Saturday 4.11.09

Pissing people off.

I had a few minutes to kill yesterday so I thought that I would offer my opinion in critique form on Model Mayhem. You can see my page here: http://www.modelmayhem.com/JSVPhotography

I’m no expert and I said that at the onset. All I could offer was my opinion based on what little I know. It was a take it as I see it kind of thing. I looked at the profiles of the responders… how long they had been involved with the site, what category they fell into – photographer, photoshop artist, model, make up artist, stylists. I also looked at the credits, accomplishments listed, websites accociated with their information and with that tried to give an opinion.

Overall, I liked what I saw and made an attempt to be kind and informative in my responses.

Then, I pissed someone off. One photographer asked for my opinion and I gave it. I looked at his work and the content, quality, subject matter. Many of his images were of nude overweight models. I say overweight as these are not what I would consider “plus sized”, which are not necessarily models that appear overweight.

I have nothing against large people, in fact, I have worked with many people that go beyond the area of plus sized. Shooting anyone can be challenging. Finding the right pose, outfit, setting, theme, lighting setup can make a great picture. Bypassing those items in order to shoot some naked babe will usually result in crappy work. A stark realistic black and white or even color image of a person “as they really look”, kind of like a record of the moment, can be absolutely beautiful and thought provoking. Sometimes though, people need some help – large or small and everything in between.

I figure that it is my job to try to present people in a favorable manner. Even images of grunge, grit and despair can be done in a manner that causes a viewer to want to look at the image. I would also consider that as favorable.

Back to this guy: I offered my opinion. I suggested that he work hard with some of these models to find the right shot. Find the right light, content, reason to shoot the image. My guess, after his response, is that he in not interested in my opinion and will continue to shoot in the style he had presented… crotch shots, nudes for no reason, women holding their breasts on display. The guy has all of the tools to do some great work and present the people he is working with in an interesting manner, and chooses not to do it.

I wonder why. Perhaps he is encouraged by any dipshit that enjoys T&A just to see T&A. Does not matter who it is or why or where… it is just T&A and that’s all we need to know. Perhaps the people he is shooting really likes the work, but for reasons other than the result. Reasons other than the result could be that they had never done anything like that before. Maybe they wanted to somehow express a side of themselves that they don’t normally display on a daily basis. Perhaps they wanted images for a spouse or lover or to scare the shit of of Grandma, who knows.

The man responded with some derogatory comments on a few of my images and then removed all of his images and blocked me from contacting him to discuss anything. I wonder if I have that much influential power. Did I cause a total stranger in a completely different part of the planet to think about his work? Maybe so. Maybe others contributed to the opinion… no idea.

I hope that whatever comes out of my opinion, this person will continue to try. Giving up is such a time waster. Sometimes we give up and that is that. With creative people, I think that we get emotional and give up for a period of time. Not being creative when we are just grinds on us until we think things out a little and make our next attempt. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we do not. Stepping back from things once in a while is a good way to recharge. Experiment. Look at other work. Read some technical info on what we are doing and how others are doing it. Re-invent, evolve, move on.

2 responses

  1. I checked out your flickr. Very nice work.

    April 11, 2009 at 10:47 pm

  2. You also have to consider where the anger is coming from. A lot of the peeps on MM have never even heard a letter of rejection, b/c their family thinks everything they do is great, their co-workers love seeing the T N A every monday morning around the water cooler, and then BAM! I feel sorry for them- I grew up a ballet dancer, surrounded by critique. I don’t take it as well as I did when I was 8, but it certainly allows for perspective. it’s sad- b/c there are so many somewhat talented people on MM who *could be* good, working photographers (read: not everyone can be Lindberg), but they can’t take the heat, and run screaming from the kitchen. . . .

    Good for you for putting an honest opinion out there. If I ever condemn you in the forums, smack my hand 🙂

    April 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm

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