Storyteller Images Victims

August 21, 2009 7:48:22 PM PDT
A Clovis photographer promised her clients a storybook account of their wedding day, but the couples' say experience has been anything but a fairytale. Former clients of Starlene Todd of "Storyteller Images" say trying to get their promised products has become a nightmare. "This is all we have, three pictures we ordered, right after we got married," says Briana Van der Schaaf of Visalia. She just celebrated her third wedding anniversary. But instead of flipping through her wedding album, she's says she left with paper proofs and a lot of disappointment, "Just frustration and sadness, I don't understand, it's not like this was my prom. This was my wedding."

In 2006 Briana says she hired Clovis photographer Starlene Todd of "Storyteller Images" for $4600. The wedding came and went and all seemed well ... until it came time to deliver the albums and she says Todd seemed to disappear: "I hadn't heard anything so that's when I started calling her and that's when I found out her number was disconnected and my heart just fell. Because she avoids phone calls and avoids contact it feels like she truly is trying to steal my money, just take my money and go."

After Briana's mother-in-law died without seeing any wedding albums, she and her husband got fed up and hired private detective Rocky Pipkin to find the elusive photographer. Pipkin says Todd agreed to hand over the discs to him, but never did.

Several of Todd's clients say they've had similar experiences. They say Todd shot their weddings but never delivered on their promised products either. The women formed a Facebook group called "Storyteller Images Victims." Briana told us, "There's 7 of us that don't have our pictures and it really makes me sad there are others who have to go through this exact same thing."

One member-- Denise Buskett Davis of Clovis-- just celebrated her second wedding anniversary without her albums: "And I feel like it's emotional terrorism, because I can't go get the pictures anywhere else." Denise's contract with Todd clearly states if Storyteller Images were to go out of business, the client would receive the high-resolution images and all rights to them. "If I had to choose, I'd choose the CD over the money, I mean out 2900 dollars but the pictures are worth a lot more than that to me."

Action News contacted Starlene Todd for comment. She declined an interview, and promised to answer questions via e-mail. She never did. Todd's former Clovis photography studio sits empty and abandoned. Earlier this week, Action News confronted Todd at her Clovis home.

Todd came out of the house and tried to avoid us. She drove away, nearly running over me and my photographer. The Fresno County District Attorney's office is reviewing complaints from Todd's alleged victims, but has not made a decision yet on whether to pursue the case.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=101237598795

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