The Cross House

FURY at the Cross House

Today, when I was a block away from the Cross House, I looked at the house…and my brain could not process what I was seeing.


As my car continued, things came into focus.

Standing on my front stone steps was a young woman in a huge pink wedding dress. Standing next to her was the groom. A few feet away, standing on my lawn, were the obvious parents. Near the sidewalk was a photographer.

My blood instantly boiled. I was enraged.

My car turn the corner, I slammed on the brakes, and watched as the photographer turned towards me. I pressed the electric window switch.

Oh. I knew the photographer.

And I loathed her.


About two years ago, a woman stopped by the house unannounced. She was a photographer and wanted to take some pictures with a few models inside the house. She made no mention of any fee being paid. I let her inside, and she was very excited and asked if she could schedule a shoot. I warily agreed.

The day arrived. It was blistering and the house was an oven as the AC was not connected.

The photographer arrived. Late. Then the “few models” arrived. Late. While a “few” had been promised, eight very young women stepped inside, and all dressed in big gowns and with a ton of make-up on (something rarely seen in rural Kansas). As the photographer set up, the girls chatted away and I thought: How did a bunch of Valley Girls get in my house?

I could listen to no more so wandered to find the photographer. She was in the backyard hauling large antique chairs and lighting out from her truck. I watched as she struggled to bring everything inside. I wondered where her assistant was.

Because my mother raised me right I said, gritting my teeth: “Can I help?”

“Oh! That would be great!”

I cursed my mother.


Normally, I would be glad to help a person struggling with something. But…I had the uneasy feeling of, I dunno, being used. My intuition was on high alarm. Something was wrong.

The photographer had promised a 90 minute session. So, I knew I could leave at 4PM. But her late arrival, and the even later arrival of the gaggle of Valley Girls, meant that they didn’t get started until 3:30.

When 4PM ticked by, it was obvious that they would not be leaving soon. By 4:15 I was mad. By 4:30, with my face glowering, I asked: “Will you be done soon? I needed to leave a half-hour ago.”

The photographer, furiously clicking away and not turning towards me, replied: “Oh, just a few more minutes.”

4:40 ticked by.

4:50 ticked by.

5:00 ticked by.

5:10 ticked by.

My anger was now volcanic.

I stepped into the latest room they were in. “You said you would be finished by 4. It’s now 5:20. I need to leave, NOW!”

The Valley Girls, dripping with sweat, glared at me.


Soon after, the girls left. I offered none of them a paper towel.

The photographer struggled with her chairs and equipment and I was determined not to help. But…I know, I know…I did. With sweat pouring down my body, I hauled out two large antique chairs downstairs and out to her car.

Damn my mother.

The photographer offered a quick thank you and asked if she could return. This shocked me, and I just stared at her. She then said she would forward copies of the images she took, and then drove off.

It was 5:50.

And I felt totally abused.

Are you surprised that no images were ever forwarded?


The next year I heard a loud knocking on the front door. As I walked towards the glass door I recognized the visitor.

She was back.

I opened the door but only enough to stick my head out. I did not say hello.

“Hi! I don’t know if you will remember but I I took some photographs last year and was wondering if I could schedule another shoot?”

This stunned me. Could a person really be this oblivious?

“No. That would not be possible.” And I closed the door.

I knew my mother would not approve. However, I experienced the thrill of a a tiny victory.


Today, as the photographer turned towards me, I recognized her.

It was her.


A level of absolute fury welled up in me that could have lighted the whole city if tapped unto.

It was her.

With my window now open, she started to speak but I cut her off. With each of my words radioactive with controlled fury I said: “You are on private property. And you did not not even have the courtesy of asking permission. GET OFF MY PROPERTY AND NEVER RETURN!”

She started to reply. I drove away.

Reaching the driveway, MY driveway, I could not get in because her car was blocking it. Crazed from anger, I drove half-way onto the grass, around her car, and then to my usual spot. Picking up the cat carrier (with a sick kitty in it), I took the side steps onto the porch and walked towards the front doors, determined not to look at the trespassers. Out of the corner of my eye though I saw a huge pink dress scurry off.

Moment later, the car left.


My level of anger shocked me. I mean, it was not like they were damaging anything, and I doubted that the bride and groom knew that they were trespassing.

But I felt profoundly violated. I felt abused, screwed over. I felt disrespected.

