Quarry Girl: VegNews Photo Scandal.

Quarry Girl has uncovered a mind-blowing VegNews photo scandal. This morning when I read QuarryGirl's post about VegNews Magazine's food photos - and the news that many of the photos are non-vegan foods photo-shopped to look vegan - I gasped. Then I looked at my calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fool's Day again. It's not. Let's discuss...


****Update - 4/17

It's indeed time to move on.

OK, so I am kinda very much over this whole issue. I am glad VN got called out on their silly/frustrating meat photos - but I kinda want the drama to end. Kiss and make up. I'm all for that. However, I do still think VN needs to change their policy - and unlike many veg peeps out there I do not think a "vegan stock photo" website is the answer. I mean, if you really want to add vegan stock photos to the websites already made popular - go for it. Just tag them vegan. Plus more people will see them on the already popular sites like iStock and Shutterstock.

And for recipes, I don't think VN should use ANY stock photos. VN should be making their recipes that they publish - testing, tasting and photographing - the way food bloggers do. Or even at least testing/tasting and outsourcing the photos. The current formula is very unappealing - now that we know the secret.

So that's where I stand now. After the storm all I want is peace, calm and focus back on the animals. If you are pissed off at VegNews - fine. You are entitled to be. But don't continue to place your energy on them (anger does no good to anyone) - place your energy somewhere positive. And if you have forgiven VN - fine too. We all hold the right to our own opinion. But for the good of animals - now is the time to turn away from the drama, vote with your subscription (or lack of) and move on. Move on.

..And yes, as a longtime VegNews buyer/fan/devotee - I still feel a bit deceived, but I'm willing to forgive and keep buying their mag if they get rid of the animal product photos. Maybe it's because I am a visual person - but photos are SO important to me in a print publication. Please VN - make them veg!! OK, that's all. Love to everyone. VN, QuarryGirl, and all the awesome vegans who have displayed a passionate opinion during this whole ordeal. I LOVE that people are speaking out - no matter what side they are on.

..And i am glad that the media has picked up on this issue. I was thrilled that NPR linked to my blogpost in their post on this matter. I think now it is up to us to take advantage of the spotlight on #vegan and show the world how beautiful and delicious vegan photos can be! I love that Isa Chandra did a Fickr gallery "vegan food is beautiful" - yay on that.


UPDATE 4/14: My response to VegNews's response.

Not. Good. Enough.
SO telling: On VN's Facebook page, the post with their response has over 160+ comments (so far) and only 7 "likes" - wish they had a "dislike" button. So many intelligent comments from frustrated readers. I hope VN listens.

My thoughts on their response.. Why the shady pdf you have to download to read? Can't you just apologize on your site? Weird. Then to read that they "exhausted all options" to use other photo sources is absurd. They never emailed me for my rates. I would've given them a deal too! I still will, if they want to make this right. And I'm shocked that they aren't extinguishing this activity ASAP! I mean stop the presses, change the current files - do anything and everything to right this right now! Not "in the future"..

VegNews, make this RIGHT. You still can! No excuses. Sign some contracts with vegan photographers. I for one would work for you as cheap as needed to get some TRUE vegan pics in your pages. And if you need more examples of vegan photo talent check out I think it's clear VN readers DO NOT want to stick around if you continue this absurd stock photo policy.
****end update****

Wha? Seriously? As a vegan food photographer, someone who literally makes a living off of taking glorious, drool-worthy awesome photos of delicious vegan food, I find this appalling. I am beyond shocked and quite frankly, annoyed. I have been reading VegNews for over ten years now and now I feel, duped. But to be fair - I couldn't fully believe this news until I could uncover a duped photo for myself...

I received my latest TreeFree VegNews edition just a few days ago. So I scrolled through the pages. On page 68 there is a lovely photo of a Banana Cream Pie (vegan, right?) - WRONG. I searched on a few stock photo sites and in just a few minutes found the same photo on Shutterstock. It was labeled a "Coconut Cream Pie" - and I'm pretty much 100% positive this baby isn't vegan. Wow. Again, wtf? Sorry, but seriously VegNews - have you no shame??

Below is a screenshot from Shutterstock. You can find this very photo on page 68 of the latest VegNews mag - (for a vegan cream pie recipe)..

What do you guys think? Will you cancel your VegNews subscription? Would you like to see VegNews apologize and start using VEGAN photographers (like me!) in their magazine. Would you accept an apology? Are you annoyed? Mad? I want to hear your thoughts on this. And so does Quarry Girl - who ironically received a VegNews Award on her investigative reporting (aka, the "Scandal Breakers of the Year" Award) a few years back. Oh the irony.

And lastly, I really wanted to thank companies who DO use 100% vegan photos - they PAY for them - even though they might not have huge budgets. Folks like PCRM. I have done a few projects for them - including their Vegan Kickstart IPhone App - all the photos are 100% vegan - I know because I shot them!

I really hope VegNews can correct this issue
- it is horrible that non-vegan photographers are getting funded by VegNews to produce stock photos. As one QG commenter said, "it creates demand" - Why not give that support to freelance vegan photographers?? It makes me sad and angry.


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