I really wanted to use this photo as the cover photo in the website.
The message it demonstrated to me was that NLA works with smart, independent people that excel individually to achieve common goals.
The second photo of one person helping the other up the mountain was intended to demonstrate that we provide assistance and fill gaps so that the we can enable and unlock the potential of the smart, independent people we work with.
I couldn’t find the rights to the first photo. I searched everywhere. I searched in Google Images, I searched in ThinkStock. I became pre-occupied with the importance of this photo, of the image and the idea that I wanted to present.
I was at a crossroads. It’s not right to steal an artist’s photo. Artists are a group that are often exploited, under-appreciated, under-recognized and under-paid. Someone somewhere stood in the freezing cold to capture that shot. They deserved compensation or at least credits for the photo and I couldn’t find it.
Posting the photo without permission seems like a small risk and it probably is. I see images used commercially that I know are not available for commercial use. When I see it, I recognize it as wrong. I judge the people who used those images and I shake my head at organizations that allow it.
Could I now allow myself to be in that category — the apathetic category?
After some time, I realized that there are many great photos I could use properly that would convey a similar message. I finally chose the three figures standing on a mountain top, independently. We’ve received several compliments on the imagery.
Corporate values are important. They are the guideposts that help employees make decisions when they are at the crossroads and there’s no one around to give permission. Sound values create agility in problem solving and enable speed to market with new products and services. Authentic values attract and retain high caliber teams.
At NLA two of our core values are ‘maximizing individual contributions’ and assuring ‘fair compensation’ for those we work with. Stealing a photo from an artist is not the right thing to do. Thoughtlessly using a photo without permission is not the right thing to do.
You might be asking why the photo is presented in this blog? Is it ok to showcase work in a blog?
It’s ok. Blogs are not designed for commerce but to share information. It’s a shade of gray but an important distinction.
Solid corporate values will empower employees and leaders to make the best possible decisions with the information they have available to them, with the purest intent they can at the time in our fluid and ambiguous world.