Friday, June 1, 2012

Pros: Please Be Kind Part III

Readers of my blog know that I am big on pros being kind to aspiring photographers. Here are two of my previous posts on that topic:

First post
Second post.

Well, unfortunately, it's time for Part III in this series. Below is an email I received from a very serious and disappointed  student who had participated in a photography workshop. She did not want to be named and did not want to name the instructors or the school (in this post). I did a search on the school. Shocked.

On the topic of naming the school and instructors: I am respecting the wishes of the photographer who contacted me. 

Darn lucky for the instructors and school/workshop that she did not want to mention them, I'd say. And, I guess they never heard the expressions: "People want to know how much you care before they care how much you know." And, "If you have the choice to be right or kind, be kind."

One of her photos opens this post. It's probably not the best picture ever taken in the history of the world, but I like the mood and feeling of the image. More important, it's an important image to the photographer.

Check out the photographer's email. But first, after reading the Comments here, the photographer wrote this:

I will confess that I had considered just putting my camera down after this experience for many reasons.

Reading the posts on your blog from other pros has been a healing experience for me and I can't thank you enough for renewing my faith in there being the right people out there to teach those of us who desire to learn more. I may not have a gift but I have a longing and teachers like you probably don't even realize how important you are or what a difference you make.


• • • • •

This was supposed to be a series of multi-day classes with a.m. instruction in the classroom and a shoot in the p.m. with two instructors. They were "celebrity" instructors from out of the country. They actually stated in class that what they would teach would be "life changing."

In the classroom we were told things like "don't take too many shots because your camera only has so many clicks in it and then you will have to buy another." Yup, they were dead serious.

They said camera stores encourage you to take a lot of shots because they want you to have to buy a new camera.

If you don't shoot crap you won't need things like Photoshop, Nik or Topaz.

They said a friend of theirs had just returned from a trip to the Outback for 3 months and only took 6 shots the entire time.

Never shoot in RAW - it is a waste of time.

They would ask the students in each class how many other of their classes they had signed up for, and then dress them down for not attending more.

In the field I had one instructor choose a lens for me and then the other a few minutes later berated me for my stupid choice of lens.

I had one tell me the composition on one of my shots was "crap" only to find a nearly identical shot taken by the other instructor on their FB later that night lauded as great composition.

I have never had any instructor in the field actually step into students' shots to take shots themselves – as we were supposed to be taking our turn shooting a model. You would just hear from the instructor, "oh, that's good" and then there would be their back in your view.

The final blow was when my friends called me from a restaurant they were the instructors were also dining with some other folks. The instructors were trashing the students they had that day (that included me) calling them names and making jokes loudly about how stupid the students were. My friends asked their server if the loud group might be asked to tone it down and were told, "They do that here every night and I can't imagine why anyone would pay such awful people to teach them anything."

I called and cancelled the rest of the classes the next morning.

Rick, thanks for being the excellent teacher you are.  When someone can make learning fun, that makes all the difference!

• • • • • 

As always, I'd like to hear from you in the Comments section here on my blog. So would the student. Please use your real name.

Explore the light,


Andy Williams said...

Sad but true, I've heard similar stories, Rick. When I'm leading a workshop or otherwise instructing another photographer, I really try to put everything I've got into helping them be better - there's just no other way to do it in my opinion! Good thing there are great teachers like you out there, Rick :)

Eddie Tapp said...

There are many workshops and seminars out there that are careless and un-experienced in teaching others no matter how talented...

There are workshops and seminars that are passionate about sharing experiences, motiving individuals and have the experience to listen, learn and share.

What you take away from a workshop is a feeling that will last forever...

Everyone has a technique or experience that you can benefit from regardless of their teaching skills...

Learn from many, but study with a few...

Learn something new about your camera today...

Be thankful for all of your experiences as the good ones can only be measured from the bad ones...

Come to the light...!

Eddie Tapp

Dave Cross said...

