No, not the iconic Seattle hamburger joint, but real life jerks who have nothing better to do than harass you or attempt to “hire” you for a photo shoot.
It’s amazing that since the inception of the internet, how people have lost their sense of civility. Some have gotten outright rude for no other reason than because they can. And they even go out of their way in doing so.
So this blog is to the two lowlifes who would rather harass or attempt to steal from hard-working people than actually being productive to society.
Number One Douche of the Year:
A couple of weeks ago someone calling themselves Dan Monarch (firstname.lastname@example.org) e-mailed me asking if I was available to photograph their wedding and the reception. I was a tad excited.
He wanted to fly me from Seattle to San Ramon, Calif., to the Hotel Marriott where his “wedding” would take place. I just thought an overnight trip would be cool.
But something in the e-mails began bothering me so I read deep into his e-mails and concluded solely by the language it had to be a scam. Also, he kept asking me for contact information that was clearly visible in my e-mail signature. He also wanted personal info (bank account) and that’s when I drew the line.
Turns out I was right.
I actually called the hotel he said the reception and ceremony were at. The clerk directed me to their manager of events. What she said to me confirmed it was a scam: “We’ve had over a dozen photographers calling about this concerning the same person Dan Monarch.”
His last e-mail was the kicker:
Dear Paul Conrad,
The check for the initial payment will be mailed to you within 48 to 72hrs and we will
supply you with the shipment details (Tracking number) for the shipment. One more thing
concerning your flight and your hotel reservation/booking. A check of $3500 will be
issued out to you, which you are to deduct $700 for your initial payment and the rest of your
payment will be paid on as agreed . You are to send the remaining funds out
of the check to a booking agent that was arranged to take care of your booking and
Please make sure that you send the remaining funds to the booking agent on your
name so that the booking agent will have it in record of your name to avoid any mistake.
Please confirm your address if it is correct before we mail the check out.
OK, scam verified. Why are you sending me a check? Why is it going to cost over $2000 bucks for a plane ticket from here to California? We never agreed on $700 for me to shoot your wedding. What a dick.
Just for the simple fact of appeasement, I filed a complaint with the FTC. Why not. Nothing may happen and the person probably lives in Africa.
The lesson for me in this is simple: Have them call me so I know they’re a real person. That way I know for sure.
But at least there’s some word out on this guy with his e-mail and I encourage everyone to inform others of these unscrupulous characters.
So here’s to you Dan Monarch, if that is your real name, you are nominated for this year’s “Douchebag of the Year” award.
And Here’s to Number Two!
Just a few weeks ago, I had an e-mail exchange with a local Seattle “businessman” Ben “Jammin” from Team Deadly (whatever) as he was angry that I watermark my photographs.
Here’s his original e-mail:
“you have your fucking name etched into the online photos – so not allowing me to send a photo to someone who might buy iyt (sic) is about as self-centered and stupid as it gets…
Here was my response:
“Thanks for the kind words and the affirmation my watermark prevents theft. After all, I am the one who put time and effort into capturing the image you liked enough to attempt to steal.
And the image of the cracked mud around the computer mouse is one of my all time favorites.
You can, however, send a link to your friend and they will be able to view it. The watermark will still be there. However, when your friend buys a print, the watermark will not be there.
Thank you for your time to view my gallery.
He then sent me this (apparently, he loves to curse):”
“Thank you for reaffirming my initial comment.
If you happened to be smarter than a pile of rocks you would realize that letting your watermarked photos out all over the net would net you some business if your pictures were worth buying. Obviously you think your work is shitty enough that it’s worth “stealing” with a watermark…. Who the fuck would try and use a watermarked photo for anything other than trying to help you sell originals? Dumb as a sack of fucking rocks you are.
Here’s a guy that SELLS THE SHIT OUT OF HIS PHOTOS: (a photo was inserted here that linked to this: http://www.frankblauphotography.com/meltdown_2008/index_10.htm#142)
Why? Because his shit gets shared and everyone who sees it knows where to buy a print.
Grow the fuck up dummy!
Team Deadly – Official Supplier to the 2011 Olympics
Below is my response to his e-mail broken down in sections:
“Thank you for reaffirming my initial comment.
If you happened to be smarter than a pile of rocks you would realize that letting your watermarked photos out all over the net would net you some business if your pictures were worth buying.
People buy them all the time. Also, I’ve had to deal with others stealing my images to the point I’ve initiated Copyright infraction suits. One in particular was a local print shop owner who bought a bear print, scanned it and then sold copies for his own profit. So dealing with people who’ve stole my images is nothing new to me, but a bit tiring and tedious.
Obviously you think your work is shitty enough that it’s worth “stealing” with a watermark….
I’ve been published in many national and international newspapers, newsmagazines, books, and featured in multiple Pictures of the Week and Pictures of the Year by MSNBC, ABC News, and New York Times.
I’ve won a multitude of awards from the Colorado Press Association, Kentucky News Photographers Association, Kentucky Press Association, Associated Press, MSNBC, NPPA Photographer of the Year, and some other smaller ones. The plaques and awards just sit in a box.
I’m also in the New York Times Documenting the decade slide show. In fact the photo of the cracked mud is in it: ( http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/2009-decade.html#/2006_3_31202 )
I also host free workshops to beginning photographers to help them build their skills.
Who the fuck would try and use a watermarked photo for anything other than trying to help you sell originals? (Didn’t you first complain that I watermarked my photos?)
There are programs one can buy to eliminate the watermark. You can also crop out the watermark in certain cases without affecting the image quality or its meaning.
But I do see your point. And since you’ve brought that to my attention, I’ll give it a whirl. Maybe release a few to see how things go and decide from their. It’s actually a good marketing point.
People also poach my images from my blog to use on their computers and as a result have sold prints that way. So, again, I see how letting them out may help sales.
Most my work is news. Newspapers, newsmagazines, and the like. Who would want a print of a screaming bear cub or crying woman on their wall? Prints are just a side note.
What I find funny is that his original complaint was that I watermarked my images for the web. Then he says: “Who the **** would try tan use a watermarked photo for anything other than trying to help you sell originals?”
His original complaint was that I had my name “etched” onto them and he couldn’t send the originals. Sounds to me he changed his mind 180° from his original complaint.
What I don’t understand is that the photographs are mine and I own them, so why not?
Now, could someone with an intelligence higher than a stoned rat give me a good explanation of why I shouldn’t watermark my images?
Thanks for reading