Podcast: Photography, Art & Copyright with Eric O’Connell

In this episode, I talk to art and commercial photographer Eric O’Connell, who is also an associate professor of practice at Northern Arizona University. We talk about his work, about photography in general, his students, and of course copyright. O’Connell’s photo recently won Off the Clock 2021 Best in Show from American Photographic Artists (APA). Read interview here.

Visit Eric O’Connell’s website.

Leaning by chance that there were more than a few East Germans who had avidly adopted the American cowboy aesthetic, O’Connell began working in 2002 on a series of photographs and a short documentary film.

East German Cowboys series ©Eric O’Connell.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Connell lived with his parents and did a series of photographs with them, including this one below, which won Off the Clock 2021 Best in Show from American Photographic Artists (APA) in June of 2021.

Pandemic series. ©Eric O’Connell


  • 2:06 – How do you describe or think about your work?
  • 4:37 – Visual anthropology
  • 6:25 – German Cowboys Series
  • 8:50 – Native Americans & Heavy Metal series
  • 12:28 – Reactions to the German Cowboys
  • 16:44 – Pandemic (parents) series
  • 25:12 – How has commercial work changed?
  • 30:06 – Conversations with students about rights to their work.
  • 32:46 – Richard Prince Instagram Show
  • 34:59 – What is a derivative work of a photograph?
  • 38:07 – How much do you follow rights issues?
  • 41:25 – Lars was right.
  • 42:53 – Do your students intent to become professionals?
  • 45:49 – The work that goes into photographs
  • 53:02 – Authorship in photography

Lens photo by Bushko

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