An Open Letter to Richard Prince from Photographers Everywhere

May 29, 2015

Topic: Copyright
Time Investment: 8 Minutes
Suggested Product: Ultimate Copyright Kit

Dear Richard,

You sneaky “artist” you. You’ve certainly been getting the Internet in a tizzy this past week, however you’ve been doing this for years, huh? Since the 1970’s you’ve been stealing other people’s work and using it to make money and a name for yourself.

Interesting. I just have some food for thought for you:

When you take an image from another artist, you take the tee ball shoes off someone’s grade-school son.  

When you alter an image, you rip a piece out of an artist’s heart.

When you blatantly insult those who stand up for their work, you are telling generations to come that it is okay to steal. To do the bare minimum while someone else does the work.


When you do these actions people care about their art, but they don’t care about you.

Your actions set a tone that demonstrates a sad slope that future generations are headed toward.  Instead of being a pinnacle of a good example, the Internet searches for your name to create a handbook that will help others ride off the backs of someone else. To not think for themselves. To not be more than a slug on a couch with access to works of others.

You are not a creator nor an inventor nor an innovator.

You’re an individual with no imagination, creativity or ethics. 

Patrick Cariou was right to come after you in 2008 and, quite frankly, the appeals court was wrong.  There was infringement.  Maybe not copyright by letter of law, but infringement on another individual’s creative process, their result and their value. 

Just because the courts may have sided with you on a few matters, it doesn’t make your actions right.  Taking another person’s work and adding a comment (re: Instagram photos) does not make you an artist. It makes you a thief.


I feel sorry for you that you have to steal from others to make a name for yourself.

You are no different than the sports icons who have been found guilty of steroids, and other illegal means.   These individuals upset the balance of their sport, such as you are doing for intellectual property and artists everywhere. 

Yet you seem to thrive on this.

Your public responses to outrage demonstrate there is way more wrong with you than just wanting to make some cash, a name or whatever your motivation for stealing images. You just don’t care about humanity. About being a respectable member of society.  


You care more about pot-stirring and theft than setting a positive example for generations to come.

Just remember: while you thrive on this drama – we artists LIVE on our work. Unlike you, who has no work to show. Just replications of another individual’s blood, sweat and tears.

For that, photographers don’t like you. Authors don’t like you.  The public, as a whole, couldn’t care less what happens to your “career”. I surely hope your mom approves of your actions, because right now, no one else does.

Bravo to SuicideGirls for their recent acts on devaluing your “art”.  How do you like it?


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