Hey all! So I’m a little shocked that I’m even writing this blog post and that it has gotten this big. Although I don’t feel its necessary to justify my action or my stance, I thought because I am not ashamed of what I did, I’d explain a few things that perhaps some of you may be missing. Incase you are wondering, this is in reference to how “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People” and the other blog post “ummmmm….Thank You!“.
I’m just going to jump into it……I realize there will probably be some grammatical/spelling errors so refer to my disclaimer on my home page. 🙂
How did I come across the page? I think this is a very valid question. I’ve read some of the comments about me being a facebook stalker and how it’s kind of creepy that I was checking out my clients facebook pages….and I’m sorry if you feel that way, when in reality THIS is how I “stumbled” across the page. A former colleague of mine (whom I’m friends with on facebook and whom I trust) posted the following on their page. As a parent of a small child of my own, of course I am going to click on it!
THIS is how I found a PUBLIC page that was saying very mean, hateful, cruel comments and in-turn found 4 of my clients saying mean things. My intent is not to check out my clients personal pages nor do I have intentions of ‘screening’ them on facebook in the future, but as I said in my initial article…THIS was right in front of my face. How could I forget about it and then try to spend time with an individual trying to take pretty pictures when they did such ugly things and it went against everything I am trying to teach my daughter. That would make me a hypocrite wouldn’t it?
Which brings me to a completely other topic. The word UGLY. Some of you are saying that I myself am being a bully by calling them UGLY. I’m not sure if you were able to read the article in it’s entirety, but what I was referring to were their actions. People aren’t born mean, it’s something they are taught to do or that they do by CHOICE. They were making a choice to be mean and I was making a choice NOT to be part of it or to be part of my business. For those of you who say I should keep my personal beliefs out of my business because it makes me unprofessional. Then I will be unprofessional until the day my business fizzles. I sleep good at night.
I did this for publicity. Well heck, IF that is the case, then I guess I hit the jackpot! Not that this means much to you that already have your mind set, but this was not a publicity stunt. If you could take even a few minutes to look thru some of my personal posts on my blog, you will see that I was writing about my business decisions and my personal beliefs, my personal life, etc. just like I always have. I’m thinking that in this instance, just a few more people could relate! My original intent was not to go on an anti-bullying rally, but hey if that is the message that gets out there…is it THAT wrong. At least it got you talking about the subject, it opened up dialog for some people to talk with their children about it….is it really such a bad thing.
Do I regret my decision. NO. Not in the least bit. We as photographers, are taught to build our brands so that we can attract the types of clients we WANT to shoot. Well, if individuals decide NOT to hire me based on my decision, well, they probably aren’t the type of client I wanted to attract anyway.
As with the parents that responded. I saw some articles that said that they apologized to me. That is untrue. Why would they apologize to me? They said thank you for bringing it to their attention and that they would deal with it at home. I think sometimes, people want to jump onto “they learn it from the parents” bandwagon, and I’m sure in some cases this is true, but in all honestly sometimes the parents may be unaware and if a million bystanders never SAY anything, how are the parents supposed to address the issue. You can call me a “tattle” but if it were MY child making those mean comments, I certainly would want someone to bring it to my attention so that I can address it. I’m not a counselor so my job was not to “talk to them during the shoot to find out WHY”, that is their parents role and I simply placed it in their hands all while not wanting my business to be part of it.
Why am I not releasing the names of the girls? Seriously…is this even a question? Call me a liar, call this a media stunt, call it whatever you want but I’m sorry you will not get the names. We live in such small towns here in Southwestern PA, don’t you think by releasing those names I would in-turn be releasing the media and internet onto them completely defeating the purpose. I mean, if I’m getting mean and hateful things said about me for STANDING UP for something I believe in, can you even imagine what would happen to these 4 girls? As much as I don’t LIKE what they did, I do have compassion and empathy and I would never do that to ANYONE.
I’m told I was being prejudice by my decision. The question was stated as if I was against anyone of different cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, etc, etc. I’m sorry but this is WAY out of context. If you are either of those and you are MEAN, I don’t want you to be associated with my business. I’m shocked that this turned into a prejudice issue. I think it just boils down to respect. I respect that there are individuals that have an opposing view, I expected that-it’s what makes the world go round. I also respected those individuals who stated WHY they didn’t agree with me and used their real names and commented in a mature way without calling names. Then on the other hand, there were those that didn’t agree with my decision but went about it under a fake name using profanity-well, I’m not sure anything has to be said about that!
Another criticism of mine has been that I deprived the four girls of having photos in their yearbook. I know now that this is different in different parts of the country/world, but I am not the contracted school photographer and I am in no way denying these girls their right to have a picture in the yearbook. I am not the yearbook gatekeeper. I am simply hired as a independent photographer to shoot lifestyle pictures of seniors to hand out for family and friends. I also would like to point out the fact that I’m not the only photographer in the area. In fact, there are some around here that are 100x better than me, so it’s not as if they don’t have access to having someone else take their picture.
PS: I saw several articles that said I’m a Philadelphia Photographer…..correction: I’m a Southwestern PA Photographer. Go Steelers!! 🙂