A London, UK photojournalist has launched an app he hopes will help photographers retain an element of control over their copyrighted work when posting photographs online.

A London, UK photojournalist has launched an app he hopes will help photographers retain an element of control over their copyrighted work when posting photographs online.

Marksta is an app developed by John D McHugh, a photojournalist who has shot extensively in Afghanistan. Currently a freelancer, McHugh has filed for The Associated Press, The Guardian and has held a staff position at Agence-France Presse. Marksta allows users to quickly and easily embed a watermark onto their photographs straight from their iPhones.  

From Olivier Laurent for the British Journal of Photography:

"I developed the Marksta app because I was tired of people stealing my work on the web," says Marksta's founder, John D McHugh, a photojournalist best known for his work in Afghanistan. "I often work in incredibly dangerous situations to show the world the stark realities of war and revolution. I can't describe how frustrating it is to find my images online without any credit or byline.”

Rather than fight what can't be fought, he says, "I've tried to adapt my thinking to the cold hard reality that as soon as I post a photograph online it will be copied, shared and posted around the world. If I want people to know it's mine, whether for payment or just kudos, I see no way other than to write my name on it."

I downloaded Marksta shortly after its launch yesterday (it is in the App Store right now for free, though it will soon be a paid app), and was able to add a watermark to a photo of mine from a recent vacation in a matter of minutes. As you’ll see, the next time I wish to do so, I’ll be able to do it in a mere seconds.


Marksta isn’t the only watermark app in the Apple App Store, but it may be the first created by a photojournalist.

As for the response to the app so far? McHugh tweeted today:

For more on the Marksta app, check out the British Journal of Photography's post and interview with McHugh.