This is my first blog post… ever. I am not an english major nor do I care to type worth a flip. So sit back and enjoy. I will bounce all over the place… and I am sorry for that. Thats how the brain works.
What a crazy year it has been for me. October of 2012 I decided I needed something extra to do in the world besides music. We were on the road a good bit and I always loved photographing things with the phone or whatever it was. So I was thinking maybe I should get a camera and take pictures of the birds and trees in my spare time. I went to Best Buy and purchased a t3i from a man with a beard that tried to sell me a point and shoot. (The cool thing about buying from best buy is I was able to return or exchange within 30 days). A few days after I bought the camera my cousin was getting married and I took it along just to play with. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. Every image was pretty rough but I did find one or 2 that was decent. This being one of them.
I posted this image on my personal Facebook page and had some people interested in doing a couple of shoots. I was very hesitant as I was not a photographer at all!!!!!!!! I agreed and quickly became the shoot and burn togs that everyone loves to hate all for them paying me whatever it was worth to them. The following weekend (10/27) My friend was getting married. I had some interest in photography and really wanted to get into it. So I asked her if I could come and take some pics at her wedding in the background to see if I liked it and she agreed. The place was beautiful and I felt like it was something I really wanted to do before I even started that night. I just loved the atmosphere at a wedding. That night…. I was so excited I left before the Reception and went home and sifted through the poooooo that I had just taken… Man were they bad. DONT SHOOT FULL AUTO AND JPG. < that was the lesson. I did manage to get one decent one and at the time I thought I had hit jackpot.
I created a page and posted this image that night and tagged everyone in it before they even made it out of the reception. Not my intent but brilliant strategy. Over night I had a bunch of likes on the page. From then on… I decided that this is what I was going to do.
I said all that to lead into a little bit about me. My whole life nothing has ever been good enough. I was adopted into a family. The dad left shortly after and My mother raised me for the most part by herself until she remarried. She was an educator… and a dang good one. My senior year in High School and soon after that I did a series of things that were not so great. I let her down as her hopes for me were high. When I was 21 I fell in love with a girl that rocked my world. Like you know…. when you get crazy stupid whenever they are around? Cant talk can’t eat can’t sleep….. Yea. That was me. sigh…. Anyways we ended up having a child together when I was 22. Her parents did not really approve of me because I was different. So that breakup stung pretty bad over the next 4 years.
I say this to say that everything I do in life has been a self inflicted wound. I look for acceptance. I just want to people to like me. IN the music game thats what I did… and no one liked me in the end. I have done this with everything my whole life. I have gone to any means necessary just to be…. accepted.
This year… I became super close to God. I’d say around april. I had always been in and out of church but I would say in April I had a pretty eye opening experience that changed some of my viewpoints on the subject. So that has been super important to me. I am open about it. I do not use it to lure people in. Its like Tim Tebow said… if you have a wife wouldn’t you tell her you love her as much as you can? Same thing with God. < I agree with Tim on this one. I have been very open about it and for people that don’t believe, this just seems like a ploy to lure people in. It is not.
So back to photography. Now that you have a back story on why I do some of the things I do… I wanted to be the best… Call me Sponge. I spent day and night trying to learn this craft as well as started going to school for it in January at the Art Institute of Atlanta. I was still doing music and had shoots booking on the side so I put the majority of my money in Facebook advertising to gain more fans that would hire me for services. It cost an arm and a leg over the corse of the year but it worked for the most part.
In July… I sold all of my music equipment and walked away from a life long dream.
Around the end of August…. I was actually going to quit doing this. I had a corporate gig lined up and both cameras ready to sale on ebay. I have been attending a church and one sunday I had this guy feeling to help someone out that maybe couldn’t afford a camera. I thought it was the devil talking to me… out of there out of there i said. I couldn’t shake this feeling and after a day or so I decided I would post it on Facebook that I was going to give one away to help someone in need. I prayed that if this was what I was supposed to do then let it happen and I NEED A SIGN. For the non believer this won’t make any sense to you and that is fine. That is why things are being said that are being said. Within the first hour i posted an image… I had almost a thousand shares and 1000k new likes. The crazy thing about it was what no one knows is I WAS GETTING OUT. Messages started pouring in about sessions etc and I here I am a small timer out of Gainesville Georgia. NO I am not traveling to arizona to chase your kid around the desert for 200 dollars. Over the week it just grew and grew and grew and the following sunday I am sitting in church and Something the preacher said stuck out and I was thinking… well I could expand… Give other people a chance to make money off of this and provide for their families etc. So the next day I said we are going to expand and emails out the wazoo started flooding in. Like so much I could not keep up with it…. so we sifted through it and found some pretty awesome people.
