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How the Fury of Social Media Took Down a Wedding Photographer Faker Overnight

By fotosiamo on May 10th 2012




I remember one night around 11pm, a hairstylist friend of mine alerted me of this one Facebook photographer page where someone has been showcasing various fashion and glamour photos under his own name. What was alarming was not that I recognized some of the models in his collection, but that I recognized some of the photos as photos belonging to other photographers. Moreover, this “fauxtographer” had diligently taken out the watermarks from these photos and put his own watermarks. Turns out, as my friend pointed out, that every single one of those photos belonged to someone else.

I instantly went to work and posted up the offending page to various different Facebook photo groups and on my Twitter. Within minutes photographers, including myself, started leaving negative comments on the photos and the wall of the faker. He responded (in broken English, being from a very different part of the world) that he just want to show the web these wonderful photos. What’s perplexing was that he doesn’t understand the concept of copyright violation, especially in regards to him masquerading the photos as his own with his own watermark. He erased every single complaints and negative comments that all of us were putting on his site, and refused to remove the stolen photos.

I helped escalate it to Facebook and within two hours, Facebook closed down his Facebook fan page for good. Victory!


I brought this story of mine up because of the The Examiner’s article on how the social media slapped down a wedding photo faker overnight.

Meagan Kunert, a Conway, Arkansas, wedding photographer, went to sleep this past Tuesday night. Around that time in Vancouver, BC, another wedding photographer, Amber Hughes, has just found out that entire sessions of her work has been posted by Meagan as her own work. Turns out that Amber was not the only victim of Meagan’s theft as news of this spread throughout the Twitterverse and Facebook.

The next morning, Meagan was so bombarded with so many negative and lawsuit-threatening messages that she was forced to shut down her business’ homepage, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, and LinkedIn. Pretty much every social media that she was on, the virtual lynch mob found her.

She managed to reach out and apologize to Amber and several photographers that she stole from, and by the end of the day, posted a public apology on her Facebook page. Predictably, the comments on that status update reflect the majority of the readers who are not as ready to accept her apology.



Sad thing is that her actual photographs are pretty good. Rather than concentrating in improving her craft and taking care of her business, Meagan Kunert managed to severely damage her reputation amongst her client and the photography community at large. How do you feel about this?

About

Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at www.fotosiamo.com and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

32 Comments

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  1. Talha Yousuf

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  3. Ed Rhodes

    sad when someone feels that they have to steal and be deceptive

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  4. Amy

    Wow, just read about this now. This is kind of ridiculous. I am a professional photographer and I had to use someone else’s images a few times to prove that I shot a wedding. The truth is, they were my images, but I was the assistant to the photographer, so I did not own the copyright nor was I hired as the photographer. I did print them and made beautiful wall portraits and albums to show when I met with clients. Nobody could prove anything, because they were in my physical possession, not blasted all over the internet for everyone to see. I also took photos at a photographers convention and was not allowed to display them as my own work since it was for instructional purposes only (I did not hire the models or set up the shots) But I did make albums, and wall portraits to show clients. I would never put those images on my business cards or on my website. It was a best kept secret which booked me JOBS. I do not regret it at all. Although I don’t agree with what she’s done, I do understand.

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  5. Cotton Rohrscheib

    Meagan is just a bad person, you would think that she might have learned a lesson over past fallout over faking cancer and then this photography thing but she’s sunk to a new personal low by leading on some friends of mine that she was going to allow them to adopt her baby (they paid her and did all kinds of things for her) but all along she’s just been leading them on and now has completely shut them down w/ the baby being born just a few days away they find themselves w/ a nursery prepared for the baby they thought they would have any day now to the promise of no baby from Meagan. Horrible. I feel so devastated for this family it’s unreal, they’ve been waiting for 10 years to adopt.

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  6. Angee Nicole Woodman

    Just want to give you an update on Meg…She is ruining her husband..Shes cheated on him..went to jail for hot checks…faked cancer..faked domestic abuse and the list goes on..Shes still shooting..What a fraud

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  7. [email protected]

    Don’t feel sorry for this thief.  She has stolen more than photographs.  She is evil to the core, claims to have uterine cancer to prey on peoples feelings and yet can become pregnant by some miracle!  She is slippery and I for one am happy her “career” as a photographer is over maybe now she can send me the photography equipment I purchased from her when she was in need of money.  She is a liar, a crook, a crazy stalker who tries to extort money from men who she has stolen every cent they have already.  She deserves all the consequences she gets from this!

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  8. Gary John Norman

    I read this article a while back and was totally in horror that someone could actually use another photographers work to promote their own, that was until I had found out it had happend to me.

    Searching google images I came across two images of mine that are are available as license images and being used by a photography company http://blink-photo.net/ to promote their own work. This may not be a breach of copyright but using another photographers work to promote their own seems wrong.

    It would be interesting to get any comments and thoughts.

    Gary John Norman.

