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Monday, 22 August 2011

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Inner ugliness. A very different thing.

If there was only Facebook for a few of the @#$!% CEO's I've shot. Talk about ugly on the inside...

Yeah, I have a photo somewhere of a ladybird - never thought of it before, but they have nothing on their minds but the utter destruction of family after family of aphis (had to look that one up). Be gone from my files, you ugly you!

I think it's fair enough to refuse business due to personal ethical concerns, but one also needs to be careful not to be discriminatory for reasons which could be interpreted as arbitrary.

I don't want to be photographed by photographers with ugly attitudes.

I should have read the article first lol and I take my last comments back, good on her for refusing to photograph bullies.

Acknowledged, but that one was easy - in the sense that you can easily discern the uglyness in individuals if they make it that striking.

Now as I continue to type I just realise that Karl already said what I wanted to point out: what about those CEOs and their royal suite that do much worse things than those stupid girls?

Of course, rejecting the job like Mrs. McKendrick did is admirable, and few people have such high standards (few can afford to, but that's another story). The problem is that "the good, the bad and the ugly" are being reduced to an individual level, and the structural uglyness is overseen too easily.
So when I applaud the photographer in this case (which I do), I also have to point to the bigger picture. Just sayin' ;-)

Everyone has the right to choose which clients whom she'll take. And I think her decision is right she's against violence so she'll not engage herself to any people that's into bullying or violence.

and one flyer i sent out stated that I could make a CEO look like a human.
Didn't get too much work out of that one, I guess it was stretching the truth a little too far.

This got a lot of play on The Digital Wedding Forum. Personally, I think it was a brave position to take during tough economic times--but might be the first time the girls in question actually had to face consequences for their actions. Bravo Jen.

Isn't this similar to the pharmacist who refuses to fill orders for birth control pills? I think if you are a professional photographer and someone is paying you for your photographic skills then you are OBLIGATED to photograph whatever they put in front of you UNLESS you CLEARLY state your PHOTOGRAPHIC REQUIREMENTS ahead of time and make sure they are understood.

I doubt once word gets around that the photographer in question will receive many more school assignments.

I found it all a bit disturbing. Bullying is a big problem, not just among the youth or on FB. I am in sympathy with Ms McKendrick's ethics here, as well as Gay Wedding Photographer's comment about being against violence. Nonetheless, refusing to do business, to associate professionally, with another because of one's personal morals is effectively a kind of shunning, especially if done publicly, and while this may be considered valid, or invalid, in certain situations, or at various times, it is always itself an aggressive and violent act.

Re: "Stan B.: "While I 'applaud' this particular action, where does it end and how will it be applied in an equal and nondiscriminatory manner..." Who said she *had* to be "fair and nondiscriminatory"? It's her business, her ethics, and, clearly, the *select* students just don't fit as clients. Not everyone is a satisfactory client (aside: as a consultant, one of the inside consultant jokes is "if it wasn't for these *&^%$ clients this would be a good job" --all humor intended--mostly). She simply deselected these girls as clients and explained why. Most of just happen to agree with her decision. "Fair and discriminatory" are up to her and, thankfully, her problem. I have friends--wannabee pro photographers--who would love to have the oppportunity (ies) to carefully accept and reject clients.

StanB makes some good points but to apply the "Newman/Krupp" solution is, in principle, doing the same as the young photographer. It's still being a moral judge but instead of not photographing the subject you are deciding to photograph the subject in a negative or less than complimentary way.

"and one flyer i sent out stated that I could make a CEO look like a human"

That was a big mistake. For a couple years I had a regular gig photographing "risk managers" for a major international bank. They all wanted to look as fierce as possible. They never chose the "nice" photos but instead chose the pictures where they looked like they were going to knife someone. Maybe they all had that Edward Steichen portrait of J.P. Morgan in mind or something.

Obviously a private individual can freely choose who s/he wants to do business with, even when he runs his own company. but if you have a contract with the school to photograph its students then I think you are not in a position to choose regardless on what grounds. Unfortunately most photographers, or other business people, don't have the luxury to choose their clients. The Newman/Krupp treatment was kind of extreme, but fitted theat particular purpose very well.

It would have been entirely honourable if this was a position the photographer took without advertising it on the internet, but instead made her feelings plain but private to her clients. As it is, by that single action, she has moved the whole debate into a new area, one in which she herself has set herself up as public judge, jury and executioner. I'm not comfortable with that, no matter how much I might agree with her thinking about the original matter.

I do suspect that the decision to put all of this onto the internet was more of a business / personal publicity decision than a moral point of view, and she's not paying the price herself. And I can suspect that with only the same burden of proof that she used to condemn other people on the internet, without offering evidence in the public domain. And it is just as fair for me to make that observation as it was for her to make her observations.

Given that it is possible to still identify the four people concerned through Facebook (there may be more, but 4 are identifiable), I hope she's got a good lawyer the grace to clean up her Facebook.

Interesting...I certainly know photographers who refuse to photograph any assignments that have to do with the tobacco industry, meat of any kind, and war profiteers, maybe this is just an extension of that attitude for the portrait shooters among us....

...but...

What adult is spending the time looking at high-schoolers Facebook pages, eeesh...if this was a guy, it'd be 'creepy'...

I understand Jennifer's call to not photograph those unlovely individuals but like others who have commented, I feel that it makes for uneasy consequences; where do you draw the line?, the thin end of the wedge, etc.
However for me the bigger issue is, what does Jennifer and other like-minded photographers think they are doing when they photograph people with the intention to make them look 'good'?
And, why is that different to what Diane Arbus thought she was doing when she did her 'ugly' portraits. To my mind, Diane wasn't trying to make people look bad. She photographed them honestly, with integrity, allowing aspects of her subject's character to be revealed.
As long as photographers are required by the client to make them look like a film star, pop celebrity or whatever self-deception they are afflicted with, then either the photographer accepts the commission without whinging and does the make-over photos, or says, "No thanks". In the real world there isn't an option where you get to accuse the subject of not being good enough for you.
Only in Facebook-land.

Stan B., while I acknowledge your points as logical, I remember the words (and this is a paraphrase, and I cannot remember the author)that went something like "the only thing needed for evil to prevail, is for good men (or in this case, women) to do nothing. It's certainly true that none of us is perfect (an understatement), and that if she were to try to choose who should or should not be photographed using anywhere near perfection as a guideline, none of us could be photographed by this young lady. But, she is doing something. She has chosen not to do nothing.

Props to Stan B and Mike for the Arnold Newman reference and link.
The fact that One Minds Eye is out of print is wrong on a cosmic level.
My well thumbed through copy is a multi generational treasure at our house.
The Krupp pictue is only one of the masterpieces in that magnificent book.

"Sexy Executives" completely contradicts the values that Jennifer McKendrick is making stand for. Shame on TOP for posting that link.

"Ugly is as ugly does"

I guess she has never seen Arnold Newman's photos of Alfried Krupps. Frankly, a look at her photos shows that she is punching above her weight with a stance like that. All she is doing is confirming the bully's difference from everybody else. What they really need is to be shown they are just like everybody else. Show them love, it's probably the lack of it that caused them to bully in the first place.

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