My February Newsletter is showing as "Not Delivered."
As I work on the March Newsletter, please enjoy this edition, but excuse the tardiness.

Thank you once again for sticking with me and supporting the arts in Philadelphia.

Where On Earth Is Vivian Maier?

I used the excuse of a city shut down in celebration of the Super Bowl Champs, to put this newsletter together, but to also catch up on some documentaries I haven’t seen in a while.

Today’s feature was the documentary by John Maloof and his spectacular auction purchase of plastic storage bins belonging to an amateur photographer, Vivian Maier.

In 2010, I was among the 1,495 backers that pledged a total of just over $105K towards this film that billed itself as unraveling "the discovery of 100,000 negatives from a mysterious photographer that shocked the world of photography."

I won’t give too much away, as you can search Google for her, but the documentary is well done and her work is spectacular. Along with her history and interviews with people that knew this New York City nanny, the doc also touches on the issue of art, rights, and the deceased.

FInding Vivian Maier is currently streaming on Netflix and is a must see for street photographers, enthusiasts, and collectors alike.

Michael Penn's "Under The Bridge At Night" photograph

Thank you for allowing me to write to you once a month, and share my news, opinions, and experiences. To further thank you, I’ve created a coupon code for 30% off any print in

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge portfolio.

Take a look at the collection by clicking HERE and using CODE: BFB2018 at checkout to take 30%

If you have any questions regarding sales or gifting these prints, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at

Shop for Prints→

Copyright Infringement.

This has been a trying 6 months for me ever since I performed some routine reverse image searches on a few of my more iconic images. One of my best selling prints is called City View, taken from the south walkway of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and looking West towards the city with rays of sunlight piercing through ominous looking autumn clouds.

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"City View" by Michael Penn

City View was the first image I searched for and was shocked to see a local venue using this image in its advertising. I entertained the idea of “lawyering up” after continuing my search, finding it used a few more times.

The next image I searched for was Philadelphia 471, and this one is clearly an iconic image- celebrated by collectors, critics, and art writers all over the web. I love that this image has moved so many people, and then I started to see it used on websites that offer applied arts services. Imagine my shock. Fellow creatives, stealing artwork.

Back to City View, and the catalyst for this article. A vendor on AMAZON was selling copies of my image printed on canvas. Amazon responded by taking down the item but when questioned about damages and reimbursement for any sales, I was met with the same automated email, “Thank you for reporting copyright infringement.”

Long story, short. I was led to believe, over 10 years ago, if you take a photo, it is yours without the need for copyright forms or applications. This is true, but if you want to be rewarded financially for the theft of your work, you must have it legally copyrighted through the US Copyright Office.

I began applying right away and had to dip into my work fund to pay hundreds for the processing. The Ben Franklin Bridge portfolio is taking the longest to be copyrighted.

Google has taken steps to reduce this burden on artists by adding a query option to exclude images that are not in the public domain. At this time, I can see no errors with my work being included incorrectly, so that’s a start. Thank you Google.

I sent out invoices to the other offenders and was ignored by all, except one. A sincere apology, an explanation, and praise for my work accompanied a check made for the amount invoiced. Why can all people be like that?

To Patreon Or Not.

There’s another new crowdfunding website and this one is geared towards the creative and represents itself as “A MEANINGFUL REVENUE STREAM” where “fans pay you a subscription amount of their choice in exchange for exclusive experiences & behind-the-scenes content.”

While this would seem like a dream come true, it is mostly used by Youtubers who have since been demonetized for violating the video services terms of service. So the search continues for a true arts’ based benefactor service for those who want to support artists and collect while sticking to a budget.

I’m including a PayPal subscription button in this email, if anyone would like to become my patron. No amount is too little, and the money will go directly towards living expenses and continuing my work. Exclusive perks will be rewarded whenever possible and I thank you in advance, for considering your support.

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Michael Penn Photography
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