Personal-Everyday Chaos

ummm……thank you! | indiana county, pa photographer | personal

By August 19, 2011 165 Comments

I apologize up front for being “all over the place” in this post. #1 I’m just a leeeeetle bit overwhelmed and #2 it’s how my brain works, I can’t help it and I hope that it makes sense. Everything makes sense in my head until I spit it out then I have that “foot in mouth” syndrome!  None the less, just a few random thoughts about the recent “activity” and when I say RANDOM I mean RANDOM! 🙂 Please read my disclaimer that I have posted on my home page. It goes a little something like this:

My itty bitty disclaimer: I’m not a writer, I don’t claim to be, I don’t want to be. I have horrible spelling, awful grammar and down right nasty punctuation…but I do promise, I AM college ed-umacated! 🙂 Tee he he he. But on a serious note, this place is where none of that matters. This is my little piece of the inter-webber and I can say, spell and punctuate any way I want 🙂

I am completely overwhelmed, humbled and a bit taken back that so many of you took the time out of your day to repost, comment, email or just send some blog love my way. I honestly had no idea how powerful it would become but I have received emails from several of you, phone calls from local news stations, emails from reporters, requests to be featured on blogs. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t prepared for ALL of this, I was prepared for some harsh comments/criticism/feedback but not THIS kind of response. I have received emails from those of you from all over the world (literally) who mentioned how you were in your adult years and that the bullying still effects you. I’ve received emails from current high school students thanking me and calling me a their “hero”. I honestly don’t know how to process it all. I mean have you SEEN how many comments there were? Yesterday it was a full time job keeping up with everything. Some of your stories about bullying were just heartbreaking.

I’m not claiming to be an expert in bullying and as a matter of fact when asked by the few people that called, NO, I don’t have a first hand experience with bullying. Of course during my middle school/awkward years I’m sure there were some name calling but it was never really that bad that I didn’t want to go to school. And certainly not as bad as some of the individuals that emailed in. So I can’t stand up here and say I had been bullied, because I wasn’t. I liked to think I was friends with everyone. BUT I don’t think one has to have gone thru being bullied to stand up to it. I would like to hope that all of us could speak up if we ourselves witnessed it happening with our own eyes. And I guess that is where I find all the buzz hard to believe and process. All I did was say, no, I’m not going to take your picture because you were mean. Do I think that I’m the best photographer in the world…hahah..big fat N.O.! Do I know they could go out and easily find another photographer…Yes….but the point was, I didn’t want to spend time with them trying to make them look pretty when knew they were being ugly on the inside. Mean is ugly…and in my opinion they were making the CHOICE to be ugly.

Yesterday as everything was going viral, I was on a shoot with one of my clients. Then directly after, I went to one of my friend’s house to hang out with some good friends. I hadn’t seen the news clip yet and as I walked in someone said, “Here comes the saint!”. Keep in mind, they were saying it in a joking manner and I think he is a great guy, I didn’t take it the wrong way. He was just doing a friendly’s how my friends work and that’s why I love them!  But it got me thinking, I hope all of you don’t think I’m a saint–for lack of a better word. I’m human, I’m certainly no Saint. I don’t claim to be perfect. For example, in admits the midst of yesterday’s chaos, I must admit, I am a bad mom…I forgot to feed my child. I came out to the studio early in the day when my phone was blowing up to see what everything was about and was caught up in keeping up with emails, phone calls, etc, that I forgot to feed my child! It wasn’t until she looks at me and goes, “Mom, when are you going to make breakfast?” It was 2:30pm! haha! Whoopsy, I’m glad to report, she still loves me and I fed her breakfast at promptly 7am this morning!!  It just happens that in this particular instance, most of you think I did the “right” thing but trust me, there are probably a million things I’ve done wrong in my life time, I’m not perfect.

I wrote “Most” of you think I did the right thing.So you’ve seen all the awesome things people are saying but not everyone feels the same way, and I can respect that. I’m keeping an open mind and I’m going to assume that they had the best interest of those whom were being bullied. Some people feel very strongly that my opinions have no place in my business. I respect that, I really do, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.

If I’m going to keep it real, even with all the support that I’ve been receiving, I still have my insecurities too. Photographers and organizations, blogs and websites that I LOOK up to were sharing my link.I mean, photographers that I look up to and that are 1000x times better than I’ll EVER be were commenting and sharing my link. This lead to an influx of photographers to my “like” page (I’m going to call you “likers”) and so now, I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, with all these new likers I’m paranoid to post any of my future images because all of these critiques about my work will come pouring in. I mean here I am little bitty small town photographer having my website look my thousands of you and wandering if my work was “subpar” what would people think. We are human, I know I’m certainly not perfect and here I am worrying about what everyone will think and I’m not being bullied. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have that burden and knowing that people are ruthlessly saying mean and hurtful things.

I’m now under a microscope……’s here…and honestly, I don’t know what to do with it. I’m just going to resume as I always did and hope that someone else got the message…for those of you who don’t agree with me, I’m sorry you feel that way. I guess if you have your own business you can run it the way YOU see fit! If this hurts me..well fine, at least I know I failed at something I felt strongly about and I won’t be able to blame it on the economy. It will because of a decision I made…and I’m ok with that! At this point, I’m going to try to get things back to normal around here by editing yesterday’s session so I can share it on the blog just like I always do, going to an awesome ALUMNI football game (GO Bobcats) and by hanging out with one of my best friends over the weekend, she’s driving in from Michigan..yay!

Again guys…thank you!

PS: Mean is UGLY!


 contact me | like me on facebook |send me a tweet


  • Susan from DC says:

    You are awesome for what you did. If it made those girls or their parents think for even one second about their behavior, it was a gift to their whole community. Thanks. And your photos are gorgeous too!