And then I wondered: How many times had the photographer done this without my knowledge?

(NOTE: The kitty is fine.)



31 Responses to FURY at the Cross House

  1. You were totally right to tell her to go! And the entitled spoiled abusing nerve of her!!!!
    The gall of some people!

    I hope your kitty is ok,and that you’re able to do whatever you need to do to find peace again.

    Your house – your peace!!!!

    Hugs of support to you!

  2. I’ve been a professional photographer for over 20 years. Photographers who do this kind of thing make me furious. It’s people like them who make it harder for legitimate photographers like me to do our jobs.

    I’m so sorry you had to deal with her (even in a small way) today.

  3. In Canada we have the Better Business Bureau to make people aware of scams. It would be nice if you had some way to let people know that this woman trespasses on private property while doing her job. I certainly would not deal with someone who is essentially a thief. I also would not want my wedding pictures taken under such circumstances. People should know that you have never given permission for wedding photos to be taken at the Cross house. I feel violated for you. Glad the cat is okay.

  4. -Although my mother would have agreed with yours, I would be tempted to consult a lawyer. Perhaps a restraining order and a fee for using your house without permission. You must know the photographer’s name. If you posted it on this site it might be a bit much, but, I suspect if you did, she would find herself with a lot less work in Emporia. Your neighbors post complimentary things so often that perhaps a little blackballing of her work is in order. I know, mother wouldn’t approve. I just feel angry for and with you at this gross behavior. Why is it that so few people show respect anymore?

  5. You did the right thing. Who does she think she is? Time to put up no trespassing, private property. I would have been as infuriated as you. I may have even called 911 and filed a report. She needs to be tought a lesson.

  6. I would report the photographer to the BBB. If she claims to be a member of a professional association (Professional Photographers of America, American Photographic Artists, National Association of Child Photographers, etc.), then I would report her actions to them. If she is a member of a business association (Chamber of Commerce, say), then I would report her to them as well.

    You might also ask a couple of trusted neighbors to keep an eye on the place when you’re not there, and ask them to call you if she shows up (ahd photograph her on your property, if they can).

    Of course, I have actually yelled at a bunch of kids to get off my lawn.

  7. What an entitled little spot of scum. You did the right thing and no doubt with a great deal more graciousness and courtesy then I would have afforded them. Though I rather feel for the bride and groom as well. Assuming they didnt know beforehand what that photographer was pulling, they must have been embarrassed. I know I would have been mortified. Good on you for shutting it down in a dignified manner.

  8. But it must be said, I don’t blame them for their choice of venue. If you take anything away from this unpleasant encounter, let it be that you are in possession of the most beautiful house in emporia!

  9. The nerve!! I concur with all the responses here and will add only that you need to send her an invoice! She is profiting from the use of your property. A minimum half day rate would be in order … somewhere between three and five hundred or whatever the market rates are in your area. As an aside, how much you want to bet she doesn’t carry liability insurance?

  10. I’m furious just reading this!! It is a beautiful house so I would understand an admiring snap from the sidewalk, but to be on your lawn?? Up on your steps!?! There are many inexpensive little security cameras available that can be triggered by movement and record/notify you on your phone – I would be investing in one of those and notifying the police if any tresspassing happens again!

  11. I know exactly how you feel. I experienced similar feelings when I owned the house on Constitution. You were not out of line for what you said. Thankfully, you have had more positive experiences with people showing interest in YOUR house than negative. Hopefully, she got the message.

  12. My experience is when I am that angry it’s a sign that it’s justified. The stupid thing is that if a normal considerate person had asked you probably wouldn’t have minded perhaps you could have negotiated a small fee but this women doesn’t sound like a normal considerate person. I sincerely hope that she felt embarrassed and humiliated. She deserved it.

  13. Her parents obviously never taught her that manners cost nothing but give a great deal. The fact that she was so late in the first instance shows how little respect she has for you and your time.

  14. My apologies Ross that you had to be subjected to such crass behavior.
    1) Good that you told her and her clients that she is trespassing (bad reputation for her). And “NEVER TO RETURN”. You gave her fair warning.
    2) Your house, your rules.
    3) Chin rubs to the kittycat.

  15. I would have been outraged! I agree with the others- find out where she advertises and give her very bad reviews.
    What if the bride tripped over her wedding dress and broke something…you could have been sued! This woman photographer is dangerous and beyond unprofessional!

