Justin Terveen Captures Lightning, Loses Money

Photo by Justin Terveen. (And, yes, I got permission to run it.)
By Justin Terveen. (And, yes, I got permission to run it.)

Early this morning I was procrastinating and avoiding doing my weekly Leading Off. While on Facebook, I came across Justin Terveen’s composite of some of the lightning from last night’s storm. I wanted to include the photo in Leading Off, so I shot Terveen a message asking if I may. He asked me to link to it instead of posting it. I didn’t see his response in time, and just posted Leading Off without his image.

Then I woke up this morning to find his composite everywhere. It’s all over Facebook, all over Twitter, and all over the blogs and news sites. I later got a message from Terveen telling me I can use the photo however I’d like because others were taking it without asking. I asked him how that made him feel. “I lost money,” he typed. “But at the same time, I don’t want to be too petty about it. A shot like this is bound to go viral, and for that I should be honored and thankful (and I am), but people need to remember their manners.”

Terveen is great to upload his photos, giving us the option of bigger files. He never puts watermarks on his art. Please don’t make him rethink how he does his work. Please do as he says and remember your manners. (And check out his work here.)


  • Albert

    How about posting the
    Link to his site?

  • Amy S

    I think his art will end up as some of the finest ever produced in Dallas.

  • TLS

    Just spent a boatload of time going through his site. Beyond gorgeous.

  • It’s not just manners. It’s the law. Posting those images without his consent is illegal. If a news organization did it, they should be compelled to pay Justin.

  • ernest t bass

    A superb visual reminder to unplug appliances, and especially electronics, when lightning looms.

  • Justin

    Does Justin offer a way to buy prints? I’ve never seen anything on urbanfabric.com indicating so and when I used to inquire in the Unfair Park comments when one of his pics was posted nobody ever seemed to know. If he ever does I’ll gladly hand over some money to be able hang some of shots on my wall (I’ve never just downloaded the bigger versions and had them printed out as that seemed kind of dickish if Justin’s never given consent)

  • Justin: He does sell prints. I have one in my apartment. Just send him a message through Facebook or an email, and he’ll get back to you on it.

  • Peterk

    TimR wrote “It’s not just manners. It’s the law. Posting those images without his consent is illegal. If a news organization did it, they should be compelled to pay Justin.”

    well well check out this story

    Newspaper Agrees to Pay Woman $400 After Sparking Debate Over Fair Use
    The Portland Press Herald has agreed to fork over $400 to a woman named Audrey Ann Slade after its use of one of Slade’s photos sparked a furious fair use debate online. The paper published a story last week about Reverend Robert Carlson, a minister who committed suicide recently after being accused of abusing young boys. Specifically, the piece reported on the fact that Slade’s photos proved that Carlson continued to engage in on-campus events after resigning abruptly in 2006 from his position as chaplain.


  • Shafted

    Money matters. If it didn’t your company would pay you more.
    So the shutterbug should hire a mouthpiece and codkick anybody who stole his work.
    Nobody else was out in that crap risking their lives to get a Ben Franklin flies-a-kite shot.

  • Lexie

    Ditto what Krista said. He’s a talented, humble, and generous artist…all we have to do is ask. Can’t believe folks are taking advantage of his generosity of spirit.

  • jackie dale pinson

    I don’t remember that 6 lightening from the left. I think he might have photoshopped that one in.

  • DGirl

    Justin is such an incredibly gifted photographer. Let’s make him a millionaire too.

  • ket

    It’s a tough balance for an artist who is locally popular but not hugely popular. Any struggling artist will acknowledge that obscurity is a far bigger problem than piracy, but then you hit a tipping point and all of that changes.

    The most effective way to fight piracy is to make it really easy to pay for the rights. Most people are lazy, not evil. A link below each picture for quick and easy licensing terms (one for online use another for print use and then maybe a choice of physical prints) with fees that are reasonable and maybe people will shell out their credit cards instead of just stealing your work. You shouldn’t have to do this, people should ask. But people don’t. Sad, but true.

    (If you’ve read The Pirates Dilemma then you will know what a hack I am. None of this is original to me.)