In my opinion, there is often a big difference between workshops run by people who are passionate about teaching and helping others, and those put on by people who see it as a chance to make some money, capitalizing on their "fame".

I always look for teachers who've been leading workshop for years and then read the reviews. Hopefully people like the ones in this story will get enough negative reviews that people will no longer attend their events.

Why do people put on events if they don't want to help their students? Sad.

Tom Baker said...

So sad. Maybe they are fantastic photographers but they failed at the job they were getting paid for. What a disservice to there students and the industry.

I've led classes where the talent was all over the place. That just gave me an opportunity to help people learn lots of new things. Why berate people who are out trying to get better at a hobby they enjoy?

This series makes me grimace. It also make me happy my first time out I got you and not them

Scott said...

What a terrible experience. Teachers need to have a passion for what they're teaching and a passion to help people.

Everyone starts somewhere but a poor teacher gets you nowhere. When a student of mine experiences a "wow" moment, I know I've succeeded in moving them forward.

If people don't want to help their students they should find something else to do.

Kevin Pepper said...

That makes me cringe. But I guess there are always going to bad apples out there in every industry.

I am a little speechless at some of the comments... "don't take too many photos" and "don't shoot in RAW"... kind of makes you sit back and think... "hmmm, maybe workshop instructors should have to go through some kind of certifification by a governing body".

I guess the silver lining in this is that workshop leaders that are more empathetic, have better information to offer, and actually care about the students will ultimately rise to the top; leaving people like this wondering where all their clients went.

The good ones are out there folks... just do your due diligence before choosing a mentor and teacher.

Kevin A Pepper

They call me Mel said...

It seems that the popular quick way for some photographers to make a dime in this economy is to run a workshop. Some friends and I have been talking about what qualifies one to teach. I have some friends who are phenomenally talented but just because they make a great image, doesn't mean they necessarily know how to teach this craft and they would never consider it.

Constructive critique is a heck of a lot different than bashing someone. It appears that these instructors were NOT on the same page nor were they equipped with the skills to teach.

Do your homework before you decide to take another class or workshop. Find out the background of your instructor(s). Ensure that their experience behind the lens as well as in a teaching environment provide you with the skills and knowledge you seek while giving you critical feedback in a positive setting.

Good luck!

Tim Grey said...

I have a difficult time understanding how someone who doesn't put students first could possibly be successful running workshops, but unfortunately it does happen.

Part of the reason I teach photography (besides loving photography) is that I love seeing new photographers exploring all that is possible. I think encouragement and support are incredibly important.

And when you put students first, you're often rewarded, as I was on a recent workshop I led in Austria. You can read about a student who delighted and impressed here:

Thanks for sharing, Rick. I hope this will serve as a reminder to any photographer considering a workshop that you don't have to settle for bad instruction.

Tim Grey

Mark Levesque said...

Some people simply should not be running workshops. It seems pretty clear these celebrity photographers fall into this category.

I've heard it said that "nobody knows what you think they know," and having attended a number of seminars myself, I am coming to understand the thought behind that sentiment. (I think I may have heard that from Vincent Versace, at one of the first Epson Print Academy sessions in Boston.)

The woman who wrote that email, Rick, did exactly the right thing: she cut her losses. Even if she didn't get her money back, at least she didn't waste any more of her time.

I think it's unfortunate that some photographers trade on their name and don't deliver the goods, all to make a few bucks. When people pay you money for your insights into the world of photography, it is your duty to deliver on that promise; anything less is fraudulent. If you are not fully committed to teaching your students, you shouldn't be doing it.


Peter West said...

I've taught hundreds of photo classes here in Ontario and I take at least three or four a year from the travelling pro roadshows for my own professional development.

My most recent experience (which has been echoed my other blogs about the same guy in different cities) was a one-day disaster.

The "studio" was way too small, no chairs, no air conditioning on a 30 degree day, too many students at 20 for one guy (the 2nd advertised photographer did nothing all day), too many promises and way too little instruction and way too much of watching the "pro" shoot.

