How one little puddle made a big splash

by DaniGirl on April 20, 2012 · 9 comments

in Mothership Photography, Postcards from Manotick

It was a year ago this week that I took one of my favourite pictures of all time, Lucas jumping in the puddle.

125:365 Puddle jumper

We were on our way back to the house, having just walked the big boys to school. Remember how wet and rainy last April was? And I was going to try to keep Lucas out of the puddle as we walked by, but I had my camera with me (as always) and so I figured, what the heck, we’re not going anywhere but home. Let him have at it. And did he ever! I knew the second I clicked the shutter that it was a winner. Sometimes you just *know* when you’ve nailed the shot.

This photo is the closest I’ve ever come to going “viral”. It’s all over Pinterest and Tumblr, largely without my credit. Every now and then I do a google search on it, and recently found a Tumblr post where it has nearly 600 likes and reblogs. Oy! When I posted a comment on another blog that (mis)credited the Tumblr blog as the source, I wrote that in fact I was the original photographer, and the image is not only copyright but for license on Getty, and would she mind please removing it from her blog. To my surprise and utter delight, she asked my permission to buy the rights to the Web size, so she could keep the image in her blog post. How awesome is that?

This was photo was among the first set of images invited for license from Getty Images, and among my first sales, too. It’s sold four times now, as a matter of fact, earning me well over $100 in royalties. In fact, a fellow Getty Images contributor posted this comment on the Flickr photo just yesterday:

I’ve been looking at this image for months every time I’m at the checkout at my local sainsbury’s supermarket in the UK. I knew I’d seen the image on flickr somewhere and only realised it was yours when you posted in this months sales. It’s on a leaflet for some service they are offering. Have you seen the sainsbury’s use? If you haven’t i’ll pick up a leaflet next time I’m in and take a photo of it for you.

How fun is that? He’s just outside of Glasgow, Scotland (where my mom was born) and he’s kindly offered to send me a few copies of the pamplet next time he’s out doing his groceries. Edited to add: And here it is!

Found in the wild - Sainsbury's

But that’s not the most awesome thing that has come out of this silly, happy picture. Check THIS out! Last autumn, I received an e-mail from Brian Seed, a local painter and member of the Manotick Art Association. He had come across the picture I don’t even know how, and wrote me a lovely e-mail asking my permission to create a watercolour painting from it. Really, awesome or what?

But, I wasn’t sure if I could give him that permission. By licensing the picture through Getty, I gave them the right to decide who could or could not create a derivative work. I wrote a very apologetic e-mail, saying I wish I could have given the rights, and explaining the situation. To my delight, he replied that the fee was entirely reasonable and the next month there was the sale on my royalty statement.

Fast forward to today: Mr Seed sent me a quick note to let me know the painting is done, and will be featured in the Ottawa Watercolour Society juried show next week at St Brigids, and in next month’s Manotick Art Association annual show next month, if it doesn’t sell first. And he sent me a photo of the finished painting:

Puddle!WC

Is that not the most awesomest thing ever? I can’t even begin to express how delightful this is – such an honour, and such a lovely painting!

I have to admit, even though I’m annoyed at the unsourced use of this picture all over Pinterest and Tumblr and the rest of the Internet, I do love that the joyous abandon of the picture has so resonated with people. My lesson from all this? Take your camera with you EVERYWHERE, even on a rainy grey day on a route you’ve walked dozens of times before, because you never know where beauty and joy (and potential royalties!) might be waiting to leap out.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 angela ( angfromthedock ) April 20, 2012 at 7:43 am

wonderful:))))

2 Amy @ Muddy Boots April 20, 2012 at 8:05 am

That painting is AMAZING! Could you get a print?? Wouldn’t that be great hanging in Lucas’ room?

3 Mary V. April 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

Does Lucas get a cut of the royalties for his college and/or Lego fund? ; )

4 Chantal April 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

It is such a wonderful photo! Everyone can’t help but love it!

5 Sara April 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Awesome story! And I love the painting 🙂

6 Rebecca April 22, 2012 at 7:29 am

congrats!!

Wonderful painting and picture

7 Suzanne Price September 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hi I am a graphic design student and working on my final project. It’s a little mini book of optimism. It won’t be sold at all ever. It’s just for school. I have been using my own photography but I want a picture that illustrates joy in the rain. I love your photograph!!! It’s perfect!! May I use it for my school project?

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