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Judge Orders Photographer Pay $22,000 for Failing to Deliver Wedding

Judge Orders Photographer Pay $22,000 for Failing to Deliver Wedding

Judge Orders Photographer Pay $22,000 for Failing to Deliver Wedding 1

A judge has ordered a wedding photographer — who failed to provide the photos and videos to his clients for six years — pay a couple $22,000, chastising him for “deceitful behavior” and unsavory business practices.

As reported by the Vancouver Sun, Kaman and Ramandeep Rai — a couple from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada — originally hired photographer Aman Bal to take photos and videos of their wedding in 2015. Bal, who has operated as a photographer for nearly 20 years and who has also shot music videos and fashion shows in addition to weddings, claimed he withheld final products from the couple because they did not complete the final payment of $3,500.

Judge Valliammai Chettiar disagreed and cited the five times Bal had been sued in civil court between 2011 and 2019, saying that he showed a “pattern of deceitful behavior that frustrates innocent people to the extent that they just give up” and stop pursuing him.

“There is not a shred of evidence to support this assertion,” said Chettiar with regard to Bal’s claim that the couple did not complete payment. “He appeared to be making up answers on the spur of the moment.”

She then called him an unreliable witness and rejected his evidence.

The couple said that they had sent repeated texts for the first two and a half years requesting the completed photos and videos, and were given repeated assurances that delivery was coming. Initially, he represented himself as “Elite Images” but told the couple in 2018 that he no longer worked there and said that the images and video were being worked on by someone else, but was unable to say who that would be or what company they worked for. He was also unable to tell them where their photos or videos were.

Judge Chettiar said that it was clear that Bal purposely made his contracts confusing.

“[Bal] deliberately used different names in his dealings with the Rais, creating confusion and possibly a path for him to escape liability, if necessary, by obscuring the true identity of the contracting party,” she ruled.

“The court must denunciate such behavior and deter Mr. Bal for further victimizing others from his unsavory business practices,” she continued, clearly upset at the defendant as she uses language that is normally reserved for criminal trials in this civil case.

The court awarded Kaman and Ramandeep Rai $7,000 for the cost it would take to turn the raw photos and videos into albums and other finished products, and another $10,000 for mental distress. Bal was also ordered to pay $5,000 in punitive damages for a total of $22,000 in penalties for the photographer. In determining the fees, Judge Chettier cited the delay, mental distress, missed opportunities to share wedding memories, and the lack of peace the couple suffered as well as the legal fees that were necessary to bring the matter to court.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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Trying and Failing To Do Good: The Hard Lesson Sia Is Learning About Responsibility for False Representation in Creative Work

Trying and Failing To Do Good: The Hard Lesson Sia Is Learning About Responsibility for False Representation in Creative Work

There is something uniquely hurtful about being mocked. In Sia’s attempt to empower neurodiverse people, she’s hurt and offended many. Was she wrong to try the way she did, or is the world just trolling her?

For those that don’t know about the controversy swirling around one of the most famous pop stars of the day, Sia, I’ll give you the spark notes. Sia recently released a trailer for her upcoming movie, “Music,” which features Maddie Zeigler portraying a nonverbal woman on the autism spectrum, named Music. Ms. Zeigler is not, in fact, on the autism spectrum, nor is she considered by the public to be neurodiverse. This has been the root of the controversy. While some might argue that Ms. Zeigler is merely “acting” as a nonverbal autistic woman, others might consider it “pretending” or even “mocking” those with the most extreme cases of autism. 

Why Does Autism Community Care?

There are many dimensions to measure the spectrum of autism. Most notably, individuals on the autism spectrum demonstrate social interactions, communication abilities, and behaviors that differ from neurotypical individuals of the same age. Adults on the autism spectrum may experience barriers in multiple areas, such as accessing quality healthcare and finding sustained employment and are significantly more likely than the general population to have many physical and mental health conditions. 

While the trailer is very brief and does not provide much insight as to the dynamic between Music and her friends, people have already been speculating that the film will portray the autism community in a negative light. Perhaps the most hurtful aspect of what people do know is that Sia did not employ someone on the autism spectrum to play the lead character in her movie. 

