**Warning... long post. :-)
When I think about people stealing pictures, I think about people printing their photographers pictures when they do not have permission to do so. I have done this... as much as it pains me to write that, I have. It was YEARS ago. I have also thought many times about sending a check to the person that I did that to for the prints. One day, I WILL pay her back. I guess I just keep hoping I will run into her some day to explain myself and NOT have to do it in a letter.
I never knew how much work went in to taking pictures and editing them until I started to do it myself. I spend HOURS taking pictures and editing them. I do not even sell these pictures. I honestly cannot even imagine doing it as a living. As much as I LOVE pictures and photography, it is a hard job. It is an art. And I truly believe you have the touch or you do not.
So a couple of weeks ago, I get a call from my mom. She gave me a person's name to look up on Facebook. When I pulled up this person's name, which I had never even heard of, I see a picture of Justin and I as their profile picture. I WAS SICK.... mad. pissed. I mean, who would do that?! Steal a picture of someone else?! They had around 200 friends, and as I started to look through their friends, I seen another 4... FOUR profiles that were using my pictures. All of those included Hadlea. Now I am beyond pissed and sick to my stomach. It is one thing to take a picture of me, but to take a picture of my daughter.... I felt so invaded.
Now. This is completely normal in the blog world.... people stealing pictures and using them as their own for fake profiles. Some just over look it. They are not stealing their identity, just merely their pictures. I contacted a couple of people who have private blogs now because of this very reason to see if they did anything about it. Besides turning the pages in to Facebook, which I did, there wasn't anything else that could be done.
I decided to go private that very minute because the Facebook pages had been taken down, and I didn't want them to come steal more than they already had. They had TONS of pictures. Some 5 years back to as recent at our beach pictures. I felt terrible that they had one of the wedding pictures of A&As. Those are their pictures. Not even mine to share. I might have took the picture, but it was of their day. I just feel so horrible about those.
So most of you asked how we found out. I swear this is going to sound crazy, but it is completely true! :)
So my mom is a county official for a county in Oklahoma. She gets a call one day at work. The lady asked, "Is Grammie there?" (I am not going to use my mom's name.) My mom tells her that she had the right person. The lady says, "This is Suzy (not going to use her name either.). I know this sounds crazy, but someone is using your picture on their Facebook." My mom asks for the person's name, looks it up and sure enough. My mom was so mad that she didn't hear much of what Suzy said after that.
Once my mom calls me, I was mad that she didn't have more info. What if 'Suzy' was the one doing this? Or had more info? My mom knew Suzy was friends with these people so we did some searching and found Suzy. My mom friended her and messaged her asking for the story again.
I guess Suzy got a friend request from one of the fake accounts saying they went to high school together. Suzy didn't think so, but she accepted anyway to look at the person's page. As she looked through pictures, she knew all of the different pictures were not adding up. One of the accounts happened to have a picture of my mom in a parade, seen my mom's name and the county, looked it up and found her work number... which is how she contacted her. Suzy said if this had happened to her that she would want to know... so she knew she needed to track us down. I am very thankful 'Suzy' did track us down.
So I have a new outlook on 'stealing' pictures. As a photographer or a parent, I NEVER want someone to steal my work. Those are pictures I took. Pictures of my baby girl to share with my family and friends.
Blogging is something I LOVE to do. I love to share stories about Hadlea or share what is going on in our daily lives. I LOVE going back to old posts and seeing how much we have all changed. I have met some of THE greatest people in the blog world. Some I email for advice. Some have children the exact same age as Hadlea, and I can see what their kids are doing. The blog world also reminds me I am NOT completely crazy and losing my mind as a first time momma. :-) From reading some blogs, I know my house doesn't always have to be clean, I do not ALWAYS have to cook supper and it acts as a reminder that I should relish in every moment of Hadlea's life and spend more times making memories and worrying less about the material things in life.
I will go back public. For one, I love this too much not to. Two, if I do not, Grampie may cut off Hadlea's college fund if he has to log in to an account everyday to see his granddaughter! :)
So with that, I need a new blog name! I think I will feel better if our last names are removed. I think a little anxiety I had came from knowing that the people who stole our pictures also had our full names.
So all of you creative people out there... start thinking and leave a comment or email with your ideas for a blog name for us. I have a couple ideas, but nothing is just jumping out at me! I think the things that define me most are LOVE and being a MOMMA.
And thanks again to all that wanted to follow. I think I have around 50 that send their email addresses to follow. I honestly didn't know some of you even followed. I am thankful you do.... but I would be more thankful if you would start your own blog and let me follow you too! I promise... it is so therapeutic sometimes! ... SOMETIMES. When people are not stealing your photos! Ha!