Opinion - A Root of Conflict in The Photographer/Model Community: Different Motivations

Opinion – A Root of Conflict in The Photographer/Model Community: Different Motivations

A Root of Conflict in the Social-media-driven Photographer/Model Community:

Different Motivations

Blue Muse Fine Art. Conflict. 2013.

Blue Muse Fine Art. Conflict. 2013.

3 incompatible types of photographers & models:

Type 1: The money-makers. 

This type may not particularly care who/what they shoot with if they are getting paid.  Quality is only a concern in so much as it may encourage or discourage future paid shoots.  Various marketing strategies and/or misrepresentation often compensates for good work since it can be more time-effective for the bottom line.

Destiny:  Like drinking a cup of draino – ends up feeling a bit hollow inside.

 Type 2: The art-makers. 

This type may be prepared to put in obscene hours to make something of intrinsic value and does not care about the financial end of things.  What starts out as intrinsic motivation becomes the corner stone of their self-esteem.  May be overly sensitive, self-critical, and become disillusioned quickly when they realize most people around them could not care less about their art.

Destiny:  A bit like harikari – only slower and more painful.

 Type 3: The unsure/naïve/delusional. 

This type is not really too sure why they are shooting.  Experimenting, having fun, seekers of fame and fortune, easy money or, perhaps, addicted to facebook likes.  An unpredictable group.  May be prone to inflated egos.  Known to ask for ridiculous sums of money to shoot, and can get indignant if people don’t pay it.  May be vulnerable to those selling snake oil, may be diva-like, flake lots, and frequently taken advantage of.  Likely to leave the industry within about a year or two, unless they become a #1 or a #2 – usually a #1.

Destiny: Gets a bad reputation quickly and can’t find people to work with them.  Ends up taking selfies, pays to be included in #1s’ publications, then quits in a huff or when something better comes around.


Like bleach and vinegar these types do not mix well.  Why are these toxic combinations?

–          #2’s and 3’s don’t care about #1’s bottom line.

–          #1’s and #3’s don’t care about #2’s art.

–          #3’s can be vulnerable to manipulation by unethical #1’s who would like to take advantage of their naivety.  May sell their souls before they catch on.

–          #2’s can be threatening to #1’s bottom line, so #1’s are motivated to get #2’s to quit sooner than later.  Various techniques employed.

–          #3’s are frustrating to #1’s and #2’s.

–          #2’s can be offended by #1’s prioritizing work with less talented folks, not realizing #1’s may not care much about the final product, and don’t select their shoots based on talent or quality.

–          #1’s may take it upon themselves to school the #3’s in the value of their work (indignantly reminding them about things like how they have to pay taxes on their income) which confuses #3’s because they don’t see how these things have any bearing on their impending domination on the next season of ANTM.


Blue Muse Fine Art. Conflict2. 2013.

Blue Muse Fine Art. Conflict2. 2013.


In a less cynical vein…

There is plenty of conflict in the photography/modeling community.  Conflicts between models and photographers, photographers and other photographers, and between models.  It is unfortunate, as it sours the experience for lots of people.  Getting to the bottom of these conflicts may help preclude them and help keep the industry vibrant and positive.

One of the roots of these conflicts comes from people trying to work together, or being colleagues with, people with very different motivations.  Working with someone who is not on the same page as you is a recipe for misunderstandings, frustrations, or hurt feelings.  Good news is that if we understand each other a little better, we can chose to work with those with similar motives or at least learn to tolerate a little more.

In my experience, there are a number of different motivations for being involved in this community.  While the above may be rather aggressively cynical it is, at it’s heart, sincere.


– What is your motivation for being a model or photographer?

– Do you assume others will have, or should have, the same motivation as you?

– Are you upfront about your motivations with the people you work with, and are you clear on your expectations of other parties?


Hopefully, this will shed some light on some foreseeable misunderstandings and preclude some rants on facebook.



Related articles that may be coming:

–          Beauty and the beasts

–          9 ways to be Unprofessional