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Lemony Snicket and the perils of stock photography

Here’s a cautionary tale about using stock photography. Grove Press loved the cover of the German edition of Sasa Stanisic’s first novel, How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, so they used it for the U.S. edition, too. There was a surprise in store.

From New York Times reporter Dwight Garner’s blog, Papercuts:

Grove did all this without noticing that the man on the cover and the catalog is none other than Daniel Handler, the well-known novelist, musician and author of the Lemony Snicket books.


Handler “ who says he found Stanisic’s novel charming “ thinks he knows how this all happened in the first place.

A friend of mine, Meredith, took a lot of photos of me at one point early in my career, and I was scarcely able to pay her. I said she could sell them wherever she wanted. And some of them ended up at Getty, filed not under my name but under ˜assorted’ or something.

There’s a happy ending though, as Handler gave Grove permission to use the image, setting a new standard for least scandalous pre-career photos.