Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shady Photographers

What is the deal with CSI and shady photographers?

Though we don't watch tons of TV, Nathaniel & I are big fans of CSI. I love the Miami version and he likes Gary Sinse's crew in New York the best. But what do the writers of CSI have against professional photographers?

The first episode I ever saw of CSI, the villan was a fashion photographer who was raping models and killed one. Though I loved the CSI concept and the filming was gorgeous, I was so annoyed by this cliche "bad photographer" storyline, I didn't watch the show again for many months. So, I sit down to watch CSI again... and hey-hey, how ironic -- the villan is a wedding photographer murdering couples on their first anniversary! And then I saw my first episode of the New York CSI and check this out: a food photographer was killing people in wheelchairs.

It's been awhile since these three shows, and I had forgiven CSI. We were finally forging a better relationship, me and crew down in Miami. Until last night, when a family portrait photographer kidnapped a baby. GEEZ! Why do the CSI writers despise us, the professional photographers of the world??

We know lots of professional photographers. All over the country, even some in other parts of the world. They have all sorts of specialties, from weddings to commerical to fashion to photojournalism to baby portraits. They are all hard-working people. They have families, homes, dogs, car payments. They just happen to take pictures as a profession.

In every profession, in every walk of life there are always a few bad apples... people who are shady in one way or another. It's true, yes, that there are some shady photographers out there. But there are shady everythings out there and it's not like all photographers are shady! Seriously, we know hundreds of photographers. None are murderers or baby-nappers or rapists!

Our photographer friends are good, honest, real folks. They spend hours and hours in front of computers so clients look magazine-gorgeous. They carry 30+ pounds of lenses and lights and equipment around on jobs. They deal with parts of this profession I will not even talk about here, but I can tell you -- it's not all glamour by any stretch of the imagination! I've seen a photographer friend spend so much time in front a computer doing Photoshop, his eye burst a blood vessel. (Our rule with the computers here is that when our eyes are burning or watering, we step away from the computers... but that's still not pleasant!)

This job is fun -- it's true, but it is hard work! If spent all day plotting crimes and avoiding the police, there wouldn't be much time for making pictures, production work, answering emails, designing albums, or other functions of the business.

Interestingly, the CSI writers aren't the only folks out there who think photographers are shady. We were at a Barnes & Noble Bookseller recently to browse around. We sat down with some books and one I selected was a recently published guide for brides about hiring wedding vendors. I flipped open to the chapter on wedding photography and the first sentance said "Brides should know that wedding photographers are lazy and dishonest by nature." This is a direct quote and no -- I'm not going to plug her book for her by sharing the title -- I was furious that she published such a load of crap!

Maybe her wedding photographer was lazy and dishonest, but I don't know any who are, and I know dozens. In the words of our wedding photographer friend John, "People somehow get the idea that wedding photographers make a killing but most of us just make a living." It's true! Nathaniel & I regularly work 10 to 14 hour days (not to mention the hours worked by Josie & Brittany), sometimes answering as many as 100 emails in a day, processing and retouching thousands of pictures a week, running the business and many other tasks. If we were lazy, we would have been out of business years ago. If we were dishonest, the government would have caught up by now with our paperwork. And if we were killing people, you wouldn't be reading this right now.

So, please, give the professional photographers a little breather. We are regular folks doing our jobs.
~ Rissa

PS... Here is a shot of Nathaniel & Brittany at a crime scene, covering the evidence...I mean, uh, getting some cool angles at a recent wedding. Same difference.

1 comment:

AQ said...

This post made me laugh! I never noticed that about how photographers are portrayed but probably because I watch more Law & Order and House than CSI. (The one with the guy - maybe Las Vegas - with the strawberry blonde hair gets on my nerves because he is too dramatic for my tastes.) I can't believe the quote that you found though! But it's true about the misconception that exists - almost EVERY PERSON I talk to about wedding photography (especially) thinks that wedding photographers are rich because of their trade. If they only knew. But certainly what they lack in money is made up for in the experiences that they witness right? ;)