SURF_PORN Instagram Account Guest Editor – Chris Burkard

This is a bit of an odd one, the latest post from surf_porn says:

I’m proud to announce that @chrisburkard will be driving @surf_porn account for the next 3 days ! #chrisburkard_surf_porn #guesteditor

I mentioned the surf_porn account in my best of Instagram post back in November 2012 (Chris Burkard’s account also featured), luckily I took a screen shot of the front page so I can tell you they had posted 344 photo’s and had 5413 followers, now the account has 938 posts and 48,075 followers.

Screen grab from the surf_porn account today
Screen grab from the surf_porn account today

When I plugged the account back then I said:

I’m almost reluctant to put this one in, whoever curates this feed has a pretty relaxed attitude to attribution, the photo’s are rarely credited which is frustrating for someone like me who wants to know more about the images and I can’t help wondering if the photographers would be exasperated to see their pictures randomly pop up out of context on an anonymous Instagram account.

It reminds me of the recent hubbub around the historyInPics twitter account, where photo’s are posted despite no credit being found or supplied whilst the creators get rich off the back of it.

Should someone be allowed to post an image they didn’t create with no credit? take the photo directly before the post announcing the guest editor for instance, it says “photo: unknown”.

I just spent 5 minutes looking into this image and can tell you it was shot by photographer Tom Carey, incidentally the crop that appears on the surf_porn page is no where near as good as the original photo, I’m sure Surfing magazine paid for the image before they ran it here:

So is it OK for whoever runs surf_porn to use this kind of photo to generate likes without asking, crediting or paying for it? my gut says no.

Is it OK for me to use someone’s photo’s on this site, always with a credit and a link to photographer and the original on line source (and most often used in the context of describing the shot)? well, obviously I think it is, but other people might not, what I do know is I have my real name and contact details prominently displayed on the site, so if anyone wants to get in touch about my use of an image it’s very easy.

Having a high profile surf photographer like Chris Burkard on board, even for a few days will certainly help legitimise this account, hopefully we’ll see more effort going into finding the photographer behind the shots after his stint as guest editor.

EDIT: Gaspard, who runs the surf_porn instagram account got in touch via the comments below, it’s good to see that there’s a human behind the account and that he understands my uneasiness, he was quick to respond when I e-mailed him too so at least there’s a contact point for anyone who wants to get in touch about the account, I’ll be on the lookout for more guest editors in the future.


  1. Hey Ben,

    Just read your article, I’m the guy behind @surf_porn account.
    I totally understand your statement about photos credits and everything. Sometimes it’s just so hard to find the photographer ! I spent more time than you think searching and searching for finding the man behind the photo.
    And sometimes, the shot is so good, so impressive that I can’t help myself putting it on surf_porn… This is the part you’re mad at me ;-)

    Now, a lot of photographer send to me directly their shots and it’s easier for me.
    The collab with Chris Burkard was a big success and I think it legitimate surf_porn.

    Shoot me an email if you want to speak:



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