

你的部落格很棒,我期待更新喔........................................

MKasianchuk said...

Glad to see you are spot on in terms of photographers rights and publisher/photographer relationships and etiquette. It's disappointing that your very polite and reasonable explanation of why you deserve further compensation for the use of your images was so rudely responded to. Too many magazines get away with this bullshit. If you are not already a member of the American Society of Media photographers I suggest you become one. They have funds specifically for legal fees to defend freelance photographers who may not be able to afford it themselves. I respect your decision to leave well enough alone with a magazine that launched your career, but I hope that if this happens in the future you take legal action. Ride on!

burrito said...

that magazine is a joke dude, not worth it, shitty bikes and shitty dudes

Ha-milton said...

Ask Frank Kaisler -(namedrop)- about the horse, your pain sounds all to familiar to me. What a shit rag that magazine has become....

Johan said...

Fuck 'em. They're horse shit.

Michael said...

Just wanted to make a correction to something you said... The Horse did NOT make your life what it is today. That magazine is dead and gone. This one is just using the brand name.

sethro said...

..well put josh, in every way..i had hoped our talk on the phone would spawn some sort of action and im glad to see that it did..HUMMER..thats his name right?? has always seemed to have a terrible disposition..and i agree with all that have said that their rag has fell off the past year or so..the bikes they feature as of late seemed to be played out throwbacks to what was cool a few years back..(with very few exceptions)..havent seen any "timeless bikes" in some time..makes me sad, wish i could support a michigan based company..

SDJose said...

Very sad. My in-laws purchased a sub for my birthday last year. I love my in-laws but have been disappointed with the new Horse. Hammer's articles have nothing positive to read, its just a way for him to bitch and moan about his life. Most of the bike features suck. I won't be renewing my sub. especially when there are much better mags out there.

B Harlow said...

It's amazing how far a little bit of class will get you, not to mention raw natural talent. Good for you for being the better MAN in this ugly scenario. Josh, I got a pretty good feeling your gonna leave a far bigger mark in this world than the other fella, but hey whats a ton of friends, fun, miles and respect worth. Obviously not much to a guy in sleeveless tees and white running shoes.

known random said...

i still flip through it in the bookstore to see if theres anything new from nelson, chopperdave, or GTP. but then i put it back on the rack and spend my 6.99 on a tank of gas so i can go ride.

Nelson said...

Friend of mine emailed me regarding your post so here I am. That's a real bummer. Sorry that you had a bad experience with them Josh.

Also, I'd like to give you all a different view of things about The Horse: I've been on staff with them doing regular features for 7 years now. It's gone without a hitch 99.9% of the time and I have to admit I've been pretty happy with them.

Hope there's room left to work things out.

E Allard said...

The horse has gone from being about cycles to just bitching, take for instance the four pages of GTP bitching about his back. That is just one example of the direction that mag has been going the last few years. A friend who shoots for BSH in UK dealt with the same type of issues with The Horse. Fuck em

Kid Kurpius said...

Thanks guys. The idea of this post was to re-align the facts of what happen between myself and The Horse publication. It was not intend to bash or talk shit about anyone who contributes to The Horse magazine because in truth there are some very talented and big hearted people involved with this publication. Although I haven't read the magazine in quite sometime I feel the attitudes expressed are not my own. I'm more about riding and having a good time with friends rather than worrying about what kind of bike they ride.

Allard..... George The Painter is a really good guy if you actually know him. He has ridden more miles and lived a harder life than most of us will ever know. He ain't no spring chicken anymore so he has altered and switched around the way he goes about riding.... but most importantly still rides.

Nelson.... for the short time I was involved with the Horse it was great. Some things got switched around in management and communication should have been greater on both ends. There was a misunderstanding and I tried to work it out in the most professional manner I could think of and was rejected of that. This is by no means an attack on the publication or anyone involved with the publication. I really respect you as a person and wish you the best. But when some one informs me that another person is calling me a "whining faggot ass" and "Fucking little cry baby" all I can do is lay down some solid facts and let people establish their own opinions of my character.

