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Charleston photographer sued over image taken at private plantation

March 13, 2017 GMT

A Charleston photographer has been sued for selling photographs he took on private property.

The College of Charleston Foundation alleges that photographer Ben Ham is violating a previous settlement agreement by continuing to display and sell photographs he took at Dixie Plantation, an 862-acre private reserve on the Stono River in Hollywood that the foundation owns.

The foundation had filed a complaint against Ham in 2007 after learning that he was selling photographs he took on the plantation. The complaint was settled in 2008 and included an agreement that Ham would pay the foundation $30,000 and not sell or publish any more photographs taken at the plantation after Nov. 10, 2013, according to the most recent complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The complaint alleges that Ham broke the agreement when one of his photographs of the plantation was published in the Winter 2014 issue of Charleston Style & Design Magazine.


The complaint also notes that in 2016 Ham displayed a photograph called “Plantation Road” that he took at Dixie on his website and refused to remove it after being sent a letter.

Ham said he has not had a chance to go over the complaint with an attorney but disagrees that he broke the settlement agreement.

“Their suit is without merit,” he said.

The foundation is being represented by Stafford J. McQuillin III of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd. An attorney is not listed for Ham. He has 21 days to answer the complaint.