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An Image Stolen…

This blog post has been a bit difficult for me to write. I sat on it over night, because I didn’t want to write anything too reactionary and I also wanted to thoughtfully explain how I feel.

Brian, a client and good friend, called me last night to share his discovery that one of the images I had taken during their engagement session had been stolen, digitally manipulated and reproduced in a campaign targeting a senator for her vote in support of a bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions. When I heard this, a range of emotions flooded through me. When I actually saw the image, my heart dropped. Below is a side by side of the two images that I created in photoshop for Brian to use on his blog post:

It’s my hope that my readers and clients know that what I do is incredibly important to me. I love love, I adore my clients and when I make images for them, it’s my goal to document their love with creativity and honesty. It fuels me as a photographer to know that these images will be cherished. That they will hang on walls, be passed around at gatherings, put in albums, and that someday maybe children and grandchildren will display these moments in their own homes.

To see an image, taken with that intent being used in the way it was used is heart-breaking for me. Brian’s reaction is so perfectly stated, I highly recommend you read it: “Public Advocate of the United States” Steal a Kiss – And it’s Gay. I agree with every word written.

The Denver Post article written by reporter Lynn Bartels can be read here.

Update: The Atlantic Wire covers the story. Read Alexander AbadD-Santos’ coverage here.

xo,
Kristina

UPDATE! As many people are coming directly to this post, please visit the following post for an update on the situation. And, again, thank you for your support!

23 Comments

  1. Rosa Lovejoy said . . .

    I absolutely loved the photos you shot of Brian & Tom. They were creative and beautiful. It is heartbreaking that the images were stolen and used so maliciously. I truly hope that something good can come from this.

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  2. mc said . . .

    I pray that you sue them. If you did not sell this photo then they have right to use it, and copyright infringement is a crime. You can sue for a lot of money, but more importantly, they will have to stop using it and you will bring light to this. It should not end here. There are many lawyers that for this kind of issue and the publicity will take your case pro bono.

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  3. Meagan said . . .

    Are you going to sue? Because you absolutely should..that is awful.

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  4. Roseanne Saraceno said . . .

    Well said Kristina.

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  5. Aimee Eade said . . .

    Contact the ACLU and document this, take screen shots and be sure to document all correspondence.. This needs to be a legal action and I’m sure several groups will be happy to represent you for free. Do not be shy about going down that road. These people need to be taught that there are consequences for exploiting people.

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  6. Jo said . . .

    There is an entire community that would be willing to support you should you decide to sue. Just say the word and we will help however we can.

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  7. Dina Douglass said . . .

    Kristina, I am just horrified for you and for your clients. This situation is just awful, and despite what the image thief claimed, this misappropriation of your image is the furthest possible thing from fair use. I hope you pursue every legal option available to you, and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide you with any help. I sent you an email as well, with contact info for my own copyright attorney (who recently helped me win a copyright case).

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  8. Lexie Mojica said . . .

    I think this is crazy this should of never happened and the pics of Bryan and Tom are gorgous and u do a great job on ur photos! I think u should sue them and I’m only 13 years old! I try to put myself in Kristina, Tom, and Bryan’s position I would feel very upset and Furious! Trying just Bryan and Tom’s position I would of threw up!

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  9. Daniel Lane said . . .

    Let me just give a loud SECOND to Dina Douglas’ post. Their claim of “fair use” for your image is outrageous if not just plain laughable. I hope you prevail in any actions you take against these thieves.

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  10. Amy Beth said . . .

    Kristina, I am so disgusted on behalf of you and your wonderful clients. Your image was lovely. I hope the copyright violators are punished for this horrific theft and manipulation.

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  11. Christine Rivera said . . .

    This is terrible, it makes me want to cry. To ruin a loving couple’s beloved photo in a political smear campaign? My heart goes out to Brian and his husband. I am so sorry that someone stole your photo and tried to make it something ugly. They are the ugly ones.

    Best of luck to you Kristina on your copyright suit.

    Respectfully,
    Christine
    (Chicago, IL)

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  12. Holly Steen said . . .

    Kristina I am so disheartened that your beautiful image was used to promote such awful agenda. I hope that Brian and his husband are able to receive compensation as well as a lengthy apology for their actions.
    All the best in your lawsuit and “fair rights” claims.