I wrote about it on my blog with no names this time but honestly it was awful and the instructor should be ashamed of providing such a poorly planned and executed workshop.

And Rick if you're coming to Toronto let me know as you are one of the pros I'd like to take a class from.

Bud Branch said...

The cornfield landscape rocks! Great composition, and nice combination of textures. What's not to like??

M.Christine Duncan said...

When I hear things like this I'm saddened. I'm so grateful for all the people who were encouraging and motivational when I first got my start. We are all beginners at some point, needing some gentle prodding here and there, taken under another photog's wing. Sounds like they're not in it for the students at all. And to this student... Keep up the great work! Explore who you are and stay surrounded with others who love to share their photography passion like Rick does!

Roger said...

It's great that the student knew the instructors were full of crap. That means there is some good info that's getting through. I wanted to make sure anyone reading this blog post knows that Kelby Training has yet to disappoint me. I'm headed to Photoshop World in September and can't wait for the pre-conference NAPP Photo Safari - I'm already signed up. I'm confident that will be a life changing experience!

Duncan Digital Photography said...

I was afraid that there was workshops out there like this. It makes me sick thinking that people would go to these workshops with a passion for photography, only to have their dreams shot down and possibly turn in the towel on photography. I am sure they have had plenty of people leave their workshop not knowing that they were misled, and transfer that info to more people. Thanks Rick for bringing this to our attention.

- Charlie Duncan
Duncan Digital Photography

scott wu said...

I believe the actions of these "instructors" are horrible and not naming these instructors is a disservice to the community. There will be others that register for those workshops. Naming them will either get the instructors to change and will warn potential students to stay away if they do not like that "style" of teaching.

Alan Hess said...

Wow.... I'm stunned.

Photography should be fun.

The instructors that I have had the pleasure of learning from and teaching alongside genuinely want to share their passion and love for photography.

When I leave a class as a student I want to feel motivated, excited and eager to go out and create photos. The same is true when I teach a class. I want the students to get inspired, not frustrated.

I agree with Dave Cross.. it is sad when people put on events and the goal is something other than helping their students.

Cesar Rivera said...

This is a very sad story but a common one, to run a workshop not only you have to have the knowledge in photography but the gift to teach and transfer that knowledge to your students. To run a workshop you need to be patient not all the people come with the same level of experience or are quick to learn, that is when you are a teacher when you take the time and patience to work with your student.
I feel proud when my students learn and are happy with their pictures at the end of a workshop or class.

Juan said...

As sad as it may be, with the proliferation of people teaching photography workshops things like this are bound to happen. I very often hear horror stories from my workshop participants about other workshops they have taken.

As some of the comments before have said, being able to make good images, does not make you a good or qualified instructor.

If you are looking for a good workshop leader there is no more sure fire way to have a positive experience than to ask your other photographer friends for recommendations. Always find out what other students think about the instructors, call them up and "interview" them, ask as many questions as you can think. If the instructor is not willing to answer your questions before you sign up for the workshop, he will be less willing to do so during the workshop.

I am so sorry for the experience this person had, but please keep in mind that there are excellent workshop leaders out there. Don't be swayed by their "celebrity" status. Do your homework and find the good ones out there, they are not hard to find.

Best of luck!


Lewis Kemper said...

It is sad to hear someone have this experience, especially in this day and age when there are lots of good programs to choose from. As everyone here has mentioned just because someone is a “well known” photographer it does not make them a good instructor. To be a good instructor you have to care about your students and have the desire to help them realize their dreams to become better photographers. I have been teaching workshops and classes for over 30 years and I still get so upset when I hear these stories. I think the student should publicize the names of the instructors so that other aspiring photographer don’t make the same mistake and attend their workshop. They won’t be “teaching” long if they have no students!

Greg Downing said...

Hey Rick,

I've been running workshops for well more than a decade, as you know. And it never ceases to amaze me how some other more "famous" instructors treat their participants. And it amazes me even more that some of the participants keep coming back!

