Archivi categoria: dispute

4 Lessons for Photographers from the Story of Desiree Genera

On Wednesday night, a developing story kept popping up on my feed featuring Katrina Ortiz (a photo client) and Desiree Genera (a photographer). Initially, Katrina posted positive feedback regarding her hired photographer after receiving an edited image in digital format.

Like most clients excited about their most recent professional photography session, she made it her profile picture and couldn’t wait to see the rest.

Desiree had posted on Facebook that the rest of Katrina’s maternity session would be complete and available for viewing on Tuesday (3/14/17), 2 weeks ahead of the photographer’s initially-stated timeline.

At 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Katrina checked in via Facebook messenger to see if her photos were complete.

Clearly, from the exchange, Desiree was not happy to be interrupted while trying to do the editing. For her, this meant Katrina would now have to wait the full 4 week turnaround time instead of receiving them 2 weeks early.

Despite this news, Katrina politely backed off and apologized for the interruption. Katrina thought it was over until just a short while later she noticed she was a topic of discussion on Desiree’s personal Facebook page.

Desiree was openly discussing the altercation with her audience and even went live on Facebook, expressing her annoyance with the interruption. In these live videos, Desiree described the need to fix her client’s wig, stretch marks, fat, cellulite, etc. You can view the videos below (warning: there is plenty of foul language):

After seeing this happen right on her own news feed, Katrina’s opinion of the quality of service offered by Desiree changed. She began recording the live videos and sharing them on her page, as well as explaining to her friends what took place.

The story then quickly spread across Facebook. Some people expressed sympathy and suggestions to Katrina given the rudeness she had to endure, others began attacking Desiree’s photography business.

Desiree seemed to welcome the traffic, spending the day uploading new videos, as well as sharing old ones related to her business. Perhaps she was holding on to the adage, “all press is good press” because, despite the incoming negativity, her videos and posts were racking up views and interactions.

She went as far as to suggest that she would soon be “cashing in” on all the viral attention.

Katrina then requested on her Facebook for those following the story to report the images on Desiree’s page to get them taken down.

Many went a step further, leaving nasty messages, comments, and negative reviews on her brand’s marketing accounts. Others were tagging local and national news outlets in an attempt to bring an even bigger spotlight on the story.

Now, I didn’t bring this story up to tell you that it’s not a good idea to conduct business in this manner — if you were considering doing so there probably isn’t much hope for your business’s future. However, I found so many things in this story that have huge implications on our industry.

#1. Mixing Business and Personal Life is Dangerous

Whether you are deciding to go live on Facebook, or determining if you need 2 separate Instagram accounts for the various aspects of your life, it’s always worth considering your audience.

Most importantly, who you choose to discuss the quirky and infuriating intimacies of our industry with can always come back to bite you in the butt. This is most dangerous on social media, where…

#2. More than Just Your Friends are Watching

Curated feeds are designed to promote posts that get the most interaction. All of Katrina’s phone videos on this altercation now have tens of thousands of views. Even Desiree’s videos completely unrelated to the exchange have had a dramatic increase in traffic.

If it’s interesting enough, your message (positive or negative) can quickly spread around the world. Despite the fact that all the live videos Desiree shared are now deleted, along with many of the associated posts, screenshots and other people’s recordings live on. Remember, every time you post you are starting a fire that you may not be able to put out.

#3. Beware the Tribe Mentality

Katrina has every right to leave a negative review if she is dissatisfied with the photography service she paid for. Like all of us, Desiree has to accept the possibility of negative feedback with every image she delivers. This is all part of a single transaction.

However, as soon as the story spread the tribe mentality took over. When people are acting as part of a large group, they are far more likely to exhibit hatred. One commentor even offered to push this story to her Facebook group of over 20,000 mothers to help punish Desiree’s business.

While I find Desiree’s response and videos unprofessional, I do not think she should be at the mercy of a massive group that was uninvolved in the transaction.

At the same time, her continued defiance and traffic-relishing tells me she’s not very upset by the negative attention. After all, our society has been known to catapult people to fame simply by hating them enough. How bout dah?

#4. What’s Obvious, Isn’t.

In this instance, Katrina felt she had every right to stop Desiree from using the images to promote her work. Some commenting even suggested that “if you already paid for these (photos), they don’t belong to her anymore”.

While the photographer here may have made some questionable decisions, she does still retain the right to the images she captured.

When our entire day-to-day is based around a specific industry, we tend to assume that the standards of our industry are glowingly apparent to the public. Back when I waited tables at Chili’s, I scoffed when a guest was unaware that the salad garnish in the Quesadilla Explosion Salad had onions in it. Those guests were not chefs.