Known Random.... Nelson, Chopper Dave, GTP, Charlie The Nomand, Fab Kevin.... this list goes on.... are all outstanding human beings and I have the utmost respect for what every one of them is doing.

MKasianchuk..... Thanks. You know photographers rights and probably have had some dealing in situations such as these. I have found that the motorcycle community is an intimate community and word travels fast. I love motorcycles and photography is something that allows me to be more involved in it. I wish everyone the best. By me going after a little money would do me no good in this community. I just want to stay on a friendship level with everyone.

Davexherr…. My Bowling shoes are ready to go.

Tim O’Keefe….. thanks

Grease Monkey….. I thought that was a Pro Hammer sticker…. He did.

Cortez….. Ever since I started shooting for the mags the romance disappeared. I guess it sucks to know too much. But the mags you mention still do it for me.

Wes….. Get them rails straight before you roll down them..... I should take my own advise.

T1…. Yeah I was disappointed…. The Horse was so influential to my life. I wish it were still a part of my life. Respect will bring you far in life. I wish the best for the The Horse and the truth is they sell a large number of magazine. They lead on the news stands….. so they are definitely doing something right. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I hope that in the future The Horse magazine will spark my romance for custom motorcycles again. Times are tuff and all we can do is make the best with what we have.

So ride what you’ve got and lets forget all of this nonsense. Find a sunset and ride into it with your best friends. That’s what it is all about anyway.

Thanks, Josh

THE JUDGE said...

1. Those stickers are the best. The one in the Salisbury Waffle House was classic.
2. The horse will never be what it was. Hammer and Englishman use it to pick up black chicks and have others build bikes for them while they take the credit. That mag has gone down hill. Now they run stock bikes in the back and guys on baggers getting features. Sucks. They are selling out to make a buck.

georgethepainter said...

Hey guys's relax. I understand that things got screwy with this but it's business I guess. Josh is a great guy and I consider him a good friend, Hammer is a strong willed determined man with more years in the publishing game then most of you know. I am not saying anything either way on the situation but this is actually something that should be dropped. Out of all the comments on this page I'll bet no one that has posted one has spent any time in the publishing game for an extended time.
This is a very cut throat game and misunderstandings will happen and feelings will get hurt. Josh knows this and has handled all this with grace and like a man. Hammer is an icon in this feild and has been with the Horse from the beginning and for me he commands my unrelenting respect. The internet is a breeding ground for discontenet...don't become infected. It's all about the bikes and the life that it contails...good or bad this is as good as it gets and it's never been better!
Enough internet bashing and kick start those sleds and ride. Nothing matters when you're splittin' lanes and gettin' it all off your back...let's give that a try. The biker Rockstars are all gone...let's let the egos leave with them...GET ON THOSE SLEDS AND RIDE!...enough said..."GTP"

gennaro said...

You're a class act, Josh.

Kevin "TEACH" Baas said...

I'd take a bullet for ya Josh Big Love

Capt. Cal said...

I haven't bought a horse mag in a long time either. The bikes and attitudes of that mag just don't fit me anymore. I feel privileged Josh that you graciously post your work here for all to see. Your one talented motherf***er. Sometimes you get it good, sometimes you don't. Keep on snappin those pictures man. I'll be lookin forward to the next.

Larry said...

Josh...I've never met you, but I really admire your work and I love your ride!!!...As Gennaro said, you've shown here that you are a class act, and I really hate to see this kind of thing happen...Hopefully, someday it will work itself out, benefiting everyone...

The best of luck to you..I hope our paths cross someday...

Larry in MD

Allen said...

I've been done with that rag for over a year now.

DAVEY RIOT said...

With the exception of GTP and Richie Pans art I have had no reason to buy it. They reviewed the Kicker hardknock bobber for fucks sake. I understand business is business but to start name calling is outta line especially if you've been in the publishing game for years. With age comes grace and obviouosly "hammer" has not picked up on that. I wish I read this before I went out and bought the newest issue. (I will miss readnig GTP's contributions) But I would rather invest in the smaller publications. If a horse goes lame they shoot it, something I think they need to start thinking about. Josh you took the high road and I'm sure you'll stay on it. As always I look forward to seeing your work wherever it may be and if we ever cross paths I will shake your hand and buy you a couple beers.