There are no shortage of talented and experienced photographers out there who have now begun to call themselves "professionals" and are selling "workshops" and tours.
Sometimes I wonder if there is however a shortage of instructors who are good with people.

By FAR the most important characteristic of a good workshop instructor has nothing to do with photography and everything to do with people skills and teaching ability, with people skills being #1.

Not only do you need to be able to work hard to keep your participants happy but you often need to balance a multitude of different personalities, upbringings and your general approach may be different for one than it is for another as different people respond to different approaches and methods of teaching. It's up to you to figure out what works for each person -without them telling you straight up. Yes sometimes you need to read people...

Step one to doing this is to forget about your own pictures and focus on learning what your participant's needs are, and constantly making sure they are getting them met. Now, that does not mean don't shoot at all but instead shoot to help your participants, to inspire them, show them something unique or a technique etc, but don't shoot to help yourself to new images - you can do that before or after your PAID workshop or tour.

The bottom line is that if you want to be a good workshop instructor then plan to work really hard at getting to know people and to focus on inspiring, teaching, sharing and befriending...and leave your ego at home....

Katrin Eismann said...

Teaching is a skill that needs to be practiced and doesn't come from being famous or having a great portfolio.

Rather than echoing what has been said, I want to say that it is very sad that the instructors of said workshop missed the opportunity to learn and grow! Every teacher worth their salt has three attributes in common:

Curiosity: Teaching is a great opportunity to explore and learn. I teach to keep up, Learn, and be engaged with my diverse students who challenge me everyday to be better.

Honesty: A good teacher will look back at the end of the day or week or semester and ask "What worked? What can I do better?" All questions to insure that the next classes, workshops, or seminars are better then the last.

Less Ego More Heart: Teaching & Presenting is not about the teacher or presenter! Its about the student! The student is vulnerable - by signing up for a workshop they are saying, "I have a weakness or don't know something and I want to learn and improve." You don't put them down for being honest!

Katrin Eismann
Life long student
Chair, Masters in Digital Photography at SVA in NYC

Rob Dweck said...

This is so sad and disturbing. As I read this I just kept thinking "what the....????". That the "instructors" could be so disrespectful to the students who have paid for an educational experience and instead are berated and insulted is inexcusable. Then there's the mis-information that is passed to students who will believe what they hear because it's coming from "celebrity" instructors.

As more people are picking up cameras and learning about photography, it seems that some "pro" photographers are viewing those people as an opportunity to make a buck rather than provide a real service. For a beginning photographer it can be difficult to distinguish between the real deal - those who put students first, have knowledge and experience, and deliver a quality education - and those who are just in it for a quick buck.

There are great photography workshops taught by knowledgeable and reputable instructors, including several who have commented on this post, and of course, Rick. Do some research and you'll decrease your chances of getting into a situation similar to what you read about in this post.

Rob Sheppard said...

It sounds very much like this unlucky student ran into photographers who really did not care about teaching or helping students learn. Perhaps they were unhappy photographers who were struggling with the economy and felt they "had" to do workshops to earn some money. Not a good thing. Luckily, I have found that most photo education schools who work with photographers who have been teaching a long time try to get rid of people like them.


Mark and Chris said...

Too many "pro" photographers fail as instructors. Teaching is as much an art as photography. A great photographer does not automatically translate into a great instructor. Workshops, seminars, field trips, etc are all excellent ways to learn but far too many of these learning experiences are grossly overpriced leaving potential students in a serious dilemma on how best to spend limited $$$ to improve their photography skills.

Hazel Meredith said...

Hi Rick. Sad but true how some instructors are. I have been lucky enough to NOT have bad experiences, but I do know some friends who have not been as lucky. I have been teaching Photoshop Elements classes and seminars for a few years and I'm honored by the feedback I receive from my students. I even had a member of a camera club tell me that "your students have been submitting some great work this year" (a bunch of them took my adult ed class last semester). I find teaching fun and rewarding. No, I don't know everything there is to know about the program (I don't think anyone can know ALL of it!), and I find I that I also pick up some tips from my students!

