What I represent?

I had someone post a comment recently mentioning what I represent to the industry. What do I represent? Seriously…what?

Not a damn thing, that’s what. I am not a journalist, so I owe no objectivity, though I try to be objective when that is what is “best” to do. I’m not elected by any of you nor are (almost) any of you paying me (there are a VERY few who have made donations to this blog–over the months less than $250 total has been offered), so there is no fiduciary responsibility.

I don’t represent anyone but me.

No, all I try to do with this blog and in all my writing, etc., is to offer up my perspective and sometimes I try to goose you all into thinking differently than you might originally. And I try to give you all the best business-related advice I can. My expertise is in marketing for photographers and that is mostly what I try to share. 

But sometimes I get asked my opinion and then I sometimes share my thoughts. 

In the Greenberg post and comments, I never applauded her for her actions, yet people have made it sound like I am her staunch supporter. Read what I have written again–I have said that I don’t think what she did was wrong. That doesn’t mean I think it was a good thing to have done. You can not do wrong without doing right. 

I have said that I thought she has handled it poorly after the fact. Some of what she has been quoted as saying is stuff that I wouldn’t have said in her place–no question. But I can see the parallels in her actions and comments with other artists of the past. I can put on my “what if” hat and think about how hard it is to get national press–good or bad–for your art and I can muse about why it’s okay for some artists (mostly male, you’ll note) to get away with much more objectionable behavior in the name of art, but Ms. G. is getting her ass handed to her.

As I go through law school, I am learning to look at all the possible sides of arguments. I think that is a very good (though often annoying and difficult) thing to try to do. 

So, for the record, I don’t represent any of you and I don’t claim to. If you disagree with me on my opinions, that is just fine.

Just be respectful and understanding.

5 Replies to “What I represent?”

  1. This obviously a super hot topic and has taken on extreme momentum. Leslie I agree with your original post in that editorial rates are hard to make ends meet and that every photographer should try and get something for themselves on those projects. I think that you are taking a lot of heat because you have not addressed the ramifications that will ripple through the industry because of Greenbergs actions. In my opinion your original post sets the tone that “Ms. Greenberg is entirely clean in this.” Yes one can make arguments on both sides. Did she do “wrong”? Well a good lawyer could argue both sides. Again I think the anger is coming from you not addressing the issues and fallout that most of us in the industry are pissed and or worried about. After all the issue is not whether or not under lighting a subject without them knowing for your “art” is wrong. The issue in my mind is having a PREMEDITATED agenda that ends up taking down your client and subject. This is not good business practice. Ms. Greenberg is not entirely clean in this.

  2. I meant she was entirely clean on having fulfilled her contractual obligations and she did not do anything technically wrong by making additional images (forget about their style or whatever–just making them) while she had the opportunity.

    As for the anger, you haven’t seen the worst (anonymous, not surprising) posts. I’m being called things like an “f-ing idiot.” That is uncalled for.

    I’m also being told that I “owe it to the community” to keep my personal opinions to myself when they aren’t popular. Well hey, if people don’t like what I have to say they are free to (as someone else posted on the Greenberg thread) click off my blog and not read it.

    It’s easy to read the popularity of the opinion that Ms. Greenberg is a horrible person who did horrible things and to jump on that bandwagon to get pats on the back. But I would be lying if I said I really thought that what she did was going to bring down the hammer on photographers. It’s not. Things like this have happened in the past and they will happen in the future. I’ve just been trying to talk the photo community off the proverbial ledge, as it were.

  3. I love spectacle. This one is pretty good.

    It’s funny that Atlantic Monthly said they weren’t going to pay JG for her efforts (could be a prollem there), but there are two things that can’t be controlled after the fact: The increase in Atlantic Monthly sales because of JG’s efforts. And the increase in JG’s client list.

    I gotta go get me a spectacle. But I want one where nobody gets hurt.


  4. This story has so many angles, so many issues to try and wrap the mind around… where and what to focus on in the shit storm is almost overwhelming.

    I agree that, based on what I’ve learned since yesterday, Jill is in the clear legal-wise. She fulfilled her contractual obligations to The Atlantic Monthly and delivered her signature style portrait, which they indeed proudly published. By all accounts I have read so far, she honored the two week image embargo she was able to negotiate with the magazine’s art-buyer before posting the the manipulated images on her website. In truth, I take no real issue with the secondary lighting scheme she was somehow able to get McCain to pose for, nor would I take issue with the distribution of those images once her contractual obligations to Atlantic were completed.

    In order to stay clear of and negotiate my way through the opinion/rhetoric fog surrounding the story, I have focused squarely on her very public comments as published initially at PDN Pulse. Poor form is the sole critique I can make. Why is it that whenever an artists starts verbalizing about their art/product/whatever, I immediately begin to lose interest?

    As to the repercussions of those poorly chosen words, time will tell. Yesterday, I was of the opinion that it was career suicide and likely to have a negative ripple effect throughout the creative and publishing communities. Now I’m not so sure.

    What I do know… or what I have learned from the past few days is, if the one of the purposes of making art is to make us think, challenge us, create controversy and stimulate dialog, then Jill has succeeded in spades. No matter your opinion of her “creations”, their merit or lack thereof, she got us talking.

    The other lesson I have learned in all of this is that once we started talking, the downward spiral of public discourse in America was painfully illustrated for all to see. A quick read thru the 600+ comments left at the online PDN Pulse article sent shivers up my spine. Obviously, Leslie, you are now on the receiving end of some of that spleen draining too.

    You took a stand… bravo, for what it’s worth. That takes guts and wrong or right, you have gained my admiration in that simple act alone. I do believe this will blow over quickly, Jill will continue to work, I & Joe Photographer will continue to work… we will elect a new president and he will be the one the collective “we” deserve, with or without Jill’s images. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that what we deserve is far less than we could ever hope to aspire to.

    Thanks for sharing, thanks for the blog… your check is in the mail.

    As to the repercussions of her words

  5. Leslie I completely respect your opinions. The hateful anon post are cowardice. I get the feeling that you have not seen the McCain photo illustrations Greenberg posted on her site. You can easily google them. I am not talking about a simple unflattering horror photo of McCain. In my opinion Greenbergs propaganda of McCain is of the same level of hate that you have been receiving via your blog. For the record I am a full on Obama supporter. Based on her quotes in the press she had a premeditated agenda and she left her client to play damage control. Greenberg then adds insult to injury by saying that The Atlantic was irresponsible to hire her. contractually, yes she delivered the job but at what cost to photographers shooting politicians, celebrities, or athletes in the future. I completely disagree with you that the repercussions of this will not affect photographers that shoot public figures editorially. Ms Greenberg deserves all the success she has cultivated. However her ego on this one has gotten the best of her. It will be interesting to see how her new agency Art Mix will spin her career after all this? I am sure that she will be fine.

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