“How can anyone SELL my work photos?” Anastasia Hutsaliuk goes mad after seing pics of her works among stock images

Posted on Mar 17, 2019

A Ukrainian lashmaker was shocked when she saw other artists around the world using pictures of her works under their own names. 

And they were not cheating - the photos were legally sold as stock images. 

You may not have heard her name but there’s a sure bet that you have seen her works recently. 

Pictures of Anastasia Hutsaliuk’s lash models have appeared on popular Instagram pages and advertising banners worldwide. 

But that’s not exactly the fame that she wanted. 

Her photographer uploaded the pictures from a lash shoot to a popular stock photo website - and now everyone can buy them and pretend her works are their own. 

Lashlandia reached out Anastasia to find out how a trivial photo shoot turned out to be a haunting nightmare

Anastasia, your story is really an incredible one. We are all looking forward to know the details. But first of all tell us a bit about yourself. How did it all started?

- To begin with, I am a lash fan, I mean, I really love what I’m doing. Lashes are literally everywhere around me: on the smartphone, on my laptop, on the floor, inside the food plates.

In fact I like taking pictures of my works myself - it's so much fun! But I’m far from being a pro in photo post-processing, skin retouching. 

After all, I’m not sure if I can get a good shot. 

So I needed a person who would make it right. And I found the one who understood what I wanted. 

She could get the right lightning and her pictures reflected the thickness of lashes, the sharpness of shapes as well as the beauty of my models. 

Pictures were of good glossy magazine quality but what was even more important that it’s the lashes that looked salient there.  She was my ideal photographer. 

- But then something apparently went wrong?

- Not really. I mean working with her was perfect. We started making shoots every week.

 I would spend more and more money on my model’s makeup, would go crazy inventing new looks. 

I couldn’t wait for next Sunday to work my magic on my another model’s lashes. 

Pics were getting better and better. I got plenty of warm words on social networks from artists around the world. That was so nice! 

- But at the same time you started to receive some alarming messages, right?

- True. People started to tell me that my works look somewhat… familiar. Like they saw them somewhere on Facebook and Instagram. 

And that many artists use them on their own accounts. 

- How could that happen? 

- I was very confused. My works are like my children, how could anyone else use them? 

First I saw pictures from my shoot on the account of one girl from London, I would better not give her name. It was not a single photo but several of them. 

"Every single picture from all our photo shoots was there - for sale"

- At first I was flattered, I thought “cool, my works seem to inspire other people.” But then I saw her name and logo on my pictures and then, jokes aside, I went into frenzy. 

I’m a hot-tempered person, so I just wrote her an angry message saying something like “shame on you, how could you steal my works and pretend that they are yours.” 

And then, one can only imagine how shocked I was when she wrote back that she had bought these works and had every right to use them the way she liked.  

I was going out of my mind. How could anyone sell my works? Unbelievable! 

- It is surely puzzling. Where did she bought your works?

- Soon I found a website called Shutterstock where photographers from all over the world sell their images. Everyone can buy them. When I first entered this website I was so upset! 

Every single picture from all our photo shoots was there - for sale. 

My pictures conquered the world  - I saw my works on Instagram and Facebook pages of artists from  UK, USA, Germany, Italy, some African countries. 

- That’s fame, you know!

- Yes, but not the one I was looking for! My photos spread around the world but I always saw another name on them. 

I’m also a judge on international championships and master classes. Organizers also noticed that photos of my works were looking familiar. 

They started to ask questions, they started to suspect that I had just bought pictures of works instead of having created them by myself. I was in despair. 

Of course, I tried to explain the whole thing. Still I felt that they didn’t  fully trust me but couldn't do anything about it. 

"To obtain exclusive rights you have to conclude a special contract with your photographer"

- Who uploaded the photos on that website? That must have been your photographer. 

- Yes, she confessed that she had done it. I asked her about it and she said that normally she does not ask the artist for permission to publish the photos on this website, only the models. 

She claimed my models had allowed her to do that. Well, in fact only one model agreed for this. 

All other girls saw her for the first time during the shoot and for sure did not give her any permissions. 

In the end she apologized saying that couldn't predict that it would lead to such an outcome. 

- Did you sue her? 

- No, I did not. Legally, I couldn’t bring any charges because it turned out that I did not have exclusive rights for my works. 

As I found out later, just buying the photo shoot does not mean that the pictures are fully yours. 

To obtain exclusive rights you have to conclude a special contract with your photographer. 

- Did you manage to resolve the situation? 

- After discussing the case inside and out we understood that there’s nothing to be done here, the photos have already spread around the world and you can’t turn it back. 

She apologized many times, after all I know she is a great photographer and a good person. 

I demanded to delete the images from the website but she claimed that it would be very hard to do and moreover pointless as they have already been sold many times. 

Maybe it’s little consolation but she offered me 3 free photo shoots and I accepted that. 

- Was it hard to restore your reputation? 

- I thought the best strategy would be to tell the lash world that I am really the artist who created all these pretty airy lashes that everyone knows now.  

On the one hand I’m pleased to see my works going places. 

It's great to see my wonderful mega push-up lashes on ad banners of lash companies, on websites of various lash studios, on Instagram pages of American lash schools and academies. 

On the other hand it hurts when I realize that some less professional lashmakers unfairly mark my photos as their own. 

- Maybe there’s something you can say to such lashmakers?

- What can I say? I am really happy that you like my works, that they inspire you. But using other people’s works won’t make you a better artist. 

Each of us is unique and talented in her or his own way. I believe that you can become a better professional. Attend courses, work, strive for excellence. 

Very soon you will be proud to publish your own works that will inspire others. I wish you to find your own individuality. Love lashes as I do! 

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