Normally, I don’t get caught up in internet chatter but yesterday, A Photo Editor posted a quote from my post about being shooting crappy assignments. I’ve had a lot of people email me to say thanks for the honesty and I can tell that the post touched a nerve because i’ve also had a fair amount of criticism come my way because of it. A lot of people have taken the post totally out of context and painted me as if I am some whiney photographer, not trying hard enough on tough assignments. Let me be clear. That was never the point of the post, maybe some people couldn’t move past my hyperbolic language (shitty photographs, shitty assignments) but I am incredibly, incredibly grateful to be a working photographer, no matter what the situations i’m shooting in may be. I have done a lot of crappy jobs in my life and I feel incredibly blessed to be doing what I am doing. Furthermore, there has been the implication that I’m not trying hard enough. I can assure you, I give it my all on every assignment. I think the “bad” or tough assignments are what have made me so much better in the last year or so of my life. I have learned how to be incredibly resourceful and creative in less than ideal situations. Just yesterday, I had a photo editor tell me how pleased she was with the results of a shoot, given how potentially boring it could have been.
The next part of this follow up is something I have been thinking about for a while. A lot of people that have been commenting/emailing me about the post, can’t seem to fathom why I would put my worst photo from an assignment online. I think these are mostly older photographers who use the internet for very different things. Aside from the fact that I’m confident enough in my other work to post a bad picture, for me, the internet isn’t just a bulletin board where I get to post all of my accomplishments (sometimes it is). The internet is a community. I know that sounds hokey but it’s true. I don’t live in NYC and I don’t have a super strong community of other, like minded people around. For me, the internet has been HUGE in helping me cultivate relationships with other people who are passionate about the same kinds of things as me. One of the main reasons I made the post was I felt a sense of responsibility to this community and I wanted to be honest about what it is like to be a young, working photographer.
I have worked for a couple older, photographers over the years (Both of whom I respect greatly) and for them, social media stuff was just an obligation. It was something they HAD to do, because everybody else was doing it. Ultimately, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that but I think the younger generation of photographers are having a very different experience with the internet. We aren’t participating just to say “LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!!”. We are participating because the internet is connecting us to other people and other work we care about. I’m no idealist, and I think the internet has its fair share of total bullshit but in my own photographic career, I really can’t think of any one thing that has had a larger influence on me.
Somebody on the comments of the quote on A Photo Editor went so far as to call me “so naive”. Well, that’s fine but here is my response to that. I LOVE photography. I don’t just love being a photographer. I love looking at other people’s work, I love that my friends are doing super cool stuff. I love talking about photography, I love helping other people out in photography. Other people who have the same passion, have done the same for me. For me, this isn’t some sort of bullshit rat race where i’m trying to steal assignments from the next guy, this is who I am. So, if that’s naive, that’s fine.