You’re never quite as anonymous as you think when you’re online. Not when you surf, network, or e-mail and certainly not when you steal. Digital files have fingerprints and digital photos can even have names. Dana Dawes Photography in Atlanta just found that out the hard way. She was offering her services at a huge discount on the website Groupon when a poster noticed there was a big difference in the quality of the photos she had displayed on her web site.

The poster, known as SP, wrote “I looked at her website and realized that as a pro myself, her lighting and conversions didn’t match up. I then took one of her images off her website and un-distorted it, and then placed it through a recognition software that brought up this – http://morgaineowensphotography.com/?p=924 — THIS is the owner of the photograph, not Dana Dawes.” Wow! Sadly it didn’t end there.

Tanya Shields is a friend of mine here in Halifax and a very talented maternity photographer. SP struck again with the software and brought up one of her photos being displayed on Dawes site. Not only that but Dawes watermarked it as well.

Not to be burned Shields contacted Dawes to get it sorted out and was pretty much feed a line of bull. Dawes blamed it on her web site designer who by pure chance had the same name and initials as a poster on Groupon who was defending her. It also didn’t help that Dawes Facebook page, since removed, featured the very same stolen photos. Nor the fact that she originally blamed it all on a hacker – as if a hacker would hack her site, put stolen photos exactly where they were supposed to be, and then do the very same thing to her Facebook page. Sorry but that smells all the way up here in Canada folks.

Screenshots of the crime are available here. The Groupon thread is a good read if you have time to kill and PetaPixel has reported on this as well.

Dawes web site has been suspended and her career in commercial photography has been pretty much gutted. Kudos for the host company for taking her site down. You can send Tanya some love here.