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  9. Photographer Threatened by Lawsuit by Lady Who Used His Image – Free Photography Tips Tutorials Reviews and Wordpress Themes tutorial

    […] posts, including how a blogger confronted a newspaper for plagiarized work and how the social media helped to take down a wedding photographer who was stealing a lot of photographer&#8217…, and I’ve read or heard my fair share of such stories. But one story that really takes the […]

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  10. How a Blogger Confronted Newspaper for Plagiarized Work « Take Great Photos

    […] the right that we have to protect our creative creations. It’s just like my previous post on how social media took down a wedding fauxtographer who was stealing entire sessions of other wedding photographers to pass as her own. While it seems […]

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  11. How a Blogger Confronted a Newspaper who Plagiarized His Work – Free Photography Tips Tutorials Reviews and Wordpress Themes tutorial

    […] Recent Inspiration Articles Blogger Confronted a Newspaper who Plagiarized His WorkIntroducing our New Staff Writer | Leo HoangDifferent Views of Tank Man of TiananmenHaters Destroying the Photography IndustrySocial Media Shuts Down a Wedding Photographer Faker […]

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  12. Daisysock

    Do you have permission to use her logo? Essentially you are violating copyright laws as well. Yes stealing no matter what you steal or who you steal from….even from someone who is a thief themselves.

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    • Jonathon Chambers

      Well legally, for journalistic purposes, an organization, company, or individual may use copyrighted content. There are certain conditions, but I do not believe slrlounge has broken any laws.

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  13. WOW

    I’m an Arkansas based photographer and was “friends” with Meagan on facebook. First off I am extremely shocked at what has gone down. I think that she should be charged with Copyright infringement. For all the people that are saying that the actual “work” she does isnt that bad. How do they know she didnt steal that either? Were they standing right next to her as she was taking the photos?  Oh, and just four more words. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MEAGAN.

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  14. Fauxtog-Buster

    Sadly, she is not the first fake I have seen busted – I think at least two others in the last month alone! One blatantly removed the original watermark and put her own instead! I don’t feel sorry for them. I’m starting out, and my website is “under construction” but I’m building my portfolio myself and happy to do so. Thieves deserve their punishment – she should be sued to set precedence and hopefully scare others from doing the same. 

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  15. Eric

    When I was a teenager the movie ‘Gladiator’ hit the theatres. One of the most chilling scenes, for me, then and now was when Maximus dispatches another gladiator and then turns to the blood-lusting crowd and screams “Are you not entertained? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? is this not why you are here?”

    I can’t help but hero echoes of this plea as I watch the events of this week unfold. As I look out upon the foam mouthed faces of the spectators it is rather shocking to see industry heavyweights (looking at you Gary Fong) screaming alongside no-name momtogs in their condemnation of Megean Kunert.

    As I read comments on blogs, news sites, forums and facebook groups it is hard to shake the feeling that many would have happily attending executions ,during Roman Rule, and gleefully chanted ‘crucify’ with the throng. I just can’t understand the bloodlust.

    I am many things but a professional photographer isn’t one of them. At one time, I made a feeble attempt to start up a ‘sidejob’ photography business but it quickly pettered out. At this time in my life, photography simply isn’t an industry that I am willing or capable to try and make a business out of.

    I do not charge for any photography related services and now rarely shoot anything except for self portraits, my personal family and a few friends and acquaintances that I meet in online forums and facebook groups.

    I am also a friend of Meagan Kunert.

    We have known each other for a while now. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting her and Lucas and had the distinct privilege to hold their beautiful baby girl. I have fought and argued with her on many different subjects. She isn’t perfect. Neither am I. Neither are you.

    Her actions are as close as to ‘unforgiveable’ as you can possibly get in the photography world. In the space of a week, she has had all of her illegal actions brought into the light of day for the entire world to see.

    Her name has crossed the lips of the entire photography community this week. From some of the biggest names to shooters all the way down on the totem pole such as myself.

    The outrage has reached critical levels. The public execution of her character has been completed from Twitter to Facebook and everywhere in between. While I agree with the outrage in relation to photography that isn’t the only part of her character that has been assaulted.

    She has had her religion questioned. She has had her motherhood and marriage put up for public inspection and ridicule. She has had her personal life ripped to shreds by people from all over the world. She has been hounded by the media. She has even been phyically threatened and intimidated.

    Make no mistake, she deserves the ridicule she has recieved for her actions in regards to photography. Anything more is nothing more than cyberbullying and intimidation.

    Megan does not deserve to be insulted, demeaned, intimidated or threatened. She is a human being and deserves compassion and forgiveness.

    No, I am not advocating that her actions should be wiped clean or even that she should continue offering her services as a ‘professional’ photographer.

    No, I am not saying that this should happen for any specific religious reason. In fact, I am an atheist. I think that one of the biggest problems with her apology was the fact that she tried to infuse ‘Christ’ into it. If you look at alot of the comments that strayed into the negative it was because of this specific topic of religion.