So when it came time for the camera giveaway… because I was not educated on how to do one and here I am with 96k shares to sift through, i reached out for help with someone that had a computer program that took data from posts and shares and made it sort of like a lottery. Random draw. I had a guy from washington that donated a camera and another guy that worked or works with a camera company buy 10 of them and give them away. What people don’t know is this guy did it as a tax write off and I viewed it as he is helping. I wanted it to go as smooth as possible. The chick that won my personal camera I hand delivered to her. I drove 5 hours to south Ga and gave it to her. She had just lost her home in a fire and had given up on faith etc. So this was all the plan from the beginning I though. Amber Knight. https://www.facebook.com/amberkateknight is her personal page and https://www.facebook.com/AmbersModernCreations is her photography page.
When I posted the story of the events that led up to this and her being picked, I had a toooooon of emails saying how much this inspired them and that they were going to give back etc. SO That is what I figured I was supposed to do with all this photography stuff. Give back. That is what I have tried to do ever since as best I can.
LETS Get to photo stealers stuff….. :)
Around mid october… I was out of town In between shoots at a store grabbing batteries for a flash Unit. I came out went to the next location and my stuff was gone. I had just used it. So I went back and a parking lot lizard was roaming around and I thought to myself I bet I know who took it… I filed a report with him and came home. I had 3 calls that led to who it might have been and since I do indeed care for this person I actually canceled the report. I am an absolute idiot and didnt have legitimate insurance and PPA wasn’t going to cover it. So I was up wahoo creek without a paddle and no woman. I posted this the next day after realization that this nightmare had come true and the person I thought it was was not the person at all.
TO THE PERSON THAT STOLE MY CAMERA GEAR YESTERDAY
I hope you find Jesus, ask him to forgive you for stealing.
I forgive you, even though its hard.
I will pray for you to either return my equipment, or use it to bless others..
I had a local friend of mine say hey dude put up a donation link and lets get you back working. I don’t take handouts… AT ALL… so I was very very hesitant to accept anything. But… after a bunch of messages I set up a donation link and stated that anyone that sent a dollar or whatever would get something in return. I sent every person an email with a free session voucher that gave anything.
Hey! I can’t thank you enough for your donation to help me get back going. To show appreciation… I am going to bless you with a free session with an online gallery for ordering prints. You are amazing and I can’t thank you enough for what you have done to help me get back on my feet. Please share with my Facebook this awesomeness…
Chris Jones | CJ Photography
"We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory"
^^^^ THATS WHAT EMAIL SAID
I also cut it off after I had enough money with mine to be able to go buy a body and a 50 1.4 lens. I do not take handouts. I collected around $1370 before I cut it off and I did so with in a day.
A few weeks later… A guy calls me and tells me of this Gentleman that has had it rough that had just got some camera gear and he has had no money. After a few questions i thought this had to be the guy. Interesting as this is I asked him if there was a way to contact him he gave me a phone number and an address. I immediately called a friend for advice and found out there is nothing I could do because of leaving scene etc and since I canceled the initial report in the parking lot of this place… it was no good.
So the next day I decided… I am going to write this guy a note and ask him if he will return my stuff and I sent a bible to hopefully encourage it. I also sent what little money I had in the form of a money order with them. I included my address and begged that he return said items. The next week on a tuesday my equipment showed back up at my residence. Bible not included but this was.
I was so embarrassed by this debacle that I had said I had insurance and that had filed a police report when in fact I didn’t let the statement make it to wherever it goes because I was trying to protect a friend. EPIC EPIC FAIL. I knew that at the time this would cause me to be a laughing stock.
I decided that evening that Since the last camera Giveaway was so successful that I should do another one. This one was more inspired by the affects of the last one and since I had help purchasing it… I thought it would be good to give it back to someone else. It has turned into an absolute nightmare. People are accusing me of robing people and everything in between. This is not the case at all. Not the case at all.
This giveaway a ton of vendors signed up for… but now it is only me as everyone has backed out due to allegations against me. Understandable. I am writing this because not one person has messaged me and asked my side of everything or told me whats up in confidentiality.
I will be honoring these commitments by purchasing items from said vendors and gifting them to people. This is my goal and this is what I have wanted to do in the beginning is give back… but I have created a monster.
Now onto my photo theft….
There are a ton of allegations on me stealing photos etc. There are rumors after rumors that everything I have posted has been works of others. This is not the case at all. I posted what I thought was 9 images from different classes I taught on compositing. I did not sell these photos once or give them out. I have had a great demand for whatever photoshop powers i possess this whole time and the last 11 years that that is something I have always done. I posted these images without giving credit where credit was due and under the standard use agreement on shutter stock… I thought i was covered… this is not for print and not for sale.
