And since this is my blog, I get to do that from time to time. Weeks ago I got an email from a photographer, the subject line read ‘can you believe this’. She wrote a little of her own thoughts against the photographer and then directed to the Facebook thread where I found dozens upon dozens of comments ripping the photographer apart for a poor decision she had made with a newborn pose. Now I am not going to argue the validity of what was underneath what these photographers were saying. The pose was dangerous and we do want to always keep any and every client we photograph safe. I know that, you know that – so that point is moot.
What I was appalled by was the manner of harshness that these women showed toward this photographer. I could see it all. These women feeling it was their “duty” to correct this photographer while they safely hid behind their computer screens never having to see what effects their nasty, degrading and bitter words had. I also felt like I could see her… I could feel the shear panic as she realized why her picture had been posted, the fear as she read the first and second comments and the painful reality grip her as she scrolled further and further down to what I’m sure felt like endless torment and humiliation. Maybe this is because it’s how I would have reacted but I imagined her sobbing in her husbands arms as she felt everything she had slip away from her. And not because these women threatened to email her, “educate” her on her own business FB wall and even call Child Protective Services on her -no that wasn’t it – it was because they had destroyed what ever she had once believed she might be capable of. And it was as if they were laughing… Happy that they had done us all the favor by squashing this girl’s dream.
I read comment after comment ridiculing this girl and then a ray of sunlight as another photographer would ask that those voicing such strong opinions show some respect and sensitivity. But they would bite back ferociously, “their duty was to the baby” and with that they felt they had the right to behave as they did.
Why? Why do people excuse cruelty in the name of justice? How can people tolerate humiliation for the sake of “education”. I believe that there is always room for kindness, always. This world is so full of anger, revenge and maliciousness! Why do we feel it our right and our duty to add to the ugliness? I would bet that this photographer and every other who has been publicly humiliated like this has had an ugly seed of bitterness planted toward their fellow photographers as a result. I would also bet that if kindness had been shown instead that they would have walked away a better photographer and then turned and sought out opportunities to share with others.
We learned it before Kindergarden but apparently it needs to be reiterated… IF YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING NICE THEN DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. If you think you absolutely have to say it, CALL THEM ON THE PHONE so that you can hear their tears instead of hiding behind your screen and pretending that your doing the world a favor. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain–and most do.” — Dale Carnegie
It’s easy to complain, it takes no amount of intelligence to criticize and those who condemn have never been trustworthy in my book. Don’t do what is easy. Easy never was worth remembering. Instead do what takes more thought, more love, more wisdom and more compassion. Choose to make people feel better about themselves and you will ultimately make the world better from it.
Congratulations to Adrienne who has won a spot in Brooke Snow’s upcoming Advanced Pro Online Photography Course!