I haven't had the opportunity to take a workshop with you yet, but I have been at several seminars up here in the Northeast, and you are always a fun, entertaining, and informative instructor. Keep up the good work!

Jeff Leimbach said...

Wow! It's a shame because there are workshops out there that do care about their attendees. Unfortunately sometimes you don't find out about a bad one until you attend.

To often photographers are motivated by their own ego and just want to show off how good they are and not the least bit concerned about you and your experience at their workshop. If you are a victim of a workshop leader with ego issues and treats you like dirt, please get the word out and save others from making the same mistakes in choosing a workshop.

Good news is there are a lot of workshops out here that legitimately want you to succeed in your own photography and are more concerned with the images you take home rather than what images they take home. Workshops can give you an incredible boost in your photography skills so don't be afraid to take one, just do some research first.

Jeff Leimbach

Jane Conner-ziser said...

I agree with Katrin: "Teaching is a skill that needs to be practiced and doesn't come from being famous or having a great portfolio." and I will add my own input: "or being popular in social media."

Everyone is an expert these days so it becomes important for students to research their instructors and find out if they "walk the walk they're talking about", or, if it's just a bunch of smoke and mirrors and "follow me on facebook".

You can select classes that schools and associations offer you, or you can choose to study with specific people that you research and select based upon your feelings about their work and how you believe their vision will help you develop your own.

Feel free to contact your potential instructor, learn where they teach and choose your learning experiences. Take follow up courses from those you really learn from - you'll learn even more. Remember that the best investment you can make in photography isn't in equipment - it's in expanding your mind, heart and vision.

Jeff E Jensen said...

All I can say is WOW. Financially, I have not been able to afford any big workshops. Had I worked to save up for this and then had my money wasted in such an incredible way, I'd be furious. I'm by no means an expert, but I am always willing to help someone learn. More often than not, I pick something up (or am reminded) while I am helping others to learn. To me, it's pretty rewarding to see someone learn and progress. I would think that this should be a big motivating factor in the decision to host a workshop.

Laurie Post said...

Wow is all I can say. I have taken several workshops and caravans with Rick and have had amazing experiences. A great teacher has to be a "people" person and really care about sharing the art of photography. A friend of mine had spent a lot of money on a photo class/tour of Ireland a few years ago and she said that instructor only cared about getting his own photos. I have had the opposite experience with Rick. His energy and passion for photography is infectious, and he makes sure everyone is getting what they need out of the class/trip. And it's not overpriced! I can't wait until the next seminar Rick does!

Scott Edwards said...

I want to thank those who have helped me. You are not forgotten. I also remember the others. You help me learn what not to be, so your not forgotten, either.
There is something fantastic about learning and sharing, sometimes we run into walls for whatever reason. Just don't give up.

Foto Workshops México said...

When I was starting in photography I met people like these guys, and also with many pros who don´t wanted to reveal his secrets with me.

During my more than 30 years career I learned to distinguish who cares when shared some of his knowledge.

I had the privilege of hosting last year, my first two International Workshops here in México, the first one with Rick Sammon a colleague who knows how to convey their knowledge, he also knows how to make friends.

For those who participated in his workshop was a great life experience that we will not forget.

I am sorry that this student who loves photography had to go through this bad experience.

What I can recommend is that you investigate thoroughly who will be your instructor for the next workshop.

And for those who want to share his knowledge I recommend share your love and passion for photography, you will never regret about it.

Cheryl McGregor said...

Wow! I would not only have cancelled but demanded a full refund and spelled out exactly why. Either these "pros" weren't or they were trying to sabotage the students.

Frederick Van Johnson said...

First of all, I thank the author of this letter to Rick for sharing her experiences. And I can understand why she'd be turned off to the prospect of attending any future photography workshops.