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  13. Chris said . . .

    This makes my heart break. I hope you go after them and make them pay.

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  14. Reginald said . . .

    Kristina,

    As a fellow photographer, I share your hurt and dismay and am just sick to my stomach over the misappropriation of your image. PLEASE SUE! For Brian and his husband! For all fellow photographers! For all those who do not wish to have their private, intimate moments of joy and love used in the service of hate! Sometimes, we do not choose greatness; sometimes, it is thrust upon us. The world needs you to pursue this until justice is done. The rewards at justice being done will greatly outweigh the dark hours to come.

    Yours in solidarity,
    Reginald

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  15. Bosgoo said . . .

    These photos will be cherished.

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  16. stuart eisen said . . .

    Kristina, this has really upset me and i would like to post the info to my facebbok page, but want your permission. I am writing this on Independence Day and would like to know when we will be independent of bigotry and hate!

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  17. Krista said . . .

    You absolutely should pursue legal action!!

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  18. jenn smith said . . .

    As a photographer I am fuming that he stole your image.
    As a citizen I am fuming at the message.

    This makes me angry on so many levels.. I will be writing this “prospective senator” a strongly worded statement.

    Why hire a politician that is stealing BEFORE he even gets into office.
    (leaving the incredibly prejudice message aside)

    If I were that client.. I would sue. and If I were you I would have my lawyer send a cease and desist immediately

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  19. Administrator said . . .

    A cease and desist has been sent… please see following post :)

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  20. Vivian Bedoya said . . .

    Your photo and the moment you captured are beautiful. I hope you intend to sue and I wish you all the best!

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  21. Craig H. said . . .

    first off i love the beautifull image(Original) everyone should be able to express their love freely. this kind of negative use for a copywritten image upsets me very much. reading the article i can’t imagine that happening to my images. may you succeed in the case.

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  22. Henry K said . . .

    it is so sad that such a beautiful piece of work is used in an ugly intended article by those who want to spread hatred among the peoples. Legal action needs to be taken against those involved, to protect the interests of the peace-loving individuals. I reckon.

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  23. Melissa Silvia said . . .

    Ms Hill, I hope you, Mr Privitere and Mr Edwards get the full extent of what is coming to the three of you. They stole your art and they stole Mr Privitere and Mr Edwards images to portray a false message without any of your permission or approval. Good luck to the three of you.

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9 Trackbacks

  1. [...] According to the Denver Post, Edwards and Privitere hired lawyers. And photographer Kristina Hill, who took the original photos, told The Atlantic Wire that the Professional Photographers of America are in the process of assisting her with the copyright issue. "To see an image, taken with that intent being used in the way it was used is heart-breaking for me," she wrote on her personal blog.  [...]

  2. [...] Kristina’s Response [...]

  3. [...] According to the Denver Post, Edwards and Privitere hired lawyers. And photographer Kristina Hill, who took the original photos, told The Atlantic Wire that the Professional Photographers of America are in the process of assisting her with the copyright issue. “To see an image, taken with that intent being used in the way it was used is heart-breaking for me,” she wrote on her personal blog.  [...]

  4. [...] Kristina’s Response [...]

  5. [...] a dedication as a message of support to Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere. The situation with their engagement image being stolen and used in anti-gay mailers has gotten quite the national coverage, but Brian eloquently wrote [...]

  6. [...] Wednesday, the couple and their photographer, Kristina Hill, sued the conservative group, a nonprofit based in Virginia called Public Advocate of the United [...]

  7. [...] Wednesday, the couple and their photographer, Kristina Hill, sued the conservative group, a nonprofit based in Virginia called Public Advocate of the United [...]

  8. [...] Wednesday, the couple and their photographer, Kristina Hill, sued the conservative group, a nonprofit based in Virginia called Public Advocate of the United [...]

  9. [...] According to the Denver Post, Edwards and Privitere hired lawyers. And photographer Kristina Hill, who took the original photos, told The Atlantic Wire that the Professional Photographers of America are in the process of assisting her with the copyright issue. “To see an image, taken with that intent being used in the way it was used is heart-breaking for me,” she wrote on her personal blog.  [...]

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