Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal

I received the sweetest letter a few weeks ago. It was from a young girl in France. Somehow she had seen my photos, liked them, and wanted an autograph. 

I don't get asked for my autograph very often. Just about never, to be precise. And in a hand written letter from Paris? How cool is that? I was smitten. 

The letter came with a blank index card. Not only did I sign the card but I decided to send this nice young girl a signed print, just to show my appreciation for her appreciation. Like I said, I was smitten. I tucked the autographed card and photo in a mailtube and shipped it to France. Then I carefully refolded her her nice letter and placed it in a folder for safekeeping. My first fanmail souvenir! 

It turns out I'm not the only one to receive a letter from Marie Martinez. Today on Facebook a discussion thread by Jon Feinstein brought some others out of the woodwork. Toni Greaves, Dina Kantor, Brea Soulders, Amy Elkins, etc. All had received inquiries lately for their autographs to be written on blank sheets of paper. Some were sent as emails, some as letters, some from a guy named Neal and at least one (to Ben Alper) from my very own Marie Martinez. The scam, apparently, is that someone is out there applying these autographs to jpegs lifted from the internet, then selling them as signed prints.

Wha..? Is that possible? Can you make a sellable print from a shitty 72 dpi jpeg? Maybe you can if the buyer isn't very detail oriented. And maybe you can count me in that camp because some details in the original letter escaped my notice at first. Like the fact Marie Martinez never referred to photography or any specific image or where she had seen my work or any details at all really. It's a very generic letter, the type of letter that might easily be sent to many people. I wish I had noticed some of these undetailed details the first time reading the letter. But I hadn't.

There are few worse feelings than realizing you've been played. I'm a sucker. Marie Martinez, you got me. I thought we were BFFs but to you I'm just a JPG. 

I'm writing this post in the hope that you won't get others. Are you out there somewhere reading this? Are you real? What are you going to do with that signature? And what about the silver gelatin print I sent? Can you find a use for it? If you want more copies just print out a jpg from the web and apply the signature below. You probably won't know the difference.



David Simonton said...

Ouch! Stung. I feel for you—as I would have fallen for it, too.

Hernan Zenteno said...

The worst thing about that is not the thief profile, is that she/he/it played with your feelings. That is what disturbed me more. Some karma here please. Some Amélie to make justice.

Euan Forrester said...

Reminds me of the "bombable" episode of Seinfeld -- the silver lining is that at least you're scamable.

Gary said...

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Gary said...

And here's the answer: http://skypape.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/not-so-fan-tastic-part-ii/

A collector of autographs.