The Film from Manifestivus

Sadly when you have a busy you tend to forget with somethings. In my case, I forgot to process film I shot from Manifestivus this summer. It was a lovely surprise to see these negatives after they came back from the lab.

I shot a these images on Pentax Spotmatic F with Agfaphoto Vista 200. I love this film, it’s affordable and fairly sharp. This film really works well on bright sunny days. The camera is good for any time.

Only One Lens?

Photographers rarely carry just one lens, and the 50mm lens can’t get you out of every jam.

Inspired by a conversation I had with a photographer a few days ago, I wanted to write this post. He was curious about my Fujifilm X series mirrorless camera and the Pentax 55mm SMC mounted on it. We talked about gear and what we carried on a daily basis. He went on about his Canon EOS 7D with a 24-70 f2.8 as his walking around camera. He told me gave up on the 50mm because it’s not versatile enough for his style. Fair enough. I like the 50mm, but it’s not the only lens for the job.

Photographers have had countless conversations about what lens to buy first, or if you could only carry one. The routine answer for prime lenses is simple, 50mm on full-frame and perhaps 24mm for an APS-C sensor. If you really want to cover a range, then 24mm-105mm for full-frame and 16-55 for APS-C. These arbitrary choices are imposed by trends. These hard and fast “rules” do not take into account the individual photographer’s needs. The idea that we as photographers must have the full range of focal lengths is pure nonsense. The idea that every lens as a specific job and can’t used for other things is just narrow-minded.

Falling on deaf ears.

I think a lot of young photographers are led to believe that wide-angle lenses are for landscape, telephoto lenses are for portraits and 35mm – 50mm lens are for “general photography”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a friend that routinely shoots portraits with a 35mm lens. Jillian does some lovely work too. Besides, I don’t even know what general photography means.

I agree that the 50mm lens is a great all around lens but it’s not the only lens to get the job done.

A telephoto lens is not a one-trick pony.

This afternoon I decided to head out on a photowalk for a few hours, but only armed with a 135mm prime telephoto lens mounted on my Fujifilm X.

Is carrying a 135mm lens ideal for street photography? What’s ideal? Who dictates what ideal is? Honestly, I would have preferred a few more lenses, but I wanted to prove the point to myself. There is a lot we can do with the gear we have.

Photography takes imagination, but it also takes some of technical knowledge. This knowledge can be taught, but your creativity can’t be. The more technical knowledge you have, the better equipped you are as a photographer. Technical knowledge will help with creativity, that just goes with without saying. That line of reasoning works with all fields of study.

Dragging around a telephoto lens on a photowalk for street photography shouldn’t slow you down in the least.

A Soundcheck

Soundcheck is both the most important and the least exciting part of a live performance.

The soundcheck is always my favorite time with the bands. In my case I get to hang out with friends, but it’s great to get a preview of the set. The other advantage for being around for soundcheck, is getting a preview of the sound and all the angles on the stage.

In all my time shooting bands at their shows, I never see other photographers at a soundcheck. That’s right, NEVER. I don’t think they know what they are missing.

This evening’s shoot takes place at The Liquor Store in Portland to photograph Surfs Drugs who were billed with Weezy Ford and Kyle Craft. During this particular soundcheck, Kyle Craft did have his whole band and Surfs Drugs only had two members, so their soundcheck was short.

A soundcheck is very straight forward. Set up the stage as it would be for the show. The sound engineer checks that every cable is working. Then each instrument and mic has its level set one at time. The band will then run through a few songs next. Each channel will get tweaked while band plays. It is at this point that every player tells the sound engineer what they want to hear and what volume they would like their monitor set at. If the venue has a dedicated monitor engineer then that would be a different engineer. A dedicated monitor engineer is rare luxury in smaller venues.

That’s pretty much it.

Boring? Oh yeah, it’s boring because it’s not a show. It’s set up.

There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, and getting to know how things work at a live show is very helpful for planning. Getting to know the players doesn’t hurt either. There are opportunities for getting great images when the band has their guard down. However, there are some musicians that are nervous wreck and there is no way a photographer is coming in to catch them at their least perfect. Fortunately for me, my friends are not nearly as uptight.

Soundcheck with Kyle Craft at The Liquor Store.

Mississippi Studios, My Favorite Music Venue

Why is Mississippi Studios my favorite venue?

