Depending on how you look at it.
It happened one afternoon a couple weeks ago when I got an unexpected call from Charming’s Mother.
They’d left our house just that morning and flown to Salt Lake City for a spell on their way home to Houston.
While they were here, we’d printed a bunch of pictures from our photo shoot and picked them up at Costco.
Afterwards we realized we’d forgotten to order one of the pictures she really wanted, so I uploaded it online for her to pick up in Salt Lake…..
The phone rang and I picked it up.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Heidi?” I immediately recognized my Mother-in-law’s voice.
“Yes, hello!!” I replied with a smile, so happy to hear from her, “How are you? How was your flight?”
“Oh it was good,” she replied, sounding a little distracted, “Except, I’m here at Sam’s Club in Salt Lake…..”
“Uh-huh,” I murmured, listening carefully.
“And I’m trying to buy the 8×10 picture you ordered here for us,” she explained.
“Oh, yes!” I responded, “The one of you two in red?”
“Yes, that’s right…..,” she trailed off.
“Is something wrong? Does it look okay?” I interjected, worried they’d cropped it funky or the colors looked bad or something like that.
“Oh, it looks great,” she quickly assured me, but then went on with disbelief in her voice, “But it’s the craziest thing–they won’t let me buy it!”
“What?” was the first thing out of my mouth.
“They won’t let me buy it!” she repeated, “The man says it looks like a professional picture and I can’t buy it unless you sign a release form for me.”
My mouth dropped as her words sunk in.
“Wait a minute….. You mean–you mean they think it’s copyrighted?!?” I said, flabbergasted and thrilled all at the same time.
“Yes!” she exclaimed, “Can you believe that?”
“No way,” I said slowly, “Did you tell him that a studio didn’t take it–that I took it?”
“Yes!” she replied, “I explained to him that my daughter-in-law just hung up some fabric from hooks in her bedroom and took it herself, but he doesn’t believe me. He says it looks professional and he can’t let me take it without the signed form.”
“Holy cow!” I exclaimed, “Well….. should I talk to him? Do you think that would that help?”
“No, I already asked him and he said there’s no way to know who you are–that you could be anyone,” she explained.
“That’s true,” I had to admit, wracking my brain for a solution.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, Ma’am, but I obey the law.'”
“Well, so do we!” I laughed, “It’s our picture–we’re telling him the truth!”
“That’s what I said!” she agreed, laughing, “But he still won’t let me have it!”
“Holy cow,” I said again, shaking my head in wonder.
Who would have guessed a few yards of fabric from Walmart would get me into this much trouble?
“I guess I’ll have to pretend I’m a professional and sign the release form,” I said, not seeing any other way out of it.
“I guess so!” she laughed again, “I’ll mail it to you and we can try this again in Houston.”
“That sounds good,” I agreed.
We eventually said goodbye and hung up.
Then I sat there for a couple minutes and for the first time in my life I wondered if that made me a real live photographer.
I laughed and brushed the thought aside.
Nawww, it couldn’t be!
….. Could it????