Arts & Culture News

Gov. Abbott's Twitter Takes Dallas Photographer's Photo and Cuts Out His Credit

A photo by Dallas aerial, architectural and food photographer Joseph Haubert of the Dallas skyline showed up on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's Twitter feed with no mention or credit of Haubert's work.
A photo by Dallas aerial, architectural and food photographer Joseph Haubert of the Dallas skyline showed up on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's Twitter feed with no mention or credit of Haubert's work. Joseph Haubert Photography
Basic logic tells us that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott isn't the only person in control of his Twitter page. Social media is so vital to the political meat grinder that he's likely got a whole team of people scrutinizing every character before posting from his various online accounts.

That's what makes one of the his latest posts so bewildering. Actually, it's more about what was not posted on Abbott's page.

The governor posted a photo on Sunday of the downtown Dallas skyline on Easter evening. The photo showed the neon blue glow of the Bank of America Plaza and the pastel color "Happy Easter" message on the Omni Hotel. He also included a nice shoutout to the hotel about how "The Omni in downtown Dallas always does a fabulous job of lighting up its hotel."

Now what is literally wrong with this picture? The photo cropped out the copyright byline of the person who took it.
Screenshot from Twitter
"Wow. No credit. Thx Greg!" wrote photographer Joseph Haubert on his Facebook page remarking on the unauthorized use of his photo on Abbott's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Haubert, a photographer whose work has appeared in several Dallas publications and national outlets including USA Today and National Geographic Magazine, first posted his photo of the Omni's Easter greeting about four hours after Abbott's pages appropriated his photo. Abbott's photos cropped out the copyright symbol and Haubert's name in the lower left corner just under the blue and purple lit Reunion Tower. As of Monday afternoon, both pages still had the cropped version of Haubert's photo on the governor's Facebook and Twitter pages.

"I'm not upset," Haubert tells the Observer. "It's just annoying. Abbott should have his own PR department, and they should've caught that."

Haubert says he first learned about the governor's pages using his photo from his followers when "my phone got like a jillion messages from people."

"I've still got a lot of really nice people out there repping for me," Haubert says. "You never know who's following."

Thanks to the accessibility and sharing of images on the Internet, it's easier than ever for unauthorized photos to get used on websites and social media, Haubert says.

"Every time I post something, because I'm six years self-employed and my bread and butter is licensing images and selling prints and when you sell your work and see it does really well and people want to buy your prints but then other people reshare it and it's just one of those web images," Haubert says. "It takes a lot of business from some people. It happens to a lot of photographers and illustrators when someone takes away your imagination."

Unfortunately, Haubert says there isn't much he can do about it. Experience says it's hard to even get a correction when politicians don't ask if they can use the results of his work.

"This one guy in Irving used my stuff for a whole campaign," Haubert says. "He used all my images on his website and he had yard signs with my images as the backdrop. I sent him a cease and desist and apparently, he had a law background and said, 'You're harassing me.' It's not worth it with politicians. They seem to know how to manipulate the situation and turn it around. Plus, I try not to take a stance on politics." 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.