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I just like everything about it. MS is not very big, but still has a balcony. They have a great bar inside the music room. The restaurant Bar Bar has great food, a good selection of beer on tap. I love the outdoor patio with the bonfire going strong on chillier nights. The crowd is generally really chill. The staff is absolutely professional. I’m just very comfortable there.

The main room has the balcony above that overlooks the main floor and the stage. The stage is damn near the perfect height. You can still get a good view from the rear of the room, but not so high that the band seems far away. They also keep a rope about 3 feet from the stage. The rope gives photographers a little room to navigate from one end of the stage to the other. I like to get there early to grab a beer or two and post up as close to the middle of the stage as I can get. I try to avoid standing directly in front a mic stand to get a clear view of the whole band. Unless it’s a paid job to photograph a band, I’m happy just standing in the middle as not to disturb my fellow show-goers.

I’ve photographed my fair share of live music, and Portland is my favorite place to see shows. With so many interesting bands and venues, there are many options for photographers, shooting live music is fairly easy to do. If you can get on the guest list, great. Paying the cover is almost always worth it.

Most venues will not have issues with photographers shooting most local bands. I did say most venues will not have issues with shooting live music. A photographer is going to have a hard time shooting at the Crystal Ballroom without a photo-pass, and the Star Theater won’t let photographers bring in camera bags. Most other places are pretty laid back of course. There is just one rule every photographer needs to heed when shooting in any venue. Don’t be a dick!

Nine out of ten shutterbugs photographing live music in Portland are not shooting for a publication, there is no real need to bully your way around a venue to “get the shot“. I understand we as photographers have a desire to do capture the best images. We need to be conscientious to the people around us. I’ve had many people try to clear a path for me in the audience, but I don’t want to affect the dynamic too much. When I need to get closer, I try to be as patient as possible and move up as people start to shift.

Lighting is the most important thing to me.

Without good lighting, getting a good images is very difficult. Mississippi has above average lighting. Despite being mostly LED, the lighting is very good. I don’t like LED lighting. Some photographers say they can’t tell the difference between LED and other types of lighting, but I certainly can. The overall quality of LED is just not there. The light is flat and lifeless and doesn’t look as clean.

As with most venues on a multi-band night, the opening acts don’t get much attention with the lighting treatment as the headlining act does. That’s fine for me, as long as it’s bright enough on the stage to get good shots. Now there is one particular musician in Portland that attempts to build a closeness with the audience by having the lights turned down as low as possible. At that point I put my camera away and just enjoy the set. At the end of the night, the most important thing is the band puts on a great show and we shouldn’t whine about it.

Magenta lighting is the photographers worst enemy, in my opinion of course.

I’ve found that Mississippi Studios doesn’t use nearly as much magenta as some of other venues, but they still use it far too much for my liking. When watching the show, magenta light look just fine, as long as there is some lighting dynamics. When shooting the show, magenta is just terrible. Skin tones are NOT enhanced by magenta. I just cringe when I see it.

As long as newbie and veteran photographers can keep it together and not disrupt shows, we should be able to as often as we want. Mississippi has been really cool with us coming and shooting, I would hate to see that end.

Here is a small selection of my favorite shows.

Jubal Thinks Too Much

Jubal, a human, a musician, now gone from our physical realm.

Jubal was a gifted musician and a genuinely concerned human being. I’ve photographed lots of musicians and artists, Jubal was indeed one of my favorite artists and humans. I consider myself lucky to have known Jubal. He’s one of a handful friends that make you feel happy to be who you are just being around him. I’m not sure if Jubal loved the camera as much he was comfortable around the camera. I think he enjoyed having friends taking pictures while he was enjoying the company of friends. I was fortunate enough to be around for those times.

I liked Jubal, we miss our good friend.

The Manifestivus 2016

On the last weekend of July, I attended my first Manifestivus. Hopefully it wasn’t my last one either. The Manifestivus takes a place on the Pranksy farm in scenic Cabot, Vermont. I tend to get around, but I never thought I would’ve attended such a small and charming music festival in rural Vermont. I have some close friends in Vermont and before my planned visit they asked me if I wanted to go to a low-key music festival. I couldn’t resist, so I stuck around for a few extra week. Woe is me.

