Disclosure: From mid spring through the fall, photography takes up the bulk of my time and ultimately provides 75 to 80 percent of my annual income. I’ve been a professional photographer for ten years now.
Given my métier, I have pretty strong feelings about people who market themselves as photographers but are so devoid of clients, chops, and originality that they are reduced to passing off the work of others as their own. I know: You wouldn’t think such pitiful miscreants exist in the age of Google Image Search and Tin Eye (’cause chances are, they’ll be found out!), but it’s true: there are hundreds, possibly thousands of fauxtographers out there who think nothing of stealing the work of more successful colleagues. These plunderers post the images online and falsely claim ownership to try and book jobs.
That jiggery pokery is damaging to three groups of people: The photographers who get ripped off; the clients of the thieves, who are deceived into thinking that the image maker they just hired is capable of delivering high-quality photos; and the original clients/models who appear in the photos, none of whom have given permission for their likenesses to be used by unknown third parties. It also threatens to taint the whole profession with a miasma of widespread dishonesty.
One indefatigable hero who keeps tabs on it all is Corey Ann, a gutsy blogger and bona fide photographer who runs a site called Photo Stealers. Corey Ann exposes image thieves with a minimum of words and a maximum of visual evidence as to where the photos originated.
She has just trained her sights on a miserable swindler called Temi Kennedy, an Oklahoma fauxtographer who operates under the business name By His Grace Photography. As you might guess from that lofty label, Kennedy loves to slather herself in Jesus sauce, remarking on her site that hers is a “down to earth and a God loving family,” and starting off her gallery section — rife with pilfered photos – with a Bible verse.
I mean, if she’s a Christian, she must be an honest person, right?
She isn’t, of course. Nor is she a halfway competent photographer, as evidenced by the fact that she had to steal images from colleagues to mask her own paltry talents.
When Kennedy is done pretending that the stolen photos were the work of hackers or an intern or her webmaster (the standard excuses trotted out by photo embezzlers caught with their pants down), her special relationship with God will probably ensure that a few tearful prayers will deliver the Almighty’s forgiveness.
Ain’t religion swell?
As I write this, Kennedy, or someone working with her, has already been yanking some of the evidence of her theft from the By His Grace website. But Temi Kennedy’s larceny is and will remain documented on Corey Ann’s site for all to see. God may choose to forget, but Google won’t.
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