    What I am saying is that she has paid the price. Her photography reputation is ,justifiably, in ruins. The local media has ensured that this isn’t something that you would only know about if you were a photographer it is now ‘main stream’ ,at least in Arkansas. As a photographer she is completely finished. She is closing up shop. What more is warranted?

    Social media has accomplished it’s goal. She has been found out. She has been shamed in front of the entire world. Her business is over. She is now in fear of her physical safety. Why keep demanding more?

    ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

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    • Julie L.

      The internet is full of bloodlust. Play the game, take home the prize. Is the reaction over the top? Certainly, and I make no excuses for folks who take it way too far. But I don’t feel sorry for Meagan. She did a terrible thing and took a tremendous chance by doing said terrible thing online, where everyone is just waiting to tear someone to shreds. If she didn’t know this was a possibility, then she needs to get out from under the rock she calls home. People shouldn’t bring out the pitchfork and torch mobs, and she shouldn’t have been stealing from other photographers. If I had tried to pass off other people’s work as my own, and got the same vicious backlash that she did, I would feel like it was deserved. In this day and age, you better act like somebody online, because otherwise, you’re just throwing yourself to the wolves.

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    • [email protected]

      Please do not defend this woman you don’t know.  I know her and she is a terrible wife, mother and person.  She is not a Christian until she feels it will benefit her.  She lies (she has laid claims to having stage 4 uterine cancer, yet gives birth to a second child), steals (not only photographs, but money), stalks causing one person to question them self to the extent they considered suicide because of her evil claims , blames others for her actions, oh I can go on and on.  I am so happy that this immoral person has finally been found out to the world she claims is so important to her. 

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  16. andrew kruse

    She isn’t all that sorry, 

    Also looks like she is a ‘portrait mom’ as well… shocker…

    http://pinterest.com/megkunert/

    Her Zenfolio client proofing is still up and open for business….
    http://megkunert.zenfolio.com/f877098419st

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  17. andrew kruse

    no sympathy for such brazen fraud, theft.  Apology is cute… put up some friggin $$$ make good on damages.  How about donate every cent of ill gotten revenue made to a charity…

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  18. Eric Fialkowski

    I wonder how many people (rightfully) complaining about her copyright infringement have less than legal Adobe software on their computers?

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    • Julie L.

      Certainly neither act is morally right, but I think there’s a tremendous difference between not paying for software and actually ripping off someone else’s work and passing it off as your own.

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    • Noah Fence

      Not paying for software is literally “ripping off someone else’s work.” Not sure I follow how there’s a “tremendous difference” between that and plagiarism.  

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    • Fauxtog Buster

      The only difference is that you’re not changing the icon, logos and filenames for Photoshop to “Fauxtoshop” and selling it as your own invention. I’d say the difference is about 0.03%. Not tremendous at all. 

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    • Fauxtog Buster

      Not using licensed software is a theft. There’s no grey areas there. But what most people don’t realize is that by using your kid’s / nephew’s student ID to get a “student” edition at the discount price and then using it for business use is also a violation of the licensing agreement and is as much a theft. 

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  19. Allyson B. Campbell

    Oh man Joe, I was appalled to see this.  I followed this issue the whole day yesterday and I am now reading comments, like your blog as well, of what people have to say about it.  My only issue was that I hoped this didn’t make her more famous and that her fan base would grow from this incident since in reading the comments after her apology, some people sympathized with her.  Even if she had good work herself, I didn’t expect it to be true because her credit was tarnish as a whole.  As of right now I am seeing that her pages are down. 

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  20. Ernie Basciano-Photography

    First of all it is disgusting that someone that is supposed to be a photographer would disrespect copyright like this.  Secondly why would anyone steal photos and post them, while knowing they cannot reproduce that quality of work?  It is going to bite them on the ass anyways! Just plain dumb.

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  21. mavourneen strozewski

    She could have just kept trying. No matter how good or crappy we feel when we look at someone else’s work, we should always strive to make ourselves better. Every photographer specializes in a certain area, so find what your area is and excel at it. She’s ruined her rep for sure it make take years before people learn to trust her, or she may have ruined it for life.. And also looks like she had a family, I wonder what they think of her actions? It is hard, the hardest thing you can do, it’s as hard as raising kids..in fact I’d say Photography is just like raising kids. It takes work, consistently and challenging yourself. I hope she sees the damage she’s done to herself, her family and the photographers’ works she stole. 

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  22. [email protected]

    Don’t ever feel sorry for a thief.

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  23. Norman S.

    Her only hope at this point is to get married ( or divorced ) so that she can change her last name and start all over again. Oh, and move to a different state. What an IDIOT. 

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  24. Viktor

    Getting into the business is hard as it is, but when you blatantly steal someone’s work and post it as your own is totally wrong and your asking for trouble.  Her creditably, career as a photographer and her business is pretty much over and unfortunate.

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