These days music festivals are all the rage with the young kids. They are getting bigger and bigger year after year. I love going to music festivals, but I tend to get annoyed by the drunken hordes. This is simply because I’m getting old. I was a part of the drunken horde in my younger days.

Turns out The Manifestivus is not the giant overcrowded music festival that Coachella or Bonnaroo have become. People go to The Manifestivus because of the low-key environment. You can bring your kids. I wouldn’t bring kids to Bonnaroo. The Manifestivus doesn’t pull in super-mega-pop-star acts those other guys do, but they do bring some seriously talented touring acts. This year the big act they brought in was Talib Kweli and he put on a great show. I’m sure he pulled in some fans that would not normally drive all the way to Cabot for a homegrown music fest.

This year the festival was primarily a Hip Hop and Reggae festival. There were two stages with really spectacular sound and lighting. The main stage was fairly tall and we could see the stage from our camp site. The “small” stage was called the Backwoods Stage, it was a lot more intimate back there. The experience the show-goers get feels a lot more inclusive because the stage is much shorter. The sound and lights were still fantastic back there.

The farm even had a great little swimming hole off in the woods. On a hot summer day in Vermont you better believe that there was some swimming. If the festival were much bigger, you can bet the swimming hole would become a complete shit-show.

During the festival, carpenters were crafting a large wood sculpture with the intent to set it on fire and become a massive bonfire. This year they made wooden turtle and the bonfire was amazingly hot.

I would definitely head back again. It was an incredible experience and it was just my style.

The Lineup:

  • Talib Kweli
  • Collie Buddz
  • Locos Por Juana
  • Rootz Underground
  • Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite The Akae Beka
  • Cast of Characters (a Dave Pransky Project)
  • Pete Bernhard (of the Devil Makes Three)
  • The Huntress and Holder of Hands
  • Fear Nuttin’ Band
  • Balla
  • Electrolads
  • Afri-VT
  • Festivus Family Band

My Time in Burlington

Burlington, at the end of the day is just another American city.

I don’t want to sound like I am taking a jab at this Burlington, but it has a lot in common with so many other cities. It is a nice town, but not particularly unique. Burlington is considered a fairly progressive city, but that’s difficult to judge as a tourist. There are still homeless people scattered around the city. There is still a big traffic problem. There are tourists everywhere you turn. Downtown is very shopping-centric. These are fairly typical traits for an American city.

I like that Burlington sits on a lake that feels like it could be a cove near the ocean. Lake Champlain is quite an impressive body of water. A beautiful park and multi-use path follow the lakefront for miles. In the summer, the lake attracts tourists and sportsmen/women. Going to the “beach” was always so much fun. I spent a fair amount of time sitting a the bench smoking a cigar staring down at the water.

The architecture doesn’t seem too impressive compared to other cities near by. Montreal, Boston,  and even Concord NH in my opinion are more architecturally impressive than Burlington. Those are perhaps the closest large cities. I also found it odd that there isn’t much in the way of public art as I would expect. There is very little wall art (there is plenty of graffiti), I only saw a couple sculptures or statues on public property. Those other cities seem to do a nice job in the way of public art. The open air mall on Church Street is very nice, and a great place to tourist-watch. There are plenty of  great restaurants and pubs. There is even a closed air mall on Church Street. This is where you would find the camera shop.

While Burlington is not the capital of Vermont, there are some beautiful state buildings. There is an odd mix of New England style and plain stucco box architecture all over town. The University of Vermont campus is fantastic too. I didn’t spend too much time up there though. Most of the big buildings and hotels in town are very modern looking.

I have huffed around the city several times with my camera, there is plenty of stuff to photograph. I never really got bored with photo-walking, but I also have never been here in the winter. I expect the weather is terrible in the winter, especially this far north and on Lake Champlain. I would not look forward to that commute through this area either.

I imagine people just stay indoors but the snow is always fun to photograph too. My next visit I hope to make in the fall. They say the colors are spectacular. I’ll keep you informed.

EyeEm or Instagram?

Battle of the social photography apps?

EyeEm or Instagram? Actually, the answer is both.

Most photographers will agree that Instagram is a wasteland of visual clutter and nobody has friends on EyeEm. I have been on the EyeEm for quite some time now, and I have been using Instagram since it was released. I like both platforms, but I have been using IG much more frequently.

