There was a message on my telephone from a lady. Let’s call her Doris. She said she was interested in buying one of my prints and could I get in touch.
Interesting, I thought, as my website makes it pretty easy to buy prints, but the age of the caller indicated that maybe she didn’t have the internet. I called.
“Thank you so much for calling”, she said. “I’m interested in buying a copy of your Grasstrees for a friend. you sold me the copy I have for $10 when you were down giving a seminar in Wollongong. Could I have another one?”
My interest was piqued.
“Where was the presentation”, I asked?
“At the WEA talk a couple of months ago on a Monday morning.”
This had me flummoxed. I have never given a talk to WEA, let alone one in Wollongong.
“And you purchased the print for $10”, I asked, gently.
“Yes, she said.” “And my talk, what was it about?”
“Oh, you weren’t actually talking, you were just there with the gentleman giving the speech.”
“Do you remember what I looked like”, I asked? But no, Doris couldn’t remember my face, but she described my print precisely and said it had my name and title on the bottom left.
This was unusual: I title on the left, but sign on the right. So, was the print a forgery? Was it a print someone picked up while I was doing a workshop (a sample file perhaps) which made its way through the network and was sold for, gasp, $10.
I explained gently to Doris that my print prices were a lot more than $10, that I couldn’t even print and post it to her for that amount, and that I hoped she enjoyed the print she had.
I’m still not sure if it is Doris’s memory, or if it was a prank call, but I guess it showed me how easily someone can take our photographs and print them out. If it was a stolen image, it won’t print at high quality, but for $10, how much quality do you want?
And at $10, the person who was selling the prints wasn’t making any money either!
So, if anyone knows how the print came to be in circulation, I’d love to know. And if you are ‘the someone’ doing it regularly, then do me a favour and please put up your price!