Your clients are not professional photographers. It is our job to educate clients on all aspects of the photography service, as well as outline it within contracts. Failure to do so leads to incorrect assumptions by those hiring us, as well as the general public.

Conclusion

It’s never a good idea to go off on the struggles of our industry on a social media platform, regardless of how infuriated you are. Be wise to any message that you put out to the world, even if you think just your friends are listening. Educate your clients on the specifics of both the industry as well as your brand.

As photographers, we are trusted with people’s memories, personalities, and passions. We also carry the weight of their imperfections. It’s best to treat them all delicately.


About the author: Robert Hall is a wedding, portrait, and commercial photographer based in Michigan. You can find more of his work on his website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

This Woman Tried to Publicly Shame a Photographer, and It Backfired

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One woman just received a big lesson on how NOT to treat photographers, and one photographer is being praised for how she handled an extremely difficult client.

It all started when the woman published her private conversation and dispute with the baby photographer on her town’s “Cheers and Jeers” Facebook page (where locals can share gripes, complains, raves, and praises) in an attempt to shame the photographer for giving her bad service:

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After reading the conversation, however, the town’s residents overwhelmingly voiced their support for the photographer and how she handled the woman’s behavior. One of the residents then took screenshots of the thread and published it to Reddit, where it went viral.

Here’s the conversation posted by the photography client (the blue text boxes are the woman’s messages, and the gray ones are the photographer’s responses):

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The woman posted this conversation in hopes that others would side with her against the photographer, but things didn’t go according to plan. Here’s a sampling of the responses to her post:

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As you can see, the woman’s “jeer” turned out to be an ad for the photographer that may have attracted at least one potential future photo client.

Cafe Mocks Photographer Who Asked That Stolen Photo Be Taken Down

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A cafe based in Dublin, Ireland, rubbed photographers the wrong way today by poking fun at a photographer who had requested credit for a photo used without her permission.

Back on August 12, the The White Moose Café posted a tongue-in-cheek post on Facebook about its “Bring Your Own Boob” policy, a €5 corkage charge for bringing your own breastmilk to breastfeed babies in the cafe — a joke, of course.

However, included in the post was a photo published by Brooklyn-based photographer Melina McGrew McConnaughy and used without McConnaughy’s knowledge or permission. McConnaughy then sent the cafe a private message, explaining that the photo is copyrighted and requesting that it be deleted from the post.

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Instead of deleting the photo and post (which has gotten over 3,900 Likes on Facebook), White Moose Café today published McConnaughy’s message and a public response to her request. In a mocking tone, the cafe explained why she should be content with receiving a credit added to the original post.

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“I am so silly. I thought that any images that are on Google, already there for the world to see, were completely free to use. My bad,” Paulie of the cafe writes. “I can only imagine that you must have lost out on thousands if not millions of dollars worth of business by my not crediting you.”

“You seem to be a master in the field of baby-sucking-tit photography,” he continues. “[…] by way of an apology, I have credited you…”

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While the new post has been popular with the cafe’s fans, the majority of the top comments are from people defending McConnaughy:

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At the time of this article, both the original post and the response to McConnaughy are still up on the cafe’s Facebook page.


Update: It seems that McConnaughy has responded with a review on the cafe’s Yelp page:

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Update: The cafe has posted another post in response to another message it has received from someone else regarding copyrighted photos:

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…and in the comments of that post:

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Cafe Mocks Photographer Who Asked That Stolen Photo Be Taken Down

takedownrequestfeat

A cafe based in Dublin, Ireland, rubbed photographers the wrong way today by poking fun at a photographer who had requested credit for a photo used without her permission.

Back on August 12, the The White Moose Café posted a tongue-in-cheek post on Facebook about its “Bring Your Own Boob” policy, a €5 corkage charge for bringing your own breastmilk to breastfeed babies in the cafe — a joke, of course.

However, included in the post was a photo published by Brooklyn-based photographer Melina McGrew McConnaughy and used without McConnaughy’s knowledge or permission. McConnaughy then sent the cafe a private message, explaining that the photo is copyrighted and requesting that it be deleted from the post.

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Instead of deleting the photo and post (which has gotten over 3,900 Likes on Facebook), White Moose Café today published McConnaughy’s message and a public response to her request. In a mocking tone, the cafe explained why she should be content with receiving a credit added to the original post.

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“I am so silly. I thought that any images that are on Google, already there for the world to see, were completely free to use. My bad,” Paulie of the cafe writes. “I can only imagine that you must have lost out on thousands if not millions of dollars worth of business by my not crediting you.”

