I agree that he is likely an employee for work for hire purposes. A 4 year stint at the beck and call of the company suggests it. He uses the term independent contract to describe another collaborator but not to describe himself, which is pretty telling. No contract suggests the employer didn't need one because he was an employee, and that there likely was some sort of employee agreement, even if only the paychecks and stubs. Wonder if he got a W-2 or a 1099? I am guessing a W-2.
I was never an employee of the company, I was an independent contractor. I never even received a tax return for any of the years I was working with this company.
As for the pay stubs, I may be able to request them through my bank but from what I recall, the checks were paid out from personal accounts.
I've also been using the photos for personal use for the last 4 years, without any objection from the company but then again, my use was just for promotion of my company and not for commercial use.
Thank you for your advice!