NY1 report leads to help for brides allegedly scammed by photographer
An uplifting update to a story seen first on NY1: a few days ago, NY1's Lisa Voyticki broke the story about nearly two dozen Staten Island brides allegedly scammed by the same wedding photographer.
After seeing the piece, other photographers reached out, offering to give them the happily ever after they never had.
There's now hope for the nearly two dozen brides who say their photographer took their money and their memories.
After seeing the story on NY1, photographer Mike Simckowitz contacted us, asking if he could try and reach out to the photographer to get the couples' pictures and videos.
We gave him the information we had, and Simckowitz said Jorge Valdivia of Mirage Artistic Photography returned his call.
"I said, 'I'd like to help out, please give me a call back. I'm not looking for money. We just want to set things straight,'" recalled Simckowitz, the owner of Michael Joseph Films.
Previously, Valdivia told NY1 in an email that he didn't get back to the couples because he was "embarrassed," and that money problems prevented him from finishing their projects.
Simckowitz showed us a text message he received from Valdivia: "I cannot thank you enough for what you are doing. I will definitely get that drive sent to you thank you again for giving me some hope."
Valdivia said he'll do it in the next week.
"Weddings are very serious to me," Simckowitz said. "It's how I provide for my family, and when stuff like this happens it's just not good for the whole wedding industry."
Simckowitz is the second photographer to help.
Newlywed photographers Lenny and Melissa Volturo contacted us immediately after the story aired on NY1.
"For me to hear that, that like broke my heart," Melissa Volturo said.
Now, the Staten Island duo wants to give the couples a redo: they are offering them all a free photoshoot.
"At least they can have something, show their personalities and their love for each other, get dressed again," Lenny Volturo said.
And they contacted Arden Heights salon owner Crystal MacNair, who wants to do their hair and makeup at no charge.
"I just really wanted to help them because I was married and I was a bride, and I could not imagine not having my pictures and my video because now that's all my kids watch," said MacNair, who owns Hair Do or Dye Salon.
After the photographers reached out to me, I was able to connect them with the brides online. Some of them said they were so touched, they were in tears.
"That is what I love: when I deliver wedding films, and couples are saying on Facebook, 'We're tearing up, everyone's crying, we love this, this is the best, you're bringing back so many memories for us,'" Simckowitz said.
And the couples hope he can bring back their memories, too.