“You seem to be a master in the field of baby-sucking-tit photography,” he continues. “[…] by way of an apology, I have credited you…”

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While the new post has been popular with the cafe’s fans, the majority of the top comments are from people defending McConnaughy:

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At the time of this article, both the original post and the response to McConnaughy are still up on the cafe’s Facebook page.


Update: It seems that McConnaughy has responded with a review on the cafe’s Yelp page:

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Update: The cafe has posted another post in response to another message it has received from someone else regarding copyrighted photos:

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…and in the comments of that post:

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Controversial Combat Photo Leads to Ukrainian Photographer’s Dismissal

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Ukrainian photographer Dmitry Muravsky has been dismissed by his country’s Ministry of Defense after his viral combat photos became the center of controversy regarding whether or not they were staged.

One particular photo, shown above, appears to show soldiers carrying a wounded comrade and fleeing from an explosion in Shyrokyne, a village in eastern Ukraine. That photo has been widely accused of being staged in recent days, and the Washington Post reported on the controversy late last week.

One Ukrainian officer who served in the village at the time, Viktor Moroz, took to Facebook to call the photo a fake.

“The men were told what to do and how to act, there were no injuries and sprained limbs,” he wrote. “There was no bombardment, an explosive device was detonated remotely, covered in a sack or in cement or in a mixture used for construction, or in chalk.”

Earlier last week, a group of Ukrainian photojournalists published an open letter, warning of the dangers of publishing untruthful propaganda photos.

“We emphasize that the only thing we are winning in the conflict with Russia is uncompromising and truthful presentation of information from the [front],” the letter says. “We kindly ask not to put these photos on a par with Russian fakes. The war is really going on, really, people are dying, and to prove it there is [a huge] number of documentary photo and video evidence.”

Muravsky has vigorously defended the photo, saying that it does show soldiers running away from an explosion caused by “the enemy.” He tells the Washington Post that he doesn’t have photos leading up to the explosion because he deleted the “unnecessary” shots.

Another of Muravsky’s photos found in the same “Pain of War” series is remarkably similar, showing soldiers fleeing from an explosion that fills the frame:

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When questioned by the Washington Post, Muravsky wouldn’t say whether the photo was captured during an actual battle. Post journalists later discovered that the photo was uploaded the same day as another photo that was described by Muravsky as showing training.

This past Sunday, the Ukrainian government announced that would no longer be using any of the amateur photographer’s work and would be dismissing him from his role as “Volunteer Adviser.”

Ukraine says that the disputed photos were all captured before Muravsky appointment to the Ministry of Defense, that the images were never considered by the government to be real war photos, and that Muravsky never claimed that they were (to the government). Even so, the Minister of Defense has decided to dismiss Muravsky due to the “public reaction” to his photographs.

“Ukraine has always adhered to the principle of uncompromising truth and transparency in its war against the Russian aggression, including Russian propaganda,” Ukraine writes.


Image credits: Photographs by Dmitry Muravsky

Actress Apologizes for Wrongly Accusing Magazine of Photoshopping Her Body

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Actress Lena Dunham, the creator and star of the HBO show Girls, is apologizing to the Spanish magazine Tentaciones today after publicly accusing them of Photoshopping her body for their latest cover photo. It turns out the magazine wasn’t to blame.

The story erupted yesterday after Dunham published a photo of the cover on Instagram to her 2.4 million followers.

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“I am genuinely honored to be on your cover and so happy you licensed a pic by @ruvenafanador, who always makes me feel gorgeous,” writes Lena in the caption. “BUT this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like- the magazine has done more than the average photoshop. So if you’re into what I do, why not be honest with your readers?”

After the post was liked tens of thousands of times in just a few short hours, El Pais (the highest-circulation Spanish newspaper that publishes Tentaciones) published an open letter on its website, responding to Dunham’s accusation and saying that it published the exact photo it licensed.

“For the front cover of the magazine we used an image from the shoot you did in 2013 with the photographer Ruven Afanador,” the paper writes. “Here at TENTACIONES, we acquired the photo via the Corbis agency, and we used the original that they sent us without applying any kind of retouching.”

“Those who are familiar with and follow our magazine will know that we do not use Photoshop nor other digital tools to change the physical appearance of our cover stars, nor in the features to be found inside. On this occasion, the only thing we did was to crop the image to adapt it to the format of our front page.”

