Story of the Unworthy

by shz

Yesterday as usual I login in the Facebook. And then something caught my eye – “6 of your friends become a fan of I hate (a photographer)“. Oddly enough my first thought was, that was long overdue. I shared this with my husband and we spent almost all afternoon laughing our asses off reading all sort of things people wrote in that page. It was hilarious and the things that has been revealed in there are appalling! Couldn’t help feeling how pathetic he is if what they said in there were true. If, I said. Anyway, apparently he made some kind of statement that offended another group of photographers, which led to some anonymous person creating this group. Surprisingly enough, a lot of well known photographers in Malaysia made it so open about their feelings towards him by joining this group. I’m not going to mention any names, but it’s pretty obvious.

Somehow this made me reminisce my previous experience with him although I never met him personally. Some of you might remember my days in Fotopages. Honestly I had a time of my life sharing my photos with people at that time. I was constantly happy because almost everyday I read people responded to my photos and how emotional some of it made them. I was humbled by it, I was just some random girl experimenting with camera and expressing whatever I was feeling at that time through images. I had no bigger ambitions, it was just a past time hobby. And then for some reason gradually as I became well known to many, I felt some kind of heat or invisible competition that this photographer tried to stir, whether through comments made in his Fotopages or imitations of language or thought he had towards my works.

It didn’t affected me much at that time. I didn’t think I was involved with the industry. I didn’t have to take exams or registered with any bodies to call myself photographer. I had a camera, I was active taking pictures, so I guess I was a photographer – only by hobby, not profession. But still, a photographer. He on the other hand is a photographer by profession. I guess he got a lot to lose if people think someone else can do a hell lot of a better job than him, so I kind of at that time understood where he came from. I didn’t mind much the things he did to make himself seem more superior than others, I thought, let him be. People who understands photography, the history behind, the essence of it are able to judge good works from mediocre. A layman’s eye is not an expert eye. Although his works in the naked eye seems quite impressive, I still couldn’t help myself feeling that they were actually, just merely mundane. He has other photographers under his company who I believe were taught to create photographs of something alike with his and held workshops teaching people how to photograph like he does. I just thought, when you can tell someone how to photograph like you do and when people actually can do exactly how you do it, your works are nothing but common. I looked around. A lot of people are imitating his styles, he must be pressured all the time trying to be different or constantly having to change into something new.

Photography to me is personal. I honestly do not know how to answer when people ask how I do it. It’s just the way I see things. Only you yourself know the things in the world that are significant to you. Your interests which usually become your subject matter are only yours and yours alone. It might be the same to others, but the ways of seeing are never is. This is my basic understanding with photography and this is how photography varies.

But even from the very beginning I never got a positive vibes about him.I usually find arrogance in his words, bragging of things supposedly he has achieved and quite an egoist. Maybe he needed to do that to boost his confidence, which if its true, I think served him pretty well. At first I thought I was naive for thinking about him that way, until one day his offer to cover my wedding free of charge fell into my lap. Honestly at that time I was tempted, since there would be one last thing to worry about in my messy head trying to organize my Malaysian wedding from UK. But of course, it is not entirely free of charge. He demanded a good testimonial from me in his website, whether I would like his works or not. Suffice to say, he wanted my artistic approval over his works. I felt honored at that time – here comes a person who apparently made millions doing this business, still requires a nod from a nobody like me. I hesitated, it felt like one of those movies in Bedazzled or Ghost Rider or Devil’s Advocate where you have to sell your soul. Hahaha, but I wouldn’t be that dramatic. I knew what I felt about his works so at the end, it didn’t happen – I didn’t think I can lie and give a good testimonial to his works. Even at the end of it he still wanted to say something about how he won’t lose so much that I backed off – he could make RM25k for that day. So much for the sake of passion. And thank God for that. I probably was about to make the biggest mistake of my life!

He somehow seem to be so proud of all the celebrities wedding he covered and people seem to blindly praised him for that. But deep down inside, I couldn’t help but feeling that he might have made the same offer he made me to upgrade his portfolio. So for me, it was quite hard to be so impressed with his list of past or future clients. And somehow I think a lot of his so-called achievements are self-proclaimed. But in terms of business and marketing, I gotta give it to him. Maybe that is what he should make his workshops based on, or wait a minute. Maybe he already has..

Anyway. With the current situation that is surrounding him I have nothing but pity. The things he said that caused all this – he probably didn’t mean any harm, but his cockiness didn’t do him good this time. I would actually feel stressed out if I know there are over 900 people hate me in this world, even a lot more seem to love me. Truthfully I am tempted to join this group, but I don’t think I hate him. I just dislike him. However it is, I just hope there will be happy ending to this and maybe a little humbleness on his side won’t hurt a bit.