Beauty and the Bully
We've all seen it online- the kid that commits suicide because he was bullied at school for being gay, or the kid who got the crap kicked out of him because he is physically or mentally challenged. We see the videos being posted on Facebook and Youtube, screams and outcries about how HORRIBLE these bullies are made in comments and dramatic posts on social media. People holding up a handwritten sign and posting it on FB, hoping it goes "viral" so they can help raise awareness of bullying and the effects it has on those being bullied. And we cry. We get angry. We make claims that WE would NEVER bully anyone... and if ANYONE ever bullies our children, we will make sure they pay for what they did. And we put ourselves on a pedestal of perfection.
The same folks who claim how wrong bullying is, are seen posting nasty comments on a photographers image. They are seen posting the most ignorant, hateful CRAP on a post that may be political or religious or PETA related or even worse in the photography world... a competitor. (insert the dun-dun-dunnnnn).
Claims of "She copied me" or "He ripped off my idea" or "I can't BELIEVE she would pose young children in outfits like that" are floating around, made by some of those hypocrites who claim bullying is wrong. REALLY? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black...
I have seen bullying first hand in the photography world. I have seen some amazing talent get stomped to the ground because a photographer decided that she was "copying" her work and rallied other photographers all around to ban and shun this photographer from their pages, websites and local groups.
I have seen extreme backlash because a photographer is super transparent and doesn't hide who she truly is while running her business.
I have seen seasoned photographers crush the souls of newbie photographers, simply because they don't want the competition in their area.
I have seen these people who have been bullied deal with depression, loneliness, self doubt, anger, deep hurt and more.
It breaks my heart.
It should break your heart too.
Why do we continue to hurt others, tear each other down when we should be nurturing our artistic souls and lifting each other up? Why do we think it's ok to teach our children that bullying wrong- but turn around and bully a photographer who may have posted a similar social media post that you posted last week? Why do we think its ok to bully the photographer that truly IS copying and stealing from you?
Here's a little tid bit of insight for those who think bullying is ok...
1. If you have a problem with the way someone is conducting business, that in essence has no effect on you, your family, loved ones, your clients- why do you care so much? Get over yourself.
If its not illegal or unethical- stop bitching at or about this person. No one made you the ruler of all, last time I checked (unless you are a mama... then you have your own little kingdom to rule of course)
2. If you see a photo that may have a similar look to one you have taken, but it's not an exact replica of what YOU created... why do you care so much? Again... Get over yourself.
People find inspiration in many different aspects. Some people may gain similar inspiration... cause as much as we are encouraged to be "our own" photographer or finding inspiration only in yourself- that's not necessarily going to actually happen. I need inspiration. I get down in the dumps about my work sometimes... but those artists who inspire me, the writers that write words directly to my soul- those different aspects inspire me to work harder, grow in my craft and create my own vision.
3. If you see that someone has been STEALING your work (using your actual photos, context, etc)- what do you do, as a business owner? Do you contact your lawyer, write up a cease and desist letter and quietly take care of business or do you publicly shame this photographer, inciting backlash and bandwagon "mean girls" who will publicly attack and pounce on the offender?
Don't get me wrong here- stealing actual work is just wrong on so many levels. It's also illegal. But how is bullying this person or company going to benefit YOU at all? It's not. And it makes you look like a jerk. The "need to destroy" the offender has such a negative impact.
Take care of business professionally folks. And if you aren't a professional... maybe you shouldn't call yourself one.
How to set the example...
The incessant need to be the best is one part to blame when it comes to bullying.
The incessant need to be "right" all the time or "my way is the only way" is also another part to blame.
The incessant need to stick your nose in someone else's business can also be to blame.
Step back for a moment when you feel your blood boiling about something...
Think before you act or speak or type.
Having opinions is awesome- you SHOULD have opinions! But when your opinion turns to a point of bullying someone and making them feel like crap for who they are, what they do, what they created... YOU are most definitely in the wrong.
Set the bar. Be an example of kindness, love, hope and constructive criticism (only when asked). Be honest, but not too brutal (again... not everything requires input). Be a source of education. Be a light to those around you, friends.
Love. Just love.
and because this post needs a picture... and I really want to share a
newest photo of my littlest one... here you go. (note... this was taken in 2015... you should see how much she's grown)