Issues of (un)professionalism are abound in every photography or art related forum and since we live in an age where almost everyone are connected via the internet it’s easy to see that the same problems affect everyone even across the globe. Some of the biggest and most volatile issues revolve around ‘people not fulfilling their end of the bargain especially with trade shoots’, ‘flaking where one or more people does not show up to a shoot’, ‘people behaving inappropriately on set or making others feel uncomfortable’ and etc.
Recently there was a thread where someone asked ‘what is professionalism?’ Professionalism means different things to different people and you don’t have to be a professional in order to act like one (and it doesn’t mean simply charging for your services- that is being a working professional. This is about behavior and attitudes and how you present yourself).
To me it’s rather simple and it can be hard but I believe in doing what’s right and treating everyone around me in a manner I’d like to be treated myself. It means being polite, keeping communications clean and clear and being considerate of others and their opinions. It means keeping promises and being honest and bringing your best to the table. There are obviously situations where I simply cannot plan for and in some cases I have to make decisions that I won’t necessarily want to do or like doing but I just have to try my best to do what’s fair. In some cases I have to bend over backwards, in others I have to stand my ground and to be professional I have to make these decisions every day. Photography is a social industry and while I lament about how I -just- want to keep my head down and shoot beautiful concepts, reality is that I have to speak to people, to work with them and to confront people every day. Since I can’t control how other people act or behave or think of me, I just have to make sure I do what feels right.
Sometimes I get disheartened when hearing about the stories of how yet another person have reneged on their words, or acted badly whether before, during or after a shoot. Sometimes I get extremely frustrated when I encounter similar situations during my own work. It’s a big learning process because dealing with people and not-nice-situations and being professional is something that should be and can be learned. When you’re a new shooter and trying to break into an industry that’s all about networking, it’s extremely scary because there’s all these etiquette and rules seething beneath the surface and gets blown every so often and you can make major faux-pas everywhichway you turn. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t -try- and atleast that’s a start.
And sometimes it’s about keeping your head down and just shooting beautiful concepts.