Saturday, 30 July 2011

Belittling because of photography.

This was a surprise email I received today.

Have a read.


hi dom,
i just wanted to know how you feel when you introduce yourself as a photographer, when you believe you can call yourself one, and do you feel people stereotype you.

i was working in a restaraunt a short while ago, and i had my camera with me to take out after i finished my shift, and my boss actually took the mikey out of me (in a posh snobby accent) "oh i'm off to take some photos on the way home"
and i felt very stereotyped and belittled, have you ever had this problem?

i also feel very akward when i tell someone i want to be a photographer, as not only do i feel they expect me to immediately be at a proffesional level (my old boss for example, he complained and slagged off photos i did for him (free) when he saw my not so fantastic commertial attempt) and that i'm just trying to go along with the crowd and getting my hopes up, as i've noticed its apparently a somewhat 'glamorous' and popular thing to do these days down in the south of england. because of this, i feel reluctant to call myself a photographer, as i do not yet make money or run some kind of business

would it be possible for you to make a vidio on how you feel as a photographer, and what was is like to get where you are now, to help give an insight to aspiring photographers like myself
to give you an idea of where i'm at skill/"level" wise

i've had my camera for about 4 years, but have been taking it more serisously for around 1 1/2
some areas need a lot of work on, but some i think i'm doing okay but to make more minor changes

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  1. I've been stereotyped, and within my own family... Sometimes at family events, certain family members treat me like I should be there as a personal 'staff' photographer. It's like, never mind having fun, take more pictures of my kids!! And your right, this guy's boss is a dick!

  2. Hi there Dom, relating to people problems while out taking photos. Have you ever had people asking you why you are taking photos in public. This has happened to me a few times over the years. Some people seem to have an attitude when they see you with a pro sized camera and think you are taking photos of them or their children. One example was one day I was at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire and was taking shots of the Abbey and general landscape, scenery etc when this woman came up to me and said 'what the f**k are you doing taking photos of my kids"? I told that I wasn't but did say I was available for £150 if she wanted me to. She just walked of in a huff muttering to herself. I use a Nikon D3 with pro lenses and might not have been hassled if I had a point and shoot camera. Have you ever had this type of problem? It would be great if you could do a video sharing similar issues.
    Keep up the good work, Chris AKA the old Nikonian.

  3. marc from San Diego1 August 2011 at 14:03

    Hi Don. Great post/ video. You are right that (a) the person's boss is a dick and (b) this is probably a matter of language. If the boss had possessed half a brain, he could have said, in response to the budding photographer's first commercial efforts, hey, these are good, but then given honest feedback why the images did not work for the restaurant. Then the photographer could have used the feedback to shoot again and develop critical skills in order to advance. As to the second point, I feel the pain and the solution you present, "yes I do some photos" is good. I would add something like I'm in the process of learning photography so as to move into the professional ranks, and would you mind if I took your portrait, a shot of your business, etc. I am working my butt off to become a writer, which similarly as hard to earn as living as being a photographer. First thing people ask is "do you have a book out?" Ugh. Of course, in your case, you can now say, "hell yes and I'm a photographer too!" Lucky bastard! LOL. Greetings from San Diego. I'm a huge fan. Marc (

  4. I had a look at mellisa's Flickr and she has some nice photo's on there, I don't think she has too much to worry about from a technical point of view, speaking as a non professional myself. If her boss / ex-boss has a problem with the standards of her photography then that is his problem not Mellisa's, no doubt Mellisa knows more about photography then he does.

    As for stereotyping I understand where Mellisa is coming from. Because I have an expensive DSLR people I work with do refer to me sometimes as a professional photographer but they never do it in a nasty or sarcastic way, I think they just accept that I am into photography as a hobby and I know more about it then they do. The company I work for had a room which was not being used so they done it out as a small studio and knowing I am into photography they get me to do product shots, just white background stuff, and they appreciate it. They just tell me what they want and I do it.

    I used to have a complex with my photography, I used to assume that because I had a DSLR then people expected me to be better then I am even though no one ever said anything to make me feel like that, I just used to assume it. Also when I was at an event of some kind with my camera I would assume everyone was looking at me taking pictures even though they probably wasn't. Now I don't give it a second thought I just get on with it, take my pictures, go home and upload them to my pc, process them in Lightroom then I am my own judge as to if they are good or crap. If I think they are crap I delete them.

    If anyone ever asks me if I am a professional photographer I just say unfortunately not, I'm just a keen hobbyist, sometimes the conversation continues around photography and they will tell me about cameras they have owned etc, or if they are not into photography the conversation quickly changes to a different topic.

    If I was Mellisa I would try and mix with a better class of person and if anyone asks her if she is a professional photographer and she feels they are being sarcastic just answer it with "Why want some pictures taking? £80.00 per hour".

  5. So I never say I am a photographer..coz I m not..I'm a molecular biologist..besides that I'm just the guy that pushes a button on a machine I understand well..and I love looking at my world through a lens, select a scene and push that button to make it my's great my friends/environment like some of my shots..that means they like my view on 'our world' and sometimes expands their view on how to look at things. I shoot their weddings and other social events which is easy for me as we have already bonded..they like me..then its easy..

    Any negative comment u got MellisaR93 sounds either like envy or (I should say both and) complete ballox.. don't let these kind of guys get to u..ignore it..keep pushing that button (i saw ur flickr..some nice shots).. if you get nonconstructive criticism it is safe to raise a certain finger and go on with what u are doing..

    Having said that I know carrying a big camera raises expectations, and putting a SB900 with a luminex softbox on it doesn't help, but hey..if anything take advantage of it because people will get out of your way or will be much more willing to pose for you..the big camera is also an's easier to get into contact with interesting people..

    So forget the sorry jealous peoples comments and keep doing what u do..I m sure if u meet a a couple of kids with their skateboard on the way back from your shift they ll be happy to pose..and keep carrying that camera because the one day u'll leave it home coz u might feel embarrassed you are gonna miss the shot of your life!!

    To Mr Dom: you are a true inspiration..i love your shit

    more greetings from San Diego

    Cheers, Arjen