However, from what I read, the "photographers" running that particular event seem like they were in it for a quick buck… and of course did not have the students' best interests in mind. That is unforgivable. Both from the stand-point of damaging the industry and making other reputable instructors have to work that much harder to gain the trust of would-be students, and also from the stand-point of potentially extinguishing the flame of a new photographer.

Photography is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world, and as such the related industries (training, workshops, gear, software, etc) are also seeing a rise -- the rising tide raises all ships -- but the unfortunate side-effect is that with any good, there is always bad. And these jokers are an example of the bad that can sneak in with the other "good" workshops.

My advice to the writer of the letter (and anyone else), would be to thoroughly research the workshops you plan to attend. Ask questions of the instructors, on Facebook, Google+, etc. Do your homework and before you whip out the credit card.

Carol Vipperman said...

I am so sorry to hear about this woman's experience. It is the type of workshop that if I had attended I would have also considered putting down my camera, but fortunately I had a difference experience in your workshops Rick. I do remember how vulnerable I felt initially showing my work to you and being around really good photographers when I was still in the early phases. You were always so helpful and kind in your feedback, that it made it much easier to step out of the box.
I also learned to let the artist within me emerge playing with Niks and Topaz Adjust, software that I knew nothing about beforehand. For me the entire experience in the various workshops you have led was "life changing." At the end of each one it felt like all of us were part of a family that would continue. I hope that others find their way to your workshops; I know I will be taking more.

Nancy de Flon said...

I agree with everyone who thinks the names of these "instructors" should be disclosed. It would be the equivalent of reporting shoddy business to the Better Business Bureau--not grounds for a libel suit. I feel sad to think that this student now suspects she doesn't have a gift for photography. It's clear from the photo that she does, and with the right instructors she can really develop that gift.

Unknown said...

What a sad story for that student... Before picking a class, go by word-of-mouth... like, for example, I only hear good things about Rick's classes, so they would be a safe bet!

Tyroga said...

Hang on kids. I got here from Rick's follow-up tweet about this post and as an aspiring photographer, in Australia, I absolutely know who this is about. I've done workshops with them. I know who it is because of the opening remarks about the friend who went to the outback, and the lifespan of the camera.

Here's the thing. The two guys use a bunch of humour in their workshops, and it's not always appreciated by all. But that's Aussie humour for you. Some folks don't always get it.

But what the information you get is 100%. And the courses are delivered well. Consider that this is one person's perspective and don't be so quick to judge the course.

I look at light in a new way because of one of their courses.

I've heard it said that Americans don't get sarcasm, and maybe this person's experience puts truth to that rumour.

Alex Morley said...

Rick, About everything that could be said, was here... by some of the most inspirational professionals in photography. I can sympathize the student as I am non-professional (photographer that is, I'm a doctor) and I have taken several workshops, a few pretty bad, but most actually very good. The best are always with pros who genuinely love and have a passion for this amazing art form of photography (like you). The great workshops develop an energy which is hard to describe and pushes everyone's creativity to new levels, including the pro. That is a true gift. The leaders for this student I doubt are good photographers. As in all things, one is only excellent at what they do if they have their heart in it. People who have a good heart and positive attitude are always nice people. And to make fun of the students, too... is amazing. That ego leads to unhappiness for all. Karma.

Jim said...

I'm saddened to see another post on this topic, Rick, but I think you are saying things that should be said. Education and mentoring take a special mindset beyond just knowledge of the craft (in any field)and "name" in the field. Its so important to be constructively "for" the students/clients who have chosen the teacher.

JD Tomcik

Catherine Hall Studios said...

I really enjoyed many of the comments in this thread. I found Katrin Eismann insights particularly spot-on. Yes, this story certainly sucks for the photographers involved; however, they will move on and find new mentors. The teachers are the ones that are stuck in their negative, unauthentic (likely very insecure) ways. So, yes Rick, I can "Be Kind" as no one really wins in this scenario.

The digital age brings so many wonderful things - and along with the good come the bad. Under-qualified teachers with an often huge following are now, more often then not, given the stage.