  16. Fury is an understatement!

    Unacceptable beyond belief and all other epithets follow … I agree a security camera with video and alerts should be on the property with a posted sign…also kind neighbors who love you and your rejuvenation of Cross House could be alerted…

    This awful person could be publishing photos she ‘says are in “her” house.’and this person is the reason paparazzi are hated!

    Please please please– alert the authorities in case she returns unannounced… again & someone is hurt… legal ramifications could ensue!


  17. Oh my, the nerve! I totally agree with all of the above. Yes, as a matter of fact, Wal-Mart does carry low priced security cameras that will hook up with your cell phone and let you know if someone is trespassing. Also, if you put No Trespassing signs and Posted signs on your property, anyone trespassing can be arrested. At least that’s the law in my town. I’ve had an idiot neighbor come on my property and threaten me over nonsense. The signs went up the next day. Thankfully the former neighbor is now in jail. Very glad kitty is doing better.

  18. My guess, the bride and groom had no idea. That being said I’m sure they are spreading the word about her. No one would want to be embarrassed like that on their wedding day. That lady must be desperate for work. I can’t believe she did that even after you told her no. She was so wrong on so many levels. Yup, signs are in order but I doubt she would care. Maybe you need to post a disclaimer of some kind in the news paper to protect yourself. I bet the local news paper would love to post an article! Good for you for standing your ground in a dignified way.

  19. Ross, your anger is totally justified. Do you know her name? You could ask her for all the photos she has taken without your permission at your house. . She told you once that she would send you pics. Threaten legal action if she doesn’t produce them.
    You said the right thing and I urge you to find a way to figure out how to change your experience from one of victim to power.

  20. Your anger is wholly justified. I know I am very possessive of my…possessions..I hardly ever let anyone drive my car and always tell people to be respectful of my car and keep it clean and try not to soil my seats…Now If I had such a house as Cross house….THAT would be an entire other story. I would likely be as harsh as you if not more.

  21. This is obviously a person who disrespects others without a thought, walks all over people, and cares for no one’s feeling but her own. Your instincts were correct about her during that first encounter, and your anger knows it!

    I don’t know how your police department is, but perhaps you can file a report. Tell them that this person keeps hounding you, doesn’t take no for an answer, and trespasses. Then get the cameras that alert your phone so you can call them from wherever you are to let them know if she comes back.

    I’m so sorry you had to deal with such an inconsiderate person. You’re such a nice, thoughtful guy, brightening the neighborhood and saving kitties. You don’t need this crap.

  22. Check her portfolio – I wonder how many times she has done this. A no trespass order is par for the course here, they’re hopefully as easy to get in Kansas as my state of Washington (oh, the joys of tending bar). It would be wise to at least send something certified mail should it continue to be a problem. Consider a fee for every time she uses your home without permission in lieu of not pressing charges. And last but not least, a sign that reads “Private Residence, Tours by Appointment” and has am email address you can check when you feel like.

  23. Agree with everyone else about the security cameras. Dying to know which photographer it was but I know you have too much class to tell (also, why give them free publicity). Hope she got the message and doesn’t bother you again.

  24. Hi Ross,
    You are a good man! That was clearly abusive and you had every right to be angry. I can guarantee that she doesn’t allow use or reproduction of her images without payment and she has a heck of a lot less invested.
    Owning a local landmark is a mixed bag. On the one hand you want to share the place with your community and on the other hand people act like you owe it to them to look around and use it as a set.
    They appreciate it’s beauty but show no respect for your work, sacrifice and $$$ get it to that stage and what more it will take to finish it (as if one is truly ever finished).
    I installed wireless cameras and a wireless alarm because some jerk kicked our 130 year old basement door to splinters and liberated some of our possessions. One downside of the wireless cameras is the fact that you will need internet connection.

  25. I’d have blocked her car and called the police to report the trespassers. But then I’m an unapologetic bitch! 😊

  26. As mgr of a landmark bldg I can tell you the photographers are the worst we deal with. They lie to avoid paying a miniscule fee to our non-profit, they move our stuff without permission and don’t move it back, they block our door from the public and stand outside our offices clapping and shrieking to get kids to smile(?), and if they are legit there to shoot a wedding they park in the limited parking spaces we have for guests and refuse to move to the vendor parking in the grass.

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