The key differences between EyeEm and IG are not just in layout, but in user-base. Since IG was bought by Facebook the user-base has really changed with it.

IG like Facebook is a place to see your friends vacation and bar photos, along with memes and corporate brand advertisements. With its curated feed, you see the “popular” posts first. Then if you’re lucky you see other stuff. So if you follow somebody with a low follower count you are less likely to see anything they post. It’s a fine spot for popular photographers to share images and gain followers for their “brand”. I actually have more engagement on my images when use Instagram to post them to Facebook, than on Instagram itself. However I am not a popular photographer.

EyeEm on the other hand has really gained an international feel to it. This is more of a place for photographers to share images with other photographers of all levels. The layout lends itself well to bigger phone screens and not so well for smaller screens. Unlike IG, EyeEm editors don’t curate your following feed. The feed is chronological but with a couple of swipes you find yourself in an area that features curated feeds with stories from very interesting photographers. You can also follow “keyword” feeds. If you like to look at cat pictures you can have a “cat feed“.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the money.

I am a photographer, and like every other photographer we need to put our images out there for people to see. So hopefully people hire us. The app developers need to earn money to keep the platform going. Instagram uses in app ads and EyeEm uses stock photo sales. Instagram made $719 million last year according to Fortune magazine and has been difficult to nail down how much money EyeEm has earned, they are using photo stock platform to sell images through online sales and are splitting the money 50/50 with the photographer. As far as I can tell this is in the single-digit millions somewhere.

Both of these applications have great image filter options for the mobile photographer. They are both very easy to use. You can add images from Lightroom Mobile or if you are still one of those photographers that does not want to update to Lightroom CC then you can just grab images from your Dropbox app.

Personally I take more stock in EyeEm’s ability to satisfy my photography inspiration needs. If I need to see memes and celebrity re-grams I have Instagram.

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Middlebury

Photo-walking Middlebury Vermont.

The first time I walked through Middlebury, I was immediately taken by its charm. After a day, I felt that I photographed everything worth photographing. After a couple of photowalks through town, I quickly realized there was indeed a lot to photograph out of plain sight. I searched around with my camera in hand looking for interesting scenes. The town is really lovely, and it takes a few days to get a feel for Middlebury in pictures.

It’s a nice town with plenty of things to do. There are museums and galleries, there is shopping and eating. There is plenty of nature to explore too. There are no big buildings though, and that is just fine. The waterfall that drops below Main street can only be photographed in so many angles before you get bored with it. There are plenty of little nooks over the area though.

I think a photographer would need a couple of days to get this place captured, but it’s the feeling you have while here that I think is attractive about Middlebury. Every photographer will see this place differently. I saw this place differently each time I came down to photograph it. I am not sure when or if I’ll spend much more time here to photowalk, but I wouldn’t mind a little more time. If you ever find yourself passing through, it’s worth a few hours with your camera.

Why Mobile Phone Photography?

I love having a camera in my pocket more than having a phone. Fortunately I can have both. The inter-web is flooded with iPhone images, and that is a fact that we can’t escape. If you are a photographer, a good camera is a great thing to have at all times. These days mobile phone cameras are pretty darn good. Mobile cameras are not a replacement for even a compact camera, not yet at least. However, if it’s the difference between getting a picture and not getting a picture, you’re better off with having a good mobile camera.

Currently Flickr has the iPhone listed as the most popular camera. The Samsung phones are the second most popular. This is probably due to the sheer numbers uploaded by each user. The list does reflect the fact that the average person is using them and uploading them. I would tend to agree with the criticisms that these uploads are getting out of hand. The images are not very good, but I have no problem in saying that these images are of low quality because the photographers are not very skilled at using these mobile devices.

Yeah, I believe mobile phones are capable of taking excellent pictures. Every camera has limitations, whether film, digital or X-Ray. The right camera for the job, but this isn’t always possible. You have to work around your camera’s weaknesses. With mobile photography, every phone is different and has different hardware specifications and different software specs.

I prefer Android over iOS, it’s not about better or worse, it’s just the way it is for me. iPhone camera software may only differ from versions of iOS. Android’s camera software differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. This is often problematic for beginner photographers, but shouldn’t be a make it or break it situation if you have a little practice.

