I occasionally get e-mails and letters from students who have seen my photography and want to ask questions or just tell me how much they enjoy the work. Invariably, the younger the age of the writer, the more charming the notes and letters are, sometimes even including crayon drawings and recommendations of foods they would like to see me photograph. Having been an avid letter writer in my younger years, and knowing the disappointment I felt when I never got a response from my heroes, I always try to respond.
But today I received something a bit more sinister: a handwritten note from Paris – including a blank white card and a self-addressed stamped envelope – from someone pretending to be a fan requesting an autograph. A bit of quick research turned up other cases of the exact same letter being sent to artists over at least the past eight years. It was impressive in its use of proper English, that it is actually hand-written, and that it is personally tailored to me, using my name and mentioning the name of my Big Appetites photographs.
It's clearly some sort of identify theft attempt or even a method by which someone could duplicate my photographs and apply my signature to the verso of those phony prints.