I have noticed this sponsored post in my Facebook feed about a dozen times over the last couple of weeks. I'm sure it is because many of my friends have liked it, or maybe because I'm a veteran, or perhaps for entirely different reasons, but what I am sure of is that it is not because I posted my photograph.
It is almost always a surprise when I come across one of my photographs in print or online, especially when it is used to promote or advertise something unrelated to the original intent of the photograph.
In this case, I had several reactions.
Cool! One of the reasons I'm in this business is because I like having my photos seen by the public, so whenever they're published, it somehow validates that I'm doing my job well.
What? Why is a photograph taken in 2012 in Southern Pines, N.C., being used by Task & Purpose to urge people to sign a petition telling the Veteran's Administration to approve the cost of service dogs to treat mental health issues? This photograph was taken on assignment for the U.S. Government and then publicly released, therefore, restrictions are few in who and how it can be used, but it still makes me wonder.
Wrong? I know that many times photographs are used to illustrate concepts or support articles that have no direct connection to the original photograph. And that is the case here. The photograph is actually of a military working dog being trained to detect improvised explosive devices.
Ultimately I don't own the photographs I take for the Navy and can't control where they are used once released. And in this instance, I can't even argue with the cause or that the photograph doesn't work as file art. However, a quick search on DOD image sites that the public has access to shows plenty of photographs, many better, that would support this plea for signatures, so why this photo.
I'll just go back to my original reaction. Cool!
*Original caption reads: SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (Jan 18, 2012) Grady, an improvised explosive device detector dog (IDD), waits for a command from his Marine trainer during an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-hosted IDD 2.0 project technical demonstration. IDD 2.0 is funded by the Joint IED Defeat Organization and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)