I am no Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Nagi Sakai, or Eolo Perfido. I am Carlo Parducho (does have a nice ring to it though, right?). In the so-called pyramid of photographers in the world, I know for a fact that I am nowhere close to the apex and though I am proud to say that I am not that the bottom either, I want to move up.
I recently started working with a one-man show type of guy – someone who can do everything in the entire production process from styling, hair, makeup, to photography. He’s been around. He’s worked for reputable publications. More importantly, he can do it all. One of my biggest gripes in organizing shoots is the huge amount of time putting a good team together. He expressed his interest in collaborating, I was all for it. I am gone for work from 6:30am until 8pm so I have very little time to go out and produce shoots. Someone to do everything (but shoot and edit, of course) for me? Sign me up! I’ll get to shoot with minimal effort. I’ll get more photos with agency models without having to go through the entire booking process. I’ll get some industry tips and tricks. Hey that all means moving up, right?
Apparently moving up has a price. Apparently moving up requires doing certain acts that are considered…oh what was that word…unethical.
He once recommended me as a photographer for one of his clients. They wanted to see some of my work. Since I do not have a lot of beauty shots on my book, he told me to go to the internet and find some good beauty photos published is some international magazine and send it as mine.
He said that they’re not going to know. He said that he did that before – that he used someone else’s work to get a job that apparently required him to have a kickass portfolio for a super simple task. Apparently that’s how you get things done. Shit, colleges should be encouraging this instead.
Call me stupid or what not but I did not steal anyone’s work and submitted it as my own. I told him that I’m against that kind of stuff. I told him that if the client does not like my book, then I should not be working with them in the first place.
The gig mentioned above did not go through. His client went with someone else who posted a lower bid…much lower. He said he wants to do full-on shoots with me. Like said, entire shoot without me having to worry about 70% of it – count me in. He said he’ll take care of all the creatives – hair, makeup, styling, etc. and I take and edit the pictures.
Long story short, we did one shoot and I was informed that he told the modeling agency that the shoot is for a new online magazine called X. The problem is that this web magazine X does not exist. Apparently that’s how you test with agency models. Apparently agencies don’t send their models (even the new ones) out on test shoots unless it’s paid or if it’s for a published shoot. I expressed my negative thoughts about it.
Another shoot was booked – it was the shoot that supposed to be for today. It was the shoot that I planned for last Wednesday – the one that’s supposed to be shot in the basement parking lot. Well I get a call and an email from him on Thursday saying that the girl we originally booked is out of town so he sent me 2 new ones. I said I didn’t like either of them but if we HAD to do the shoot then it will be girl 1. Another email comes and apparently one of the bookers sent him another guy that’s supposedly better than the original guy. I said I didn’t know what to do with another guy and he told me not to worry since we can just use “new hotter guy” for my original plan and then do a separate shoot with the original guy on the side at the same time.
I got really annoyed since the shoot he proposed for this Saturday just got three times more complicated (it started out to be a studio beauty shoot then it evolved into a full-fashion shoot then once again into TWO full-fashion shoots). I went home and checked my emails to try to figure out where this entire thing went ballistic and then I found what I did not want to see – he told the showroom that the shoot was for the same non-existent web magazine called X.
I cancelled the shoot. I hate canceling shoots. I hate knowing that everyone’s work goes unrealized. This case, it would have been a lose-lose situation, and I chose the lesser of two evils. The models would have spent four hours in a basement only to get something that isn’t really published. Doing the shoot might have benefited me (if I miraculously pull it off) but it would not have benefited them. They’re doing the shoot for something they need – published photos, not any kind of good photos.
One of the major reasons I decided to pursue photography was the option to build it from the ground up based on MY foundation. I’ve worked for several companies that were downright unethical and unprofessional in their ways. I worked as a project manager before pursuing photography for a living. My boss sold clients products that did not exist yet and my other boss lied to clients about the specification of the equipment we sold them. Me as the project manager had to deal with all the ramifications of their unethical actions. I hear clients complain all the time about how their financial forecast for the fiscal year are screwed up because they cannot release the government grants they got for the non-existent products they purchased. I hear clients complain about the equipment because it was not doing what it was supposed to do. I hear clients tell me that they’re on the verge of losing their jobs because they purchased equipment that was not achieving its purpose. The consequences other people go through are immense and everything came from simple yet misleadings BS statements. I told myself that if I ever had my own business, I would not operate the way my previous bosses did. I was not about to start by doing the shoot today.