Today, around 9am, I was bashed on social media. Not just myself, but my business. And not just my business, but my chosen business branding and practices. If you are not a photographer, you may not understand how this could happen. Although you don't need to be in this business to recognize a bully.
The bully in this situation is a man who is a seasoned, professional, well-respected photographer in my community. He owns a studio a few miles away from me. I've actually discussed with him the possibilities of renting his studio once in awhile since I don't normally need one for my business practices. This man has been in the business for years and is old enough to be my father. For some reason, today, he felt threatened by me.
I will not go into anymore detail over the conversation that took place. What I will go over is how cut-throat and scary this business can be. The situation that took place today was not the first time I have seen this community horrendously bully someone. It happens all over social media, several times a day. It's just never hit so close to home.
It's amazing how quickly you find out who is in your corner and who isn't. It's impressive that in a city of more than half a million people, the competition is so brutal that grown adults feel the need to belittle each other. To voice an opinion that they are, in some way, better than you. That since you are a mother, they are better than you. And since you choose to use a different form of marketing, they are better than you. And since you have less years in the market, they are better than you. And by owning and using an iPhone everyday, you are somehow less of a professional.
When I first began, I had no clue what I was getting into. I just
thought "Hey! I love taking pictures! I love working with people! I love
crawling around chasing kids and making them smile! I love my art! I
love that you love my art!" No more than that. It was fun. It was
rewarding. It was (and always has been) my passion. And the best was
that it paid my bills so that my husband could go back to school.
I am here to tell you, we all start somewhere. If you have been in business for 2 years, I am PROUD of YOU. If you have been in business for 40 years, I am PROUD of YOU. If you are wanting to break into this business and take your passion a step further, I am PROUD of YOU. I WANT you to succeed. I NEED you to succeed. We, as professional photographers, need to stick together. We need to show others what this profession is all about. This profession is about CREATING. It is about loving what you create. It is about the pride associated with each shutter click.
Why is our community tearing each other apart? Can we not lift each other up and help develop our peers so that we can all thrive? Is it impossible to think that we may encourage someone to succeed, even though they may live down the street? Can we not communicate with those artists whom may or may not have a similar clientele? Are you scared a client of yours might like someone elses work better? Are you nervous that someone else is taking a different approach than you?
STOP BEING A BULLY. Just stop. It is getting you nowhere. And when you throw it all out there on social media, you make an ass out of yourself ('private' group or not, people are seeing it). When you publicly shame one photographer, you are shaming the entire community. You are taking the fun out of the work, and I'm not just going to roll over and allow that to happen. When you see these things happening on social media (whether it is photography related or not), STAND UP for what you know to be right.
If you are attempting to break into the business, have been doing this for a few years, or have been doing this for your entire life, I am MORE than happy to answer ANY questions you may have. I will not judge you. I will not judge your work. I will not discourage you in any way, and I most certainly will never belittle you. I will, and do, encourage the individuals in my photography world to push further, do better, and never stop learning. You're amazing. Don't ever forget that.
Now, turn to social media and go build someone up. I'll leave this pretty here for you ;)