Danny Brown Thinks He Doesn’t Need To Give Photographers Credit

It started off innocently enough.

Detroit rapper Danny Brown posted a picture to Instagram. The photo had been captured by Howl & Echoes photographer Michelle Grace Hunder at his concert in Melbourne last week.

Howl & Echoes has become increasingly vigilant about artists posting our photos without credit, following a recent issue where A$AP Rocky didn’t just post one of our images without credit, but actually used it to promote a new song. Each time we find uncredited photos, we either ask the artists’ publicist or management to add one in, or sometimes we go to the artist direct via social media. Nine out of every ten times, a credit is added – occasionally begrudgingly, usually apologetically. Even A$AP’s team eventually apologised and added one in.

Not Danny Brown.

Read more: Music piracy isn’t okay and neither is photo piracy. Stop stealing our images.

Hunder stated that this wasn’t the first time Brown had used one of her photos without credit. Not willing to let it slide again, we decided to ask him.

He follows us on Twitter, so I got down in the DMs:


He then immediately deleted the photo, unfollowed us and our photographer across all social media mediums.

He could’ve just said no if it was that big of a deal. The time it took to respond, delete the image, find and unfollow us on socials surely took far more effort than just adding a credit.

A few hours later, the topic was picking up some traction on Twitter. Then, Brown posted the following:

Really? Reallllllllly?

Twitter was already going off last night, and by the time I woke up this morning it had already been picked up by at least one photography website, as well as a massive thread unfolding on Reddit. Pedestrian have also just posted all of Brown’s hilariously OTT deleted tweets, during which he somehow proceeds to challenge Project U’s Nic Kelly to a fight in Sydney this afternoon.

To clear it up for those who have been speculating: The photo was taken at Danny Brown’s concert. Hunder and Howl & Echoes had been approved by Live Nation to shoot the show. It’s not like it was an unwarranted paparazzi shot. These images are approved by the touring company and no doubt contractually agreed to by Brown and his management ahead of the tour.

We have removed the photo gallery from our website, so for the record, this is the image in question:

Here's a damn good photo of Danny Brown taken by Michelle Grace Hunder for Howl & Echoes

Here’s a damn good photo of Danny Brown taken by Michelle Grace Hunder for Howl & Echoes

I find it interesting and disappointing that so many people believe there’s no merit to photography and no need to credit photographers. Photography is as much an art form as anything else, and there’s as much copyright and ownership in photography as there is in music. Furthermore, most music photographers work completely for free. Often, a simple tag or credit can make all the difference in getting their work seen and attracting future work.

We’ve had a great response from the Australian hip-hop community. First, 360 explained why an artist can think that it’s okay to use photos without credit, but that he’s faced the consequences himself:

L-Fresh the Lion sent us the following statement:

It ain’t hard to tag a photographer in a post. It’s the least an artist can do to show an appreciation for the photographer’s work.

If you’re sharing their photo in the first place, it means you must like it. So credit the person who made that moment happen.
We all work together to make music accessible. Artists make the music, promoters help put on a show, venues host it, fans support by artists in so many ways, videographers with the visuals, and photographers documenting it all happening. The list goes on. We all work together to make it what it is so people can enjoy what we have to share.

Hau also had this to add:

Not crediting a photographer is mad disrespectful. I realise some artists may not be familiar with the protocol, but once you have been hipped to the game, you should act accordingly. How hard is it to credit someone for their hard work? It’s like if a producer makes you a beat, you release the song and you don’t credit them for producing the song. That’s some sucker shit!”

Coda Conduct chimed in on Twitter:


While Briggs added the following words of wisdom:

Look. Danny Brown is just plain wrong in his thinking that it’s okay to not credit photographers. That’s not how it works at all, and he should know this by now, considering he’s well into his second decade in the music industry. This issue seriously got out of hand. We’re glad that so many people are now discussing photo crediting and copyright as it’s a huge, ongoing issue for music photographers in this country and no doubt beyond, and hopefully this can help to clear up confusion for those who aren’t aware of how important this it.

What’s disappointing is that this issue has spiralled out of control, and that the main focus has now been this weird Twitter fight between Brown and Kelly. While that’s hilarious for sure, it’s totally missing the point of this issue. It’s upsetting that so many publications and outlets, including triple j, have chosen to focus on this issue while almost entirely ignoring the main point about photography, but I can’t exactly say I’m surprised.

Don’t be like Danny. Artists, credit the photographer just like you would a sample or literally any other kind of creative output.

Image: Michelle Grace Hunder/Twitter