When I first picked up my camera I was a point and shoot diva. I threw that baby in auto and clicked away, shooting my friends and their kids. My friends, who were so wonderfully supportive, loved every photo, even the terrible ones. Once I learned some new modes on my little Sony NEX 3, I wanted to venture into boudoir photography and I had just the model for it. She agreed to pose in her lingerie for me and gave me permission to post the photos online. These were all done in good test with no nudity. I had several other models start to contact me for photos. My Facebook fan page grew overnight from 100 likes to 1500 likes.
With the new popularity, I began to enter into a new level of confidence and pride.
Then I began to wonder: did people really like my photos? All my pride and confidence was smashed on a fall afternoon. I awoke to great news; I was being published with the first boudoir photos I ever shot. I was so excited that I immediately shared the news on my Facebook page. Like after like began to appear on my status, comments saying “congrats girl!” kept coming. I excitedly continued to check my post. Then I was tagged in a post on a private group: the post read, “Wow, they really publish anything these day. Look at this dependa fauxtog and her slutty porn star ‘model.” My heart sank.
As a professional or even a long time hobbyist, we are always learning. Everyone starts somewhere.
I’m a non-confrontational person, but seeing this made me so upset I had to say something. I replied with “Why would you say something like that about someone? I have no idea who you are and I don’t understand why you dislike me so much.” I should have just left it at that and blocked those mean girls right away, but I didn’t. For three hours I received terrible messages and comments saying things such as how dare I photograph pornography, I suck, I should just die and never take another photo again. I spent about a week feeling sorry for myself and crying. This bullying continued for months, from the same three women whom I had never met. Then a male photographer chimed in on his page belittling me and the model who was in the photographs.
This might surprise you, but this type of “criticism” happens on a daily basis to new or less educated photographers. This seems to be the new norm on these Facebook groups. I’ve seen photographers made fun of for their youthful appearance, ganged up on over a photo taken on a train track, and there are even “fauxtog” pages where they share photos they think suck.
This cyber bullying needs to stop. Yes, some photos are really terrible, but no human should be treated this way. As a professional or even a long time hobbyist, we are always learning. Everyone starts somewhere. Sure, the photos on the train tracks are dangerous, and the woman wrapped in the American flag does violate the flag code, but don’t surround the uneducated photographers with hate; empower them, educate them. Or even better - if you don’t have any new or positive input, keep your mouth shut.
Many Kind Regards
EJ has a few things to say about bullies.
original image credit: Chris Ford Flickr