I would encourage emerging photographers to really take a look at who they are getting advice from and make sure it is a positive person that not only has an admirable body of work but the best of intentions. Within this thread many of said teachers "come to light"

Thanks for the great post and for being one of them rick.

Carolyn said...

This behaviour is unconscionable on both a personal and professional level. As I was reading through the responses, I can tell you from first hand experience that Eddie Tapp is one of the finest out there . . on both a personal and professional level. I consider myself privileged to have spent time with him. My photography soared after that workshop.

Wei Chong said...

Hi Rick,

I'm with the voice of others that said the experience was a terrible waste of time and emotion. The sad part is that the class/instructors were not named. How would we know that we won't step into that same class/instructors who trashing students? Why wouldn't the instructors (who probably are reading this) want to trash their students even more--they didn't get hit with anything that would hurt their future business.

As this is Part III, you might want to consider, after having taken three straight right crosses (punches), stop saying "Please." Or at least naming the class, so we can all avoid them...

Wei Chong

Gaurav Mittal said...

Dear Fellow photographer,

Let me begin by saying that my heart goes out to you for such a terrible experience. I can relate to you well as I to was subjected to a verbal bashing at the hands of a well -known photographer, an experience that shook me to the core, my confidence shattered. There was not an ounce of constructive criticism but an advice to trash my images.

There is however good news, shortly after this experience I had an opportunity to attend a workshop with Juan Pons and soon after that with Rick and Juan again. I can honestly tell you that for every bad pro out there, there are wonderful pros like Rick and Juan. They helped my photography immensely by providing constructive critiques and in the following months they have always answered all my questions and guided my to be a better photographer. They took those steps that help restore my confidence.

I know it is easier said than done, but I encourage you to channel your energy to think positive and strive to improve by having these wonderful pros as your mentors. They are here to impart knowledge and help you achieve your goals. Today I’m a confident photographer and pursuing higher goals, all made possible by their desire to teach and mentor me.

You can do it ☺

Gaurav Mittal

Anonymous said...

I, too, have run across a professional photographer who was more interested in getting his shots on the money the participants paid to get the shots. WHen I mentioned he was getting in the shots of others he looked at me't you know who I am? On a one to one level, I have no problem telling others about this photographer.

Rick, this is why I continue to participant in your workshops. Not only are you a "giver" on your workshops, but your knowledge is communicated in various forms blogs, etc. to help others achieve their photography goals. Thanks.


Libby said...

Don Gianetti recently did a post like this too. There's way too much snake oil out there and some are getting taken, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars.

But look at it this way - the workshop was Lifechanging for the woman - she wanted to put the camera away permanently ;-) On the serious side, if this had not have happened and she didn't feel the angst and sent the letter, would the subject have ever come up? I've been seeing more like this pop up on the web from time to time and it's worth talking about.

It's really so sad when some get swayed by perceived rockstar status. My advice is search, search, search before you plunk down money. And if they have a blog, read it - like for a YEAR! Don't be swayed by some quick hit BS you find on the web.

There are many reputable 'shops out there. And if you can't afford them (when you include travel, they get damned pricey) look for a possible mentor in your own area. There is still some worth in human networking. Personally, I learned more about photography from my old buddy George when he was in his 80s than I have from some of the young whippersnappers on the photo talk circuit.

Joe Brady said...

Having taught workshops myself and having taken many with other instructors, I was also appalled at hearing how these students were treated.

I'm sorry that these so-called "Celebrity Photographers" aren't being "outed" for their boorish behavior, bad manners and tarnishing of a profession filled with many talented folks who truly want to share the joy they have found in great photography.

We all started out as beginners eager to learn. Having had the opportunity to both work with and learn from talented teachers like Rick Sammon and Eddie Tapp (among many others) I know what a joy it can be to spend time with professionals who enjoy teaching and want you to succeed.

These two "photographers" are not teachers and should not be running workshops - they should play with their egos in private and spare the world from their self-importance.