WorD said...

Josh is my friend and my brother... his reputation is impecable and without question he a total class act.. I am honored to be his friend.. so solid... let's be clear... if he said it... then its so... integrity check mother fuckers...hope that was clear

besides I cant read...I was just lookin at the pictures..

WorD

lee said...

mate a a photographer myself your dead fuckin right twats always trying it on stealing fuckin stuff you create, as for trying to get paid for post production photoshop time/work fuck me like trying to get bolld outa a stone. fuck them. Shit sorry guess it touched a nerve. ride safe mate.

Richiepan said...

Josh - sorry shit went down that way. As an artist I know how it feels to see your stuff published in a place that you are not being conpensated for. I dont know what happened here but wish it had gone down differently. in my opinion The magazine lost the best Photographer/Artist the motorcycle world has to offer (for what ever reason) . Ill see you on the road!

Tony d. said...

who likes dinosaurs?!?!

Wes Drelleshak Photography said...

Wakeup call...Horse... your past customers are speaking on why they dont buy the magazine anymore...
Josh,thanks for the advice.

grant said...

Keep on Keepin on. THis buisness can be a tough one. sometimes it's tough to make a living doing what you love. If we were all smart we'd start shooting puppies or naked chicks...chopper dave is onto something...see you this summer

mind pill said...

josh...i want to know..... can WE be friends..... hang out, have long walks on the beach at sunset. i just want to do fun things with you, no to you. let`s be buddies. bye buddy!

gary griffin said...

yup...
well written, josh.
thbc never paid me for 2 features.
i'm done.
life lessons and all...

g.

Lonnie C. said...

Several thoughts come to my mind, Josh, when I read through your post. First, in every similar case where these "misunderstandings" occur, it is all because there was never a written contract laying out the responsibilities of each party. So this is in effect a learning experience for you.
Second, that being said, The Horse BC has been in business for quite a few years now and should be professional enough to have established such a contract of their own so that their staff does not have to get involved in addressing unnecessary issues. And this is truly unnecessary.
This leads to the third concern, which is the truly unprofessional, in fact childish, manner in which Hammer handled your requests for compensation you felt due you. There are ways in which to deal with such a situation and cursing someone in an internet blog is not the way to deal with it. The money he gave you was NOT out of the kindness of his heart. Since he wanted something from you in return, it was an "advance" and should have been deducted from the amount paid to you for your work. So, he figures he owns the work you submitted. And without a contract, someone dealing with him has no grounds to sue or even request additional compensation. Hammer obviously knows that and chooses to flaunt that in a blatantly boorish manner.
All that being said, keep in mind the following:
Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a habit and based on the other comments, this is a habit. Deal with The Horse BC accordingly.

jeffro said...

Josh, your images are standouts in an industry obsessed with regurgitating the same awful aesthetics over and over. As everybody else has said..their loss. Very true. But you know that. In response to some of the defense of hammer, and as a photographer, and part of the publishing industry for a long time, hammer is completely wrong. Not only is it impossible for him to write a grammatically correct response to a serious business matter, he fails to recognize there are "laws" in this arena. As you said, look up image copyright laws. There is a whole division of our government dedicated to this offense. If he is such a great editor, maybe he should get his pants sued off to make him actually have to use his brain for something other than spewing elementary school insults. If one of the editors i have been associated with, used images without permission, and told the contributor to fuck off, they probably wouldn't be able to get a job at any self respecting publishing house, let alone an outhouse, where they might be better suited for employment. And i would also pose as a rhetorical question to hammer, would you deem it acceptable for your clients to steal Horse Magazine off the shelves or would you rather they pay for it? So there you go..another vote for the horse being a cut rate magazine, and i say that not as a jab to some of the previously mentioned contributors who are stand up individuals, but to the ignorant "editor" of said publication.
Hope all is well josh, and hope to run into you again somewhere soon on the road.
jeffro.

Sergio said...

that's bullshit. I called dibs on that stripper first. that's how I feel about that. Oh yeah, karma is a bitch, for those who insult good Americans.