  • Lark Telerana says:

    You’ve taken a stand. I am proud of you. As an educator in a major uban-metro school district, I see horrible horrible HORRIBLE things happen daily at the hands of bullies. I hope your rejection has taught these girls the importance of the “Golden Rule,” thus, I pray they use your tactic as a way of warning them that the concepts of conscience: karma, “you reap what you sow,” and the result of evil behavior will not be avoided.

    As for the idea that you “broke a contract” with these girls and their families – IF you did not have a written contract holding you to the task, do not fret too much. What you did is quite similar to interviewers who browse MySpace and Facebook prior to making an offer of employment. I feel, “If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.” With that said, keep standing.

  • Bob Stango says:

    Good Job, helped me restore faith in humanity!

  • Bob Stango says:

    Good job, helped me restore my faith in humanity

  • Kathy Short says:

    I am a 19 year old sophomore at New York University, but I am from Indiana, PA. A friend from NYU posted an article about you and, well you know what, I mean come on. I read it, and saw that you are from Indiana County! Way to represent! I think what you did is great, but I was more impressed with a comment you made that was at the very end of the article, tucked behind the bullying coverage. You refused to release the names of the girls because, as you said, “We live in such small towns.” That is so true, and is such a wise decision on your part. Another thing: so many of my friends don’t realize the consequences of their actions on Facebook and I think you made an important point by saying that Facebook isn’t temporary. Anyways, just wanted to say, keep doing what you’re doing– you’re doing it well.

  • Alyssa MacVeigh says:

    You are AMAZING. You did the right thing at the risk of losing business; I truly don’t know how many would do the same (though I hope the answer is many). It’s too bad you aren’t in New York or I would certainly ask you to take photos of my son; your work is just as stunning as your personality. As it is, I’ve shared the article and have forwarded it to friends of mine in PA specifically. Thank you!

  • Nancy says:

    I came here to add my name to the ever growing list of folks who were really touched and impressed with your actions against bullying. Then I read your latest post and I realized how disconcerting this sudden, world-wide attention (even if it is positive) must be. So, with that in mind, here are my thoughts:
    1. You rock.
    2. You rock not because you are perfect, but because you are a “regular” person, with, as your post describes, the complex mix of talent, challenges and silly insecurities that 99% of us have. However, you, a “regular” person, showed UNCOMMON empathy and courage, defending bullied kids despite possible economic and personal cost. As the previous comments (and my own experience) attest, far too many adults fail to stand up to bullies, even when the bullies are children bullying other children. I admire you not because you are a perfect person, but because you are a normal person who did a “perfectly excellent” thing, which, thanks to the attnetion this has received, not only impacts the lives of the bullies and the bullied, but is a powerful example to thousands of us across the world. So, you did a really great thing, and now you have my permission to go back to the normal, everyday world of taking (beautiful, by the way) photographs and forgetting to put out breakfast, etc.! 🙂

  • Allison says:

    This is the best thing I’ve read in a while! WAY TO GO! If we can’t stand up for what we believe in, then what good are we? As both a mom of teenage girls and a photographer, I totally get what you did and why you did it. We need to take a stand and show our young ladies in our lives that this is not tolerated whatsoever. It IS ugly! Hats off to you, Jen!

  • Summer says:

    It takes an amazing person to stand up for what they believe. This made me smile that people in this world still have strong ethics and morals. You rock!

  • d. young says:

    @Jenna–I feel sorry for you. Your post was so negative that anyone who reads it understands that you JuSt DoN’t GeT iT. People do exist who really don’t have anything bad to say about others. And people exist who have but regret it deeply. Intention is everything. And as far as I’m concerned Jen is a HeRo!

  • Shannon says:

    You are awesome, talent notwithstanding. Thank you for taking an action to help the upcoming generation (hopefully) become more tolerant of each other.

  • Lacy Jae says:

    You say you were never bullied.

    Personally, while I think someone who is or has been bullied standing up is amazing, and strong, and takes so much courage to do… There is something very poignant about someone who has never dealt with bullying to stand up and say “Hey. This is wrong. I see what you’re doing, and I’m not going to stand for it.” Too many people watch this stuff go on and say nothing, so when someone completely outside of what’s going on stands up and says something – and whatever you may think, saying it with your business is so, so strong – it’s just… heartwarming.

    I keep tearing up when I read all this stuff. I was bullied in school, though I honestly haven’t really thought about it in those terms before.. But I do remember onlookers who never said anything. And it wasn’t subtle, I was physically bullied by girls and boys in elementary, smacked in a class, and drug around the gravel yard by a skipping rope by a couple boys.

    Me saying something, my friends saying something… is definitely not the same as someone on the outside standing up.

    You’re awesome. 🙂

  • […] 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!“. […]

  • Cynthia says:

    Just wanted to say this:

    I understand how you feel!!! And while we do live in a hyper-technology world that catapults into a spotlight that you may not be comfortable in, you are handling it very well.
    The first thing I noticed when I came to your fan page after reading about the situation was:
    1. Your work is stellar, well shot, composed etc, give yourself more credit!
    2. You shoot with Canon!!! So, you know what’s up!

    You have a great attitude and approach to this ordeal. And, I think esstentially, the media circus could be thought of as bullying in itself, being that they hound and press until they get what they want.

  • I’m one of those photographers that ‘liked’ your page when I read the viral reports. I realize I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but, nonetheless, I don’t think you should worry, at all, about other photographers critiquing your work. :^) I like your ethics — and your photos! Keep on doing what you do!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.