I've recently been offered a job where the client wanted, to use a photograph of a famous person for the cover of a book, but could not find the copyright holder of the image. He decided to commission me to do a painting for the cover instead. He likes the photo and it is very distinctive.
There's two things I'm concerned about.
One is the copyright issue. I'm sure that by using other photos as reference, I can come up with a new image, similar but different, from the image he wants, but I'm worried that what he wants will still infringe. I'm right in thinking that a painting of a photo is a copy or a derivative and thus, illegal and immoral right?
The second issue is with likeness. I can get a likeness, (I believe) but I'm not sure of my ability to create a likeness without copying directly.
Any thoughts on this? I'm considering declining to be on the safe side.