Being A Professional

I have tried to stay positive lately, no rants, no bashing on anything.  I’ve stayed away from the drama of the photography world and just want to focus on what I do and how I want my business to be.  But today I must rant a little and take a stand against something that really pisses me off!

I was scrolling through Facebook last night and came across a post from a photographer I know, and when I say “I know” I know him through Facebook.  We have talked a couple of times via messaging but that is about it.  He is known for being opinionated, long-worded and for voicing his opinion whether it is right or wrong.  I can appreciate that.  But no matter who you are, you have to know where the line is.  You have to know when your opinion is no longer an opinion but a sign of arrogance and conceited beliefs.

The photographer did take down this post by this morning, not sure what comments were made, but before I went to bed it had 18 likes, which I feel was 18 too many!  I won’t post the whole thing here but here is some of what was said by this photographer…

“You can’t be attracted to my work by how sexy it is and how much is shows off passion, desire, and intimacy… and then get creeped  out when I act like your photographer, not your accountant.”

At first I was thinking someone got the wrong idea about him wanting to take “sexy” photos of her…. but then he goes on….

“I’m your photographer… the rules of professionalism are different.”  Here I would like to say that he is completely and totally wrong!

He continues….

“If you are the sort to get easily offended by a silly joke or a provocative question or thought .. then you really shouldn’t be posing in front of strangers in little to no clothing.”

Okay, I have come to hate the term “Rape Culture” because I feel it gets thrown around a lot where it doesn’t belong.  But this last statement just royally pissed me off to no end!  What gives anyone the fucking right to treat someone differently because of the way they are dressed?  This is “Rape Culture” in its purest form!  A man feels he can say what he wants to a woman based on her lack of clothing?  I don’t care if she is nude, you do not have permission to act in a demeaning way or treat her as if she is just your sex toy.  It really pisses me off because this came from a professional photographer of women!  People are all in rage about Terry Richardson, but this guy is lessor known so it gets blown under the radar.

I photograph women for a living.  I work with women in bikini’s, lingerie and when they wear nothing at all.  My level of professionalism does not change, I treat every single one of them with respect no matter what!  To say the rules of professionalism are different because you are a photographer not an accountant, bullshit.  I have very little tolerance for people like this.  This guy does do good work, but if this is how he thinks of the women he photographs then he can go fuck himself.

I grew up with two older sisters and my mom in the house, my dad was around too but he worked a lot.  But I grew up with a great respect for women.  Just because I take “sexy” photos of them does not mean I am suddenly allowed to disrespect anyone.  The whole reason I am in business is because I do good work, and I get repeat business from the women I photograph and they also refer me to their friends!  If I were a creep this would not happen, or at least I wouldn’t think it would!

This guy is the reason I get shit from other people about the work I do.  Because of people like him who want to be disrespectful and demeaning to women is why people question my motives.  There is one big difference.  Go ahead, question my motives, my motives are pure and I have nothing to hide.  I don’t have to hide posts like this from my Facebook page because I suddenly realized that maybe some of the female models reading it may think I’m a perv now.  There is a real easy way to not be considered a perv… don’t act like one.

All I can say is this, there are creeps out there, some of them are very talented people and we cannot stop them from doing the job they do.  What we can do is not tolerate their behavior.  To see 18 likes on a post like this is more disturbing to me than the post itself!  I’m sure there were more before he removed it too.  Why would you like this?  Why would you think that it is okay for someone to base how they treat someone else because of what they are wearing?  And as a photographer, when someone is standing in front of you wearing next to nothing or nothing at all, that is when they are the most vulnerable, this is when they trust you the most!  You are lacking total professionalism when you break that trust.  You become just another guy with a camera who wants to be around pretty girls with the hopes of having sexual relations.  You become a creep.

I have spoken with my wife at photography events and have had people (male photographers) ask me how to shoot boudoir as a man.  I say it’s actually really simple.  I respect my client, I have a female assistant at all times and I never break their trust.  I’m not there to date them, I’m not there to tell them how “hot” or “sexy” they are.  I am there to take beautiful images of them and make them feel comfortable.  When I give this response either the person gets it or they don’t.  Some have this fantasy in their head that it is all one big sexcapade behind the scenes when in reality it is the farthest thing from it!

When I pose my clients I tell them they probably won’t need to do yoga for a few days after the shoot because they will be sore!  It is a lot of work to get the images I get, not just from me but from the person in front of my camera as well!  Not to mention the hair and make up people!

Bottom line, and I promise I will end this rant now, if you want to be called a professional photographer, you damn well better act like one!

Here is one of my favorites of Lucy, someone I have photographed multiple times and even got to photograph her with her boyfriend too for one of my favorite couples sessions.

Lucy by The Average Jim