Sunday, May 20, 2012

the perfectionist

My latest for Wired is a story about a German artist and counterfeiter of US $100 bills named Jurgen Kuhl. Here are a few pics snapped during my reporting trip last September.

The piece opens with a scene at this cafe, opposite Cologne Cathedral.

The forgeries were stored in this container.

Talking Warhol at the Ludwig Museum

Thursday, May 17, 2012

firsthand experience

I'll share the full story soon enough but here's a quick photo of the counterfeit $10 bill my wife just discovered in her wallet. She was ticked off but also laughing. "Before the book project, did you know that it was a crime to go and try to spend one of these. Not that I want to, obviously"--yeah right, hun--"but I'm just wondering."

She can't recall where she got it, although she's guessing the supermarket. That's sort of the point with fake money, though--the lack of recall, I mean. Passers bank on the fact that some people are in too much of a rush, and maybe too frazzled trying to control rambunctious toddlers, to allocate much time or brainpower to the matter of paper money's authenticity. Either that or they're hoping that you're too drunk, senile, or both to notice that a banknote doesn't look or feel quite right.

Looks like I'll have to pay a visit to the local office of the US Secret Service.