The thing that i did wrong was I did not give credit and I made this seem as if it was something that I had done. My moral compass regardless of what net lore may say, doesn’t allow me to sit back on this. Outside looking in, it may appear as if I have been caught… not the case at all. I was taught a very valuable lesson through the world coming at me with pitch forks. I have taken all the necessary steps in order to make this right…. receipt of purchase here.
Emails sent to rectify the situation here
I am writing to you from the Compliance department at Shutterstock regarding the correspondence below.
In order for us to assist you, we require further information. Can you please provide us with the Shutterstock image ID numbers for the images in the question? Can you also explain what the issue is, including any correspondence if possible?
Once we have this information, we will be able to assist you.
———————- Original Message ———————-
From: Chris Jones Photographer [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 12/23/2013 12:23 PM
Subject: Re: 00654284: Shutterstock Support Email [email@example.com] [ ref:_00D301GgSC._500a0dD3qT:ref ]
Hey Katrin. Can you give me a call? 706 200 2654
Sent from my iPhone
On Dec 23, 2013, at 12:11 PM, “"Shutterstock Support" <firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your honest email, we really appreciate your feedback!
Could you please tell us a little bit more to understand what happened?
- How many and which images did you use in an improper way (image IDs)?
- What is your website about?
- What exactly was the infringement?
We are awaiting your reply.
Tel (US only): 1 866 663 3954
Tel (International): +1 646 419 4452
Fax (International): +1 347 402 email@example.com
Shutterstock, Inc. | 60 Broad Street | 30th Floor | New York, NY 10004
Hey Guys. It has recently come to my attention that the images that I have
purchased off of your site were not entirely mine to post. I want to correct
this matter immediately. I have since then removed all related works to my
page and am seeking council as to how to compensate these artists and their
works. 706 200 2654
60 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Hello. What happened is I am a photographer and graphic design artist. I have a Facebook page and I put my images into a few of the backgrounds that I had downloaded with my subscription to the site. The problem was is that I did not give credit where credit was due to the fact of my ignorance and I thought by me paying for images I could use them if I did not sell them etc. I also did not include proper acknowledgment to the supporting artist etc. I have lost my business because of about 10 or so images that I have posted and I am fine with that it is my doing. I made a mistake and I am better informed now. My moral code however will not let me bypass paying these artists for their works. Once this was made aware to me, I removed any and all works that involved other people and reached out to you guys to make this right. I am sure this is a common error. None of these images have been sold etc.
Here is a list of the ones I used for composites.
These I used for a Mini Session Template
Chris Jones | CJ Photography
"We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory"
SO I have taken what I believe to be the next steps in correcting this matter.
There are 4 or so images still in question and I did these while involved at the school during a compositing class. We were allowed to use them for our portfolio so I was assuming I could use them for mine. I have sent an email to try and find out the account info where we downloaded the background of these Composites from.
^ This site has accused me of taking photos from other websites as well that were not shutterstock….
This being one of them
The other number was 141912781 on shutter stock.
OK I am a bit lost as to where I was. But here we go back into it… Refill the soda and popcorn….
On my Group I made for photographers.
Because of the nastiness that I have seen from some photographers the way they treat new people and people that don’t know anything, I decided I would create a group and compile a group of admins that new exactly what they were doing. I loved them… they were friends and amazing people. Our goal was to create a learning environment for photographers wether they be new…. or OLD. I was creating a website that I wanted to allow everyone to be able to go on to this thing and pretty much find every bit of info you would ever need to know about being a photographer… and I wanted to do this in a way that if you were a 10 year pro… and you had some advice you could contribute and get paid. I wanted this to be a one stop shop for everything under the sun imaginable for photography from contracts to tutorials to camera settings to gig swapping and equipment sales and rentals. The amazing thing about my idea is that everyone that wanted to contribute could make money in the long run. So since I am done… someone take that Idea and run with it…
After some things went down with all of this I disabled my page to seek advice due to people calling me messaging me etc. The other admins decided to delete the group and that is that. Best choice right now.
This is a little bit about me and the situation. I am a Godly man that made a mistake. All the people that don’t believe won’t see this or forgive but thats ok. I am not trying to impress anyone anymore. This is me bare bones…. and I figured the least i could do would be to offer my side of the story… I will spend whatever I do next in life informing people to make sure you have everything in check. Everything left on my Facebook, is mine. I took them and that accept. I created a monster out of my own greed to be accepted when the only thing I needed to do all along… was to accept Myself.
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.