Lately, I’ve been using an app called Open Camera for Android. This app opens up a lot of features that the stock camera app just might not give you. There are certainly hardware limitations with options, but there are plenty of non-hardware options. This app is very customizable and useful. There are plenty of automatic features and depending on your hardware it opens up a lot manual settings, like ISO and Color Temperature. I am using the LG K10 with Android version 6, AKA Marshmallow. I was previously using Open Camera on an ASUS Zenfone 2 with Android version 5.0.1 Lollipop and it worked flawlessly. If you find that your stock phone app is just not doing enough, go and play around with some other apps. Open Camera is free and doesn’t have any ads. You’ll find that a lot of other apps in the Play store are supported by ads. I find those things too annoying for my taste.

Software will not improve your mobile photography on its own, you have to understand the limitations of those small digital sensors. Mobile phone digital sensors don’t have the range that the larger sensors have. Blowing highlights is very easy to do. The focal length of mobile phone cameras are roughly at 3mm, so getting shallow depth of field is very difficult to achieve. There are lens accessories are don’t really help to achieve that, but they can help focus on smaller subjects at a close distance so there could be a little leeway. The more you shoot with your camera the more you learn how it responds. You just have to pay attention to what you camera is doing, then plan ahead.

these images were all shot over the last few days with the LG K10 and imported through Lightroom Mobile and edited.

37 Frames and Counting

A rough day for my photography.

Today I had a limited amount of time in downtown Burlington. I only had six hours. I know this seems like a lot of time, and it is. The six hours was just during the least ideal time of day for photography. I felt very uninspired to shoot. I constantly preach the idea, that there is no bad time to shoot. I feel like such a whiner. I spent the hours 9:00 – 15:00 with only 37 frames on my SD card. So now I’m back at the computer and looking at my Lightroom imports and I almost feel heart-broken. Oddly enough though, if I were shooting on 35mm film then I would be ecstatic that I shot 36 frames.

I think I know were I went wrong; expectations on myself were too high for the situation. There are images everywhere, just waiting to be captured. I did pull together a few good images. I am always looking for my next great image. In street photography however, there really is no next great image. Everything has already been photographed and now all we have left is to photograph how we see, not what we see.

Better luck next time I suppose.

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The Wedding Day

Jack and Molly got married in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Jack and Molly are good friends of mine and when they asked me to shoot their wedding, I didn’t hesitate. If I do shoot a wedding, it’s going to be for friends. I have turned down several wedding gigs over the last few years, because I don’t consider myself a wedding photographer. I do consider myself a “people photographer”, there is definitely some overlap. I love weddings, but I am not completely in love with photographing them.

2016-06-20-439Although, I consider my style to documentary style, I tend to lean a little toward editorial. So there is still a little creative license in the editing process. This is where I think that my style isn’t really applicable to wedding photography. Just like all genres of photography, fashion plays a big part on what people are looking for in their wedding photographer.

There are hundreds of “How-to videos” on the internet. This is currently wedding season so there are a ton of them surfacing on YouTube. I watched a few of them and there was a lot of commonsense information and some good points. The videos I watched were almost helpful. I decided to shoot the wedding the same way I always shoot.

Shoot everything.
I photographed everything I found important to capture. Before the wedding started, I scouted the location. I tried to find the best angles for every shot. While at the same time, I did not want to disturb the guests. This can be challenging for someone of my size. I had to hope that no one could hear my shutter firing either, but we were outdoors. The best part of the outdoor wedding, we were under a tree’s canopy. This was perfect! There is nothing more challenging than shooting in a tent. I suppose being a hot summer day came to be my advantage.

I was also not being met with obstructions by other photographers in the guest pool. Not one single person got in my way as I was shooting the bride and groom coming down the walk way. Dave our wedding officiant was a great help with timing so I could get a clear shot of the bride and groom after they were pronounced. I also managed to get several great shots of the married couple in the front of their family with the ol’ Hasselblad.

I find weddings are extremely stressful. The pressure to get the key shots can be a little tough. Editing the wedding is also be really challenging too. However, when you are shooting for friends stress seems to be amplified. You don’t want to let those you care about down. I seem to be a photographer that can get through a shoot when there is some stress to push me. If I am working that hard, it’s going to for family and friends.

