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Thread: massive photographic fraud - Hera Bell

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    massive photographic fraud - Hera Bell

    The scale of this fraud is so monumental, that it borders on hilarity!

    How can someone so blatantly and openly fraudulently pass on images as their own for must have been an eternity.

    The images this Hera Bell has passed on as her own are of extremely high quality, and it's only now that she has been found out.

    The first link to DPR's forums is where it all began, and Hera Bell replies with defensive words, but after her second reply, she must have been too busy deleting all here currently uploaded images.
    I'm assuming to protect herself in some way, but the damage has been done.

    DPR's link

    And just for another teaser as to the scale of her fraudulent activities:

    Who took this photo?

    What's sad is that has been passing herself off as a professional photographer for a good number of years!
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    hehehe. They all end up getting caught. I hope some of the photographers take her to court, as they suggest they will
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    A royal pain in the bum!
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    Yeah LOL!

    I love her replies to the issue:

    Firstly, her response was 'how dare you!' .. then total silence.

    to begin with, if you've been caught out, don't go on this tirade that you have the negatives, blah blah ....

    And then, more interestingly ... how on earth did she get away with it for so long?
    From what I've briefly gathered in the couple of posts and threads I've read, at least two years or so.
    And she's entered into comps with these fraudulently gathered images.

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    The problem now is that the vigilante mentality of some folks will get carried away and we've seen where that can lead. She's done the wrong thing, but hopefully she won't get hounded literally "to death". People do silly things all the time, like claiming to have been POWs for instance, or to have gone to war.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Good point Warbler, but perhaps all she needs to do is logoff. Her internet name may not even be real so perhaps she can just leave and start up a new identity. Are there any claims that she made significant money from the lies? Hard to sue anyone who didn't.

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    wow!! I am having a great read of the blog "Who took this photo?"....very interesting (and tongue in cheek! )

    It isn't so hard to hide nowadays. Geez, I can even save an image and then put it into Google Images and find similar or exactly the same image. Easy Peasy!
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warbler View Post
    The problem now is that the vigilante mentality of some folks will get carried away and we've seen where that can lead. She's done the wrong thing, but hopefully she won't get hounded literally "to death". People do silly things all the time, like claiming to have been POWs for instance, or to have gone to war.
    Agreed but there is a world of difference between the other case and this one. In this case, the subject of the issue is at the very centre of the issue and is there due to her own actions, she is not an innocent bystander who happened to get caught up in something.

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    Ausphotography Regular Renzo's Avatar
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    So, it seems the only defense against all this kind of frauds could be a digital wm embedded into the photo, given how a simple wm can be easily cut away...
    Renzo (Ren)

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    Good point Warbler, but perhaps all she needs to do is logoff. Her internet name may not even be real so perhaps she can just leave and start up a new identity. Are there any claims that she made significant money from the lies? Hard to sue anyone who didn't.
    She could be sued for misrepresentation (truth in advertising), also even if she did not make a cent off the photos directly, her use of them to advertise her skills could well see her sued for any income she made from photography, as people could have employed her based on the quality of the stolen images. These images include wedding photos, so it could be easily extrapolated that she got wedding jobs because of the work on here site (that was not hers). If I was a past client, I would be having serious words with her about at least a partial refund.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    True, but was she a professional photographer? Ie did she make significant money from photography? Or was this just an ego thing?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I just spent some time browsing her sites. Not many left but quite bizare. I wonder if any were hers? Or did she just spend all her time searching for photos and inventing the stories. I did like the great photo taken with her iPhone. Wish I could do that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    True, but was she a professional photographer? Ie did she make significant money from photography? Or was this just an ego thing?
    It 'appears' she is a full time photographer and has among other things, a wedding photography website which features 'alleged' stolen images and if you search examples of her work can still be found and judging by the stark difference in quality which is quite ordinary to poor, they are likely her own. You can view the shots I speak of here http://www.weddingmapper.com/plan/ve...ra_bell/293833

    It does appear that she has in recent years claimed the work of others as her own and built a professional profile and renown which may not have been available otherwise. A strong likelihood this assisted greatly in gaining work. If the shots in the above link can be used as a guide, it's highly unlikely any such renown could have been achieved and how she was able to maintain the charade with clients, I have no idea.

    It appears she not only claimed many images as her own but also added fictional stories to each describing where, when and how the image was achieved. Many of the descriptions/stories beggar believe when read by someone with a strong interest in and working knowledge of photography. But she certainly has a knack for telling a tale but not the broad knowledge needed to completely hide the fiction.

  12. #12
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I agree - it appears that ---. She certainly claimed to be a professional photographer and people thought of her as such, but how much photography did she really do? I don't think we can tell from what we can see on the web.

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