Scrapbooking Scandal

I got a kick out of this front page, LA Times article  about a "scandal" in the scrapbooking world. Scrapbooker Kristina Contes was inducted into Creating Keepsake magazine’s Scrapbooking Hall of Fame based on an entry she did that included photographs of herself. Contes asked Creating Keepsakes to be sure to credit the photographer who took the pictures, which they did. When Contes’ winning entry was published, with Contes and the photographer credited, scrapbookers went into a tizzy because the contest rules stated that entrants had to produce everything they used themselves — and by using an outside photographer, Contes broke the rules. Apparently, neither Creating Keepsakes nor Contes realized the mistake until it was too late. But in the aftermath, Contes has been  ostracized by Talafan scrapbookers, accused of being immoral and the scrapbooking equivalent of Marion Jones.

I know nothing about this scandal except what I read in the article. But it strikes me as utterly ridiculous. Contes didn’t try to hide anything. The "scandal" erupted because she honorably sought credit for the photographer, not because she was trying to pass off someone else’s work as her own. Not only that, but Creative Keepsakes was aware of it and also didn’t see a problem. So, basically, Contes made an innocent mistake and is being crucified by insane scrapbookers  for being honorable and doing the right thing.

What is really astonishing is that this non-scandalous scandal makes the front page of the LA Times while the Cassie Edwards situation, a real case of blatant plagiarism and dishonesty, is buried in a tiny bit in the Calender section.

UPDATE 1-13-2008: My sisters Linda Woods and Karen Dinino, authors of JOURNAL REVOLUTION and VISUAL CHRONICLES, blogged about this idiotic scandal. I laughed out loud at this comment from Jane Devin, one of their readers:

If all materials in the scrapbook had to be
produced by the artist, as the article and apparently the rules state,
where does this leave collages, magazine clippings and pics, special
paper. . .or any paper for that matter? If rubber stamps were used, did
they have to make their own? Did they have to use beet juice for paint,
and if so who grew the beet?

And, as Maria pointed out, what about using childhood pics? Or some
other tangible thing — say a bead, or a matchbook? Would the rules
exclude those because they were created by someone else?


12 thoughts on “Scrapbooking Scandal”

  1. Have you heard anything about the controversy surrounding “fanscrappers”? Instead of creating original works, they take elements from the work of scrapbookers they admire, rearrange them, add elements–often sexual–that are not part of the original, and then defend to the death their right to do what they want with the intellectual property of others.

  2. I’m involved in the scrapbook industry as a business consultant. Frankly, many of us are sick to death of Kristina Contes’ whining and finger pointing. The fact of the matter is that she should have read the rules – they clearly stated at ALL WORK, including photos, must be the original work of the artist. She didn’t read the rules.
    The scrapbook magazine who ran the contest wasn’t inclined to enforce the rules after it came out she had broken them. Which is illegal. This contest has been plagued by accusations of fraud and favoritism for years. I guess it may have caught up with them.
    But, really 99% of us are just trying to get our photos on paper with their stories. And, it’s NOT with teddy bear stickers – that was ridiculous and made us all out to look like freaks. For some like Kristina, scrapbooking is about “art”, but for most of us, it’s about remembering our last trip to Disneyland.

  3. Your jealousy is showing, Kim. If anyone made a mistake, it’s the judges for not realizing Kristina’s entry was ineligible when she asked for her photographer to be credited. Like Lee said, Kristina did the honorable thing and is getting trashed for it.

  4. Jealousy of what? I have no interest in having my scrapbook pages published. I’m not jealous of anyone or anything. They (KC and CK) were both wrong. One for not reading the rules and one for not enforcing them. That’s how contests go. If the entrant doesn’t follow the rules, then the sponsor has an obligation to toss their entry. Plain and simple. Once KC let the magazine know someone else had taken her photos, then the magazine should have immediately said, “We’re sorry, then, you can’t be awarded the prize.” It’s a matter of legality and integrity.

  5. Kim,
    So the fault is with the magazine for not double-checking the eligibility of their entries, not with the artist…which is why it’s ridiculous and unfair that she is getting attacked by scrapbookers.
    She used a photographer and acknowledged it from the get-go. There was no deception or dishonesty on her part. Why should is she being attacked for acting ethically and honestly?

  6. Kim Guymon and the rest of the scrapbookers strike me as a bunch of deeply jealous, petty, and unhappy women who are sick with envy at Kristina’s immense talent.

  7. Lee,
    She did NOT acknowledge it from the get-go. It was only after the book that has all the winners in it was ready for publication did she say, “Oh, yeah, that photo was taken by…” I don’t believe she set out to trick anyone. But, she should have read the rules as they clearly stated that the photos must be HER original work. So, it was an error she made by not reading. But, then CK refused to address it and correct it until forced to by the villagers who had pitchforks and torches. They had a legal obligation to enforce the rules after it came out that she had not followed them.
    It’s like finding out your new Miss America is actually married (didn’t that happen somewhere recently?). Does the Miss America group then say, “Oh, well, she must not have understood?” Or, do they say, “No, we have rules that must be enforced.” This started out as an error on her part. I believe many people were upset because I don’t think the scrapper showed any regret for the error. Most of us take responsibility for our actions – even mistakes. If Kristina had said, “I’m sorry. I’m withdrawing – I didn’t understand the rules”, then it would have gone away quickly. But, I don’t believe that happened. She still felt like she deserved to win despite violating the rules either knowingly or unknowingly. And, THAT is when it got ugly.
    This is about the integrity of a contest (and a magazine) more than anything else. Kristina is less the “bad girl” than the magazine who really didn’t want to do anything about it. Why should anyone read the rules when you REALLY don’t have to follow them??
    It was interesting to watch, but really, in the grand scheme of the universe, it was silly.


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