Photography has given me so much over the past couple of years, and I really owe so much to a simple camera. I’ve made the best friends I’ve ever had through photography and Facebook groups. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities to see parts of the country I wouldn’t have had otherwise, with more destinations scheduled. I’ve been able to support myself just on my art, which is mind blowing to me.
I definitely have much of the community to thank for my successes early on, and for providing the push that I needed to grow and improve. I’m thankful for the people that encouraged me and told me how to fix things when I asked questions. I’m thankful for the semi nonjudgmental atmosphere I was able to hone my craft in. I’m really thankful that we had groups like LLF and VSCO Film Users pop up, because without those groups, I might not have pushed myself to produce photos outside of my creative box.
Now, I can barely stand to look through the groups that I’m in. Everything has become so catty and negative with the influx of people striving for internet fame amongst their peers. It really seems like they’ve completely forgotten the one important thing in this business: Our Clients.
Our clients don’t care if we’re “famous”. They likely don’t care how many times we get featured, and they definitely don’t care about the drama that I’ve now come to associate with all of these groups.
I’ve seen photographers post screen shots from their newsfeed of couples who have had photos done with an iPhone (and who are clearly happy with the results) in large forums, just to hear people say that this is why our industry is being “ruined”. The couple clearly liked their photos, so how do you think they would feel if they somehow came across the thread of “professionals” making fun of them? How would you feel if the situation were reversed?
If everyone’s clients and friends could see the mean spirited things that were posted would we still be willing to post them in photography groups? Would we still be willing to comment and make fun of them or would we collectively grow up and act like the professionals we claim to be? I think the answer to that is a simple no. I honestly believe that if people did see what was posted it would completely turn them off from hiring a professional ever again, and I don’t blame them.
So instead of the negativity let’s focus on nourishing and growing our relationships with one another and our clients. Let’s help each other with legitimate problems and learn how to educate people not in creative fields. Let’s learn to accept newbies and people that aren’t on the same level as ourselves. Overall let’s just all be more empathatic towards everyone and less of the judgey (myself included) assholes we’re becoming known as.