Art photographer desperate to get missing images back
A fine arts photographer is appealing for the return of thousands of tapu photographs stolen from her Otaki home in 2011, images she claims are with a Porirua family.
Victoria Ginn’s portfolio of 5000 photos, including sensitive and sacred images of rituals, masks, ancestor bones and men’s houses from the Pacific, Europe and Asia, disappeared when her laptop was stolen in September 2011. She did not have a backup for the last five years’ worth of digital photos.
Ms Ginn says she had been on a work trip to New York at the time and a Porirua family living in her rental cottage had offered to keep an eye on the place.
Police investigated but there was not enough evidence to proceed against the tenants, who Ms Ginn suspected of committing the burglary. She evicted them in October 2011.
Last year her laptop was tracked to a Titahi Bay address when somebody bought a car through TradeMe using her name. The laptop was returned to Ms Ginn but all the photos had been wiped.
‘‘I was beside myself with rage,’’ she says. ‘‘I’ve had my standing compromised by the loss of five years’ of work. [It’s] a huge affront and insult to all the people I’ve photographed,’’ she says.
Titahi Bay- raised Ms Ginn believes copies of the files were made and she values them at $60,000.
Ms Ginn says the photos are easily recognisable as her work, so the thief would be unable to sell them. Any sale would also be illegal as the copyright belongs to her. Ms Ginn is asking for the work to be returned.
‘‘I’m appealing to their better natures, to their conscience and their own good, to the future of their own well being. Would they like photographs of their grannies and sacred tribal culture to be taken?’’
Anyone with information about the stolen photographs can contact Victoria Ginn on 06 367 2284, or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Stolen images: An example of Otaki photographer Victoria Ginn’s work. She says 5000 photos were stolen from her laptop in 2011.