Here’s the original photo, as shared by its photographer, Ruven Afanador:

Lena Dunham, photographed in New York City on January 8th, 2013 for Entertainment Weekly…

Posted by Ruven Afanador on Thursday, February 14, 2013

El Pais overlaid its magazine cover on the original picture to show that it hadn’t been retouched:

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“As you can see, the image is exactly the same,” El Pais writes.

After seeing the open letter and photo comparison, Lena published a followup post on Instagram, apologizing for the accusation she had previously made.

“I understand that a whole bunch of people approved this photo before it got to you — and why wouldn’t they? I look great,” Dunham writes. “But it’s a weird feeling to see a photo and not know if it’s your own body anymore…”

“I have a long and complicated history with retouching,” she continues. “I […] want to be honest about who I am and what I stand for.”

“Thanks for helping me figure that out and sorry to make you the problem, you cool Spanish magazine you.”

We’ve reached out to Afanador to inquire about what kind of retouching went into the photo he published. We’ll publish an update if we hear back.

B&H Responds to US Govt Lawsuit, Calls Claims ‘Inaccurate’ and ‘Bizarre’

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One of the big stories in the photo industry this month was news that the US government is suing the camera superstore B&H Photo Video for discrimination and harassment of its workers.

After initially refusing the comment to the media, B&H yesterday published a statement about the lawsuit and offered its defense. The store calls the governments claims “not only inaccurate, but bizarre.”

In its statement published last week, the US Government said it had found that B&H “Relegated Hispanic warehouse workers to separate, unsanitary and often inoperable restrooms.”

Not true, says B&H.

“The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility,” the store writes. “We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true. Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.”

B&H also says that while many other companies are choosing to outsource jobs internationally to countries where labor is cheaper, B&H has worked to keep its jobs in New York.

“The truth of the matter is these are trumped up allegations,” one B&H spokesperson tells PetaPixel. “It is true that I have 18 years with B&H, but I have not witnessed any of these allegations. I wouldn’t work for an outfit like it is being portrayed.”

“The segregated bathrooms is a complete and utter lie, and it makes for good press, so it’s being tossed around.”

In its lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is asking that B&H provide “relief” to affected workers, lest the camera store lose its $46 million contract with the government.


Image credits: Header photograph by Dmadeo

Photographers in Dispute Over No Compete Contract

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There’s currently a heated dispute going on between two photographers over the issue of a signed “no compete” contract for teaching photography.

A photographer named LH [name redacted for privacy] is accusing Texas-based photographer Kyiera Jones of violating an agreement she signed back in July 2015 when she purchased 4 of LH’s videos that contained 14 hours of editing examples and instruction.

LH has strict no compete terms that every customer must agree to. “Videos and recordings are not available to those who do ANY mentoring of any kind,” she writes on her product pages. “Videos and recordings are not available for purchase by those who reside within 75 miles of [LH’s city].”

Her lengthier Terms of Use page prevents customers from teaching photography and post-processing for 2 years after their purchase:

You may not produce any videos in the form of a photography and/or post-processing workshop/tutorial either for sale and/or free for two(2) years from the time that you signed up for a workshop. Even if you cancel your workshop you are still held to this two year condition.

You may not produce any Photoshop actions or Lightroom presets either for sale or free away for two(2) years from the time that you download your first one.

LH’s records show that on July 2nd, Jones purchased 4 of her instructional videos for $424.50:

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“She has now breached contract by opening up her own editing webinars a mere few months after purchasing my tutorials,” LH tells PetaPixel.

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LH went public with her side of the story last Friday by publishing this post on Facebook. The post, which has since been deleted, has received hundreds of likes and comments from supporters, but LH has also received hate messages as well.

“Unfortunately, in this industry, you are a hater and a bully if you dare enforce your terms (that no one forced anyone to agree to – they are all free to NOT purchase and teach to their heart’s content),” she tells PetaPixel. “I’ve gotten some horrible hate mail since this all came out from people completely uninvolved in the situation who just couldn’t resist putting in their 2 cents.”

“Everyone wants to be a victim, no one wants to do what is right or admit when they are doing wrong.”

Jones responded to LH’s accusations in a comment on Facebook, saying that her style is completely different and that she’s simply showing how to use actions purchased from an entirely different photographer:

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The problem is, LH’s “no compete” terms are broad, and the wording restricts customers from doing any kind of teaching, regardless of whether the technique was learned from the videos that were purchased. And Jones did agree to the terms by buying the videos.

Jones declined to comment on this story, telling PetaPixel that she’s “not looking to get involved with it.”

“My attorney is on this case and LH can expect a cease and desist letter coming her way,” she says.



Image credits: Header photo by @sage_solar