Be Careful What You Say…And Who You Say it About

Some people treat the internet as if it’s some impenetrable safety barrier, protecting them from any asinine act they might perform online. Time and again though, that’s been proven quite untrue, and it happened again yesterday. This time it involved a photographer friend of mine.

Some idiot named Patrick (or Patric, depending on which page of his site you believe), an alleged photographer claiming 20+ years of experience (or 30+, depending on which page of his site you believe), went on a rant about the virtues of a very popular portrait photographer, namely Lisa Holloway. Now, any of you that know me also probably recognize that name, because she does the kind of people shooting that I aspire to. I’ve taken one of her processing classes, and it was worth every cent and every minute spent. It’s also the kind of work that many other people aspire to as well, because she has well over 80,000 followers on Facebook, and it’s a contingent that is extraordinarily fond of her work. Not Patric(k) though.

This gentleman is allegedly a photographer for a studio which I will not name. Now, this person’s site is touted as a portfolio site, an exemplar of his skill, but also contains a blog from which Patric(k) spouts his inanities. It also contains a sad collection of images that even I would be embarrassed to put out to the world, but that’s a whole different story. In a blog post called “Who to Hire”, rather than something along the lines of “hire me because I’m great, and I’ll tell you why”, instead this joker rants on about who you shouldn’t hire, particularly those who post-process their images, and more specifically Lisa, who although not mentioned by name, was represented by two of her own shots, which, by the way, had the watermarks removed.

After a snide introduction, during which he abuses some unknown photographer’s landscape shot (claimed to be a stock photo) and a picture of a velvet Elvis, Patric(k) goes on to post one of Lisa’s shots (a child), along with a commentary that not only disrespected Lisa’s work, but the subject of the shot as well. He then posted a second shot of hers, a baby shot, and went on for nearly 500 words abusing the shot, the child, the processing, and even fitting in some disparagement of Anne Geddes and a comparison to a $50 Craigslist photographer.

Finally, he goes on to post HIS idea of great photography, which consists of several mundane mid-20th-century shots in grainy black and white, in fact just more shots which he obviously didn’t take himself. He finished off the post with a recommendation of himself, of course, but apparently not because he’s good, rather than everyone else he just discussed is bad. Sounds like a ringing endorsement to me.

As you might imagine, someone found this post and relayed it to Lisa, who first contacted the site and demanded her images be removed. They were, but not without even further rude comments. The comment that replaced the first image was thus:

(pic removed because the alleged owner whined about it. But just imagine a disinterested girl in an evening gown standing on some nauseatingly over saturated red rocks in the desert )

The second was replaced with this:

(again, pic removed because the alleged owner of the image had an issue with their photo being used in a negative context)

Lisa then took this guy to task on her own Facebook page. Predictable results ensued. Within hours, Patric(k)’s Facebook page was gone, his site was locked down to comments, and he continued to spout his asshattery from behind the safety of his web page, while Lisa’s less-tolerant supporters dragged our little bitter blogger and his studio through nine kinds of mud. Evidently, this included emails and even phone calls (at least according to him), which were apparently of a less-than-flattering nature. Our intrepid blogger still continued to post, albeit while whining to everyone to please stop bothering him, threatening everyone with legal action, and blaming Lisa because she had the temerity to actually call him out publicly. Lisa was in fact kind enough to remove her post, but Patric(k)’s magnificent foot-in-mouth performance had already been seen by thousands and recorded for posterity.

So, friends and neighbors, what this should serve as is a cautionary tale about taking care what you say on the internet and who you say it to (or about). Firstly, a true professional would never, ever (EVER) say such disparaging things about another professional, especially on their own business site (then again, neither would any decent human being). Secondly, even a clearly inadequate, jealous, bitter, non-professional should know enough to realize when you whack a hornet’s nest, you’re going to get stung. Finally, if you’re really determined to throw rocks, you should make sure your own work will withstand the inevitable scrutiny. Our beloved Patric(k) failed miserably on all three counts, and now he’s dealing with the resultant shitstorm. Lisa will go on pleasing people with her wonderful work, and Patric(k) will eventually crawl back under whatever rock he emerged from, sadder and hopefully wiser for his experience (although that I doubt). All I can say it that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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