Jack and Molly

A Craftsman’s Shop

Spending the afternoon at Kelly Bike®

The ShopYesterday in sunny Nevada City California I spent a few hours with the master frame builder, Chris Kelly at Kelly Bike® HQ. We were shooting some video and some still images for his new website. The footage we shot was him adding the braze-on parts for a new frame build. A braze-on is any metal welded to a frame, like seat post clamps, water bottle cages, cable guides and panniers racks. Chris makes the process look easy.

I think a lot of people don’t see is the office work that goes into running your business. When you look into a shop like Chris’s it’s hard to tell that he also does his office work here too. He routinely works 14 hour days. Building frames, packing them up, shipping them off to customers and then there is buying supplies and doing the marketing going to shows and setting that all up. Kelly Bike Company is really just a One-Man Show.

There is more to being a craftsman than working in the shop with a torch in hand.

Chris Kelly in the Office

An Interview with Surfs Drugs

I hang out with a lot of bands, I get some funny photo sessions. So on a recent shoot with Surfs Drugs, the guys and I had a great mock interview session.

I love these guys, they have a great sound and real professionalism. I love shooting with musicians and bands that take what they do seriously even if there is nothing serious about their personalities. The job is the job, but there is no reason you can’t have some fun at work.

A Photographer’s Toughest Competition…

The only real competition we face is ourselves.

PhotographerDon’t hate your fellow photographer for being more popular than you. The odds are they are not “better” than you, they’ve just figured out how to garner more attention on the internet. I was once one of the many photographers brainwashed by the idea “competition” was the source of my unpopularity. Perhaps I still am brainwashed. For the most of my photography career I have been the victim of self-doubt. In my early days, I would routinely sabotage myself by making excuses like “if I had this camera, then…” and “if I had the opportunities that so-and-so has, then…“. I eventually gave up trying to be a professional photographer and just started to shoot what I wanted to shoot and was pretty happy for a long time.

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS
In the early 2000s I decided to give pro-photography a try again. The internet is a new monster to face. I joined a social-photography site called Photo.Net and I learned a lot about the art of photography, but I also learned about gear-lust. I was also intimidated by all the great photography on the site. This is also where I discovered internet trolls. I had no experience with them, and they managed to get under my skin. However, the jealousy didn’t really come until I hit Facebook.

The years went on and once social media took hold of the internet, all hell broke loose. I come to realize that being cool was more important than being talented. I built up a lot of negativity for these cool-kid-photographers that were popping up everywhere. I wasn’t the only one to feel that way, and the internet turned many reasonable photographers against each other.

On more than one occasion a photographer actually stepped in front of my camera while I was taking a picture at a show. Another time in Portland, a young photographer walked up to me and informed me that he was the official photographer for this show. My brother’s band was headlining the show. I replied, “good for you, but my brother is currently on the stage and I’ve never seen you before.” He walked away and didn’t say another word to me. I found a lot of negativity over the years, especially while shooting live music. I’ve also met some great photographers and I’ve made some solid friends along the way.

It’s gotten so bad that our petty jealousy has spilled over to our subjects’ perception of photographers. The other a day, a friend and his band were playing a show in Portland and naturally I showed up with cameras. He didn’t realize I was in town and came over to me and apologized because he invited another photographer friend to shoot. I was not surprised by the apology though. I wish I were surprised. A few years ago I may have been a little jealous. If I were in a band, I would want as many photographers at my show as possible. I would not want too many photographers at my wedding though. Photographers have no grounds for such petty jealousy. I suppose a lot of this jealousy is fueled by over-inflated egos.

PhotographerThere are photographers out there being showered with undeserved accolades. That’s just the way it is. I do believe that the average Facebook viewer doesn’t know the difference between good and bad photography. It doesn’t matter though, we as photographers just need to be honest with ourselves and the work we are producing. Viewers become more educated on photography and are more likely they hire photographers on merit, not popularity in the long run. There are always going to be clients that are seduced by aggressive A-Type photographers. We don’t want them as clients anyway.

Hate spewing “trolls” are constantly trying to sabotage us. We can’t let them bring down our industry. As long as we continue to engage in the negativity, they will succeed in bringing down our cohesiveness.

I had to learn some hard lessons. I guess we all have hard lessons to learn. There is always something to learn from other photographers, there is no reason to hate.