We all make decisions, thousands of them, all the time every day. Most of the time I like to think I mean well with my decisions but I know that I do not always think everything all the way through. Which is basically fine most of the time as I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to life. In the past, recent and not so recent, I have made reference to some big name photographers, basically calling them hacks and snake oil salesmen, and in some cases just calling them flat-out thieves. I’ve done this on the internet and in person.
I have been given a hard time about the type of content I shoot, most of the time by people I don’t know or by people who have not taken the time to actually look at my entire body of work, just judge it off of one image that they don’t understand and therefore don’t like. I have offended people with my bluntness. I have offended models when I told them I wouldn’t pay them, no matter what the reason, some just get offended. I have purposely made people uncomfortable in a social setting just because they have annoyed me to the point of wanting to just strangle them and I felt that making a public ass of myself was a much better choice.
There have been some who have hired me based on all of the above and some who probably have not based on all of the above. But on the other hand I have also tolerated a lot of BS in my day. I had a shoot go totally down the drain when a model refused to wear the wardrobe and told everyone they had to leave and she was just going to shoot alone with me naked but nobody could be around, I think it was drugs but nevertheless I had to ask her to leave the studio due to her behavior. I’m sure some would think this was cool, her wanting to only shoot in the nude, but it’s not so cool when you get the feeling that she was soliciting prostitution.
I’ve had models pull all sorts of crazy stuff, like flirting with me in front of my wife just to see if they could get more of my attention than her. Models causing drama with professional contacts. Make up artists completely flaking on shoots, models flaking on shoots, clients not paying on time or at all. A publishing company “hired” me to shoot the cover and editorial for one of their magazines after they already knew they were going through bankruptcy and they knew their check would not clear. And so many more stories like this.
This is definitely an interesting field of employment. Things happen on this job that I cannot see happening on too many other jobs. It’s low paying, stressful at times, you have to deal with people who have all sorts of different issues but you do meet some pretty cool people along the way. Some of the coolest people I know I have met due to being a photographer. And these people know that when you’re cool with me I will go out of my way to return the favor and be as nice as possible in return.
So I sit here re-thinking all of this, my career as a photographer, the people I’ve met, how I have conducted myself and how I feel about things and here is my conclusion. I am what I am. I am not going to sugar coat it for anyone. If you don’t like me then don’t let the door knob hit your ass on the way out. This business is full of narcissists, big personalities and fragile egos. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen, and when you’re in my studio well guess what, that’s my kitchen and I’m the head chef.
Some people tell me to not let others get to me, well they don’t really get to me. But if you’re going to put yourself out there on the internet, selling workshops and acting like you know it all, I’m going to call you on it if I don’t believe you! Feel free to do the same to me. I don’t know everything but I damn well know that I know more than a lot of these so-called “leaders” of our industry. I’m honestly happy that I don’t have thousands of followers who hang on my every false word. And when I call bullshit it’s not because I want people to follow everything I say or buy my Photoshop actions instead of someone else’s, I don’t have any to sell!
Like I said, I sit here re-thinking this, and I’m not going to change a damn thing about who I am or how I do business. I am The Average Jim, deal with it. 😉
Here is one of the cool people I’ve met.