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Let me sing you a rant

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about a lot of stuff, mainly plagiarism and not academic fraud you get caught for in school but the kind that people are getting away with. Let me begin. First of all, Ottawa has a lack of decent photographers, there are a few who can actually direct the models themselves and provide a lot of input, so far, we’ve found 4 that can do this. Here’s my problem. I was perusing a few websites today of photographers myself and a few of my colleagues have worked with. These websites are either flickr accounts, model mayhem accounts of personal sites. Every single photographer that is decent in the city provides credits to every person he or she has worked with. Every photographer that stands still and snaps the photo, well does not.

It is so irritating to see people commenting on photographer X’s picture about what a great job they did, however, it is clear that photographer X never really contributed to the photograph at all. All they did was snap it because they have an expensive camera. Did they place the model? Did they choose the clothes? Did they provide input regarding any of the elements that helped make the picture? NO NO AND NO! So why do you take the credit for taking such a marvelous shot? You shouldn’t, plain and simple. You contribute lighting? It takes them at least 2 hours to set up and you know what, it’s bad. Even their photoshop work is unworthy and has to be re-edited.

This is my rant, felt by many people who have worked with photographers in Ottawa. So here’s my message to photographers:

Learn the basics of fashion photography. It’s not about your equipment it’s about your creativity. Don’t take credit for work you didn’t do, have the decency of providing the person’s name, otherwise, it’s plagiarism. And my final word to you is, stop being so cocky because you suck. Unless you’re good, then you have no reason to be cocky because even those 4 good photographers in the city who are good, well, THEY AREN’T COCKY.

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4 responses »

  1. Sounds like someone is having a frustrating time.

    I completely disagree with most of your statements:
    – there are more than four good photographers in Ottawa
    – not everything has to be “photoshopped” to be considered a fashion photo (please look at Andrew Hetherington)
    – taking a picture is more than just contributing light and pushing a button. I could write a 20 page essay about the why. If it’d be so easy then you wouldn’t need dedicated photographers as “you are right in that regard:” expensive equipment really doesn’t matter that much.
    You can get kick ass pictures with cheap cameras. And likewise does expensive equipment not save you if someone in the team screws up.

    It’s a team effort. Always. The “providing credits” thing is not very common. From over 200 comp cards I’ve seen, there may have been credits for 2 photographers in total. NO mention of stylists/other artists whatsoever.
    Some of the magazines I buy sometimes don’t even mention the model’s names in the editorials. Model’s portfolios don’t credit who was involved. My print book does not mention anyone but i’d be happy to tell anyone who was involved in what image.

    There are bad photographers everywhere – so are models – so are stylists.

    In the end it all comes down to taste. It’s like bands – some people like them, some don’t. There are people who absolutely hate that high gloss over-photoshopped-look – and others who hate grainy film prints with bad colour cast.
    I suppose the main problem is that everyone has an opinion about it and that it really comes down to what seemingly is just a person pushing a button on a device.

    A closing thought:
    if it’s a “marvelous shot”, I wouldn’t care how bad that photographer is because apparently he did do a good enough job then and everyone (should be) is happy ;p

    and “plagiarism” is something very different..

  2. your opinion is yours, however, you won’t know this feeling until you feel it. I’m not talking about comp card nor magazine work, I’m talking about when people show off their own work it is a rule they must include all the credits. If you include everyone in a magazine, it’s mayhem, that is why I made no mention of a magazine for credits.
    And yes, you can take great shots with cheap cameras when you have a good eye certainly agree with that one!!!

  3. thesubadultyears

    I’m interestd in seeing your idea of good work.

  4. well if i would have to refer to Ottawa so here are my picks:
    16 year old fashion photographer Alex Denomay – http://www.flickr.com/photos/adenomay
    and for photo journalism Paul Galipeau – http://lechampiondumonde.com/
    If you want me to talk about good work in fashion photography elsewhere around the world, then that’s going to take awhile! What are yours?

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