Haters vs. Helpers | atlanta portrait photographer

June 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Have you heard the saying "Let your haters be your motivators"? Well I have and I think it's a good rule to follow. Never let your haters bring you down and doubt yourself. When you have haters, that means that you are doing something right and they are probably jealous. Now a problem arises when you think those who are trying to help you are hating on you. This past week I have seen this first hand.

In case you didn't know, I am on Facebook, personally and professionally. I am a member of a several business groups and photography groups. Well on this particular day when I decided to check out one of my photography groups, one of the members had posted another person's post she saw in her timeline. The post was from a young man who proudly announces that he had just taken pictures of his baby daughter and shows some behind the scenes footage using his iPhone 7. He wrote how he didn't feel very close to the baby, which happens to many fathers of new babies, but that he wanted to create an unbreakable bond with her. So after viewing the pictures and reading his comments I figured he was a dad taking pictures of his daughter in the most creative way he could in order to feel closer to her. I thought that was a nice gesture. I wanted to see more about this guy so I clicked on his profile link. To be honest, I was somewhat surprised that he purported to be a photographer. 

Since I don't think it's appropriate to critique another photographer's work without their permission, I will not do that here. What I will say is that if you are a budding photographer and you have never taken pictures of a newborn, then you shouldn't do it. It can be very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. This young man had his baby in two unsafe environments and seemingly without any assistance. He definitely needs some practice to hone his craft, even though all of his friends thought his work was magnificent and didn't see any safety issues. That saddened me a little because if you don't get honest compliments from people you love and trust, then what will spur you on to do better? But to be fair, not everyone knows what good photography is.

At any rate, the man's pictures were seen by more and more photographers. These photographers decided to hop on over to his page and tell him how unsafe his pictures were. They tried to give him pointers on what he should and should not do in order to make the pictures safe for his or anyone else's baby he may photograph. Actually, they were trying to discourage anyone from taking these types of images in the same manner as he did. If you haven't guessed, that's when things got ugly. The young man posted a video of the comedian Katt Williams talking about haters in one of his performances and if you know anything about Katt Williams, then you know it was quite profane. That was just the beginning. Then his friends/followers jumped on the bandwagon and started in on the women who came to "help". I put help in quotes because even though I'm sure they were concerned about the baby and wanting to make sure he nor anyone else tried to do the same thing, I believe they came off a little pushy. Even when you mean well, you can sometimes come off as being a know-it-all or condescending. Anyway, it got downright ugly on both sides. In fact, I wasn't surprised by that at all. 

Eventually more people joined in the typed melee to give more pointers. At this point, I don't think he was even listening. In fact, I don't recall him ever responding, except with the Katt Williams' clip. To me, this could have been handled better on both sides. We live in such a divided society and there seems to be a constant "us vs. them" mentality on just about everything. "If you don't agree with me then you're wrong" seems to be the norm and that's very disheartening. I believe had the other photographers approached him differently, perhaps his response would have been different, as well as the responses of his friends/followers. Actually I know it would have because I saw some people who took a lighter approach and they weren't attacked like the other photographers were. As I always tell my husband and son, it's not what you say, but how you say it. He definitely needed instruction. Whether he was willing to take the advice is unknown to me at this point, but I hope some of it sinks in.

As you can tell, this was an instance where the so-called haters are really the helpers. I think it can be detrimental to get the two confused. Those on the young man's side may inadvertently be spurring him on to continue with unsafe practices, while those trying to help him are pushing him away from doing what is necessary and safe. I do hope that he realizes that there are a few things he needs to work on and other things he needs to learn. Having  a nice camera and your friends saying that you take nice pictures does not a photographer make.


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