Trying and Failing To Do Good: The Hard Lesson Sia Is Learning About Responsibility for False Representation in Creative Work 2

Screenshot from Music’s trailer

Where Is the Line Drawn?

From Sia’s perspective, I can understand the frustration that people who have never seen the movie are already dismissing it as “hurtful” and “tone-deaf.” Regardless of the project, budget, or timeline for a project, there are always limitations. Sia has argued that her movie had only the best intentions (and that may well be true) but that she needed to work with someone with advanced skills in communication and acting to achieve her vision for the film. She asserts that if she chose to cast someone with the degree of communication challenges as Music had, the movie would not have been possible to make. While some may find that this is a perfectly legitimate argument to make, her extreme and patronizing reactions to the public’s negative response have only made matters worse for her. 

From the perspective of the autism community and neurodiverse community more broadly, why not hire a neurodiverse actress? Why not an actress on the autism spectrum? There are many actors and actresses on the autism spectrum that Sia could have considered. I can see from their perspective that it’s insulting to hire someone so distinctly different from the character they’re intended to portray, that an actor or actress who does not have the lived experience of someone on the autism spectrum is not capable of portraying that experience accurately, respectfully, and tactfully. 

The idea that Sia has tried to make a movie to convey the idea that the world can be a safe, accepting, and loving space for people on the autism spectrum is a noble one. Unfortunately, she has failed to authentically and earnestly engage with the community that she aims to help with her movie at all phases of this project — research and development of the movie — and now in promoting the movie. 

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How Kodak is Seeking to Reinvent Itself After Failing to Adapt

How Kodak is Seeking to Reinvent Itself After Failing to Adapt

The Wall Street Journal recently released a mini-doc that tells the entire story of Kodak—a story of a once-dominant company that made its name in film, and is now seeking to reinvent itself as a drug company after struggling to adapt to a future they, in fact, helped to bring about.

This short 8-minute “documentary” is unofficially titled The Rise and Fall of Kodak, and much of the story it tells will be familiar to photographers the world over.

The video starts with the origins of Kodak, explaining how George Eastman made photography accessible to the masses through the magic of transparent roll film—an invention that revolutionized image making, enabled the invention of the motion picture, and made Kodak the “Google” or “Apple” of its heyday. Then, in 1978, Kodak patented the technology that would ultimately spearhead its downfall: the digital camera.

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Unable to envisage a future where film was not the company’s cash cow that bankrolled all of its other experiments and “moonshots”—imagine Google deciding to give up its Search and Advertising business to pursue an avenue that was actually losing hundreds of millions each year—Kodak’s star would ultimately peak in 1988.

From there, due to increasing competition from Fujifilm and, eventually, the rise of the smartphone, Kodak’s digital decline accelerated until the company famously filed for bankruptcy and left the digital camera business entirely in 2012.

Since then, it’s been a game of selling off businesses, pivoting its main business into various commercial industries, and licensing its brand name to third parties in an attempt to keep cash flowing and stay afloat. Along the way, we’ve seen some truly strange creations, like KODAKCoin cryptocurrency and the Kodak KashMiner bitcoin mining machine.

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Which, finally, brings us up to the present day and Kodak’s headline-grabbing attempt to reinvent itself into a pharmaceutical company with $765 million in help from the US Government. The rest is… well… not so much “history” and “history in the making” while we wait to see if the loan actually goes through, or if allegations of insider trading ultimately sink this deal.

The mini-doc does a great job of covering the entire history of the Kodak company from its inception to the present day, all in about 8 minutes. Of course, each chapter of Kodak’s history, why it failed where Fujifilm didn’t, and the myriad third-party products with “Kodak” slapped on them have all gotten individual posts here on PetaPixel, which you can fin in our archives.

But if you want to get caught up on everything that has happened to this once-iconic photography company over the past 5+ decades without going down a blog post rabbit hole, check out the full video up top.

(via Reddit)

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