In Pursuit of the Truth

Jack Nicholson
"You can't handle the truth!"

The firestorm of comments on my “haters gonna hate” post raised an issue that I think is prevalent in the industry: attacking one’s character or making an insinuation about one’s ethic without really knowing the person or their background. I’ve seen it done to others where I knew the background of the person attacked, and have experienced it personally myself, when a wave of opposition and attacks grow and spread like a virus via the web-based on the tiniest bit of information (or misinformation). In the case of Ms. Star it seems to be this notion that she has not “busted her ass” to get to where she is today. She’s just a “hack” who’s a slick marketer. Or, that she is not fit to teach photography because her work is not up to par. (Apparently, enough people like her work to want to learn how she does what she does.)

One  commenter on that post questioned whether or not I really care about this industry based on “the company I keep,” referring to Jasmine and Jesh de Rox, who he felt I was defending in my “twitter tempest” post. First, I don’t keep the company of Jasmine or Jesh. Second, and this is what I find interesting, that same commenter (and a few others) praised Zack Arias and what he stands for in this industry. Zack is an amazing individual, a good friend, and wholly deserving of the praise he gets. The interesting point I was referring to is that on an episode of Chase Jarvis live, Zack himself publicly praised Jasmine for her hustle and work ethic. Speaking of Mr. Jarvis, Chase and his team at CreativeLive saw fit to invite her back a second time, and Chase invited her to be one of the guests on stage with him at last year’s PhotoPlus Expo Keynote (along with photography heroes Zack Arias, Joey L, Vincent Laforet and Robert Haggart. I’m sure that pissed a lot of people off). So, the question is: are Zack and Chase (two highly respected professionals in the industry with the street cred to back it up)  just really bad judgments of character? Have they been duped by a pretty smile and the marketing mojo of J*? Or, perhaps is there something in Jasmine they see that others don’t because they’re too busy bashing her?

In Pursuit of Truth

When I broach provocative topics like this, it’s in my honest pursuit of truth, regardless of who the object of discussion is. The Jesh post wasn’t about defending Jesh, it was about pointing out the hypocrisy I saw in so many photogs who on one hand were blasting him because of his $16,500 1-on-1 consulting fee, but then charge $100 for an 8×10 or $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 for a wedding. (My whole wedding cost $10,000. If I had gone to my in-laws who were footing the bill and told them I wanted a $10,000 photographer, they would have said, “Are you out of your Vulcan mind?!”, only replace “vulcan” with a different colorful phrase).

This post about haters (which referenced not just Jasmine but three other professionals in the filmmaking industry) was not about defending those four, but about pointing out what seems like a real issue in the industry.

I want to start thoughtful and respectful dialog and try to get people to at least consider looking at an issue from someone else’s point of view. Or to honestly consider the shoes that others have walked in. Or, at the least, to gather all your facts about an individual before riding the way of opposition.

You can never get enough of Jacko!

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3 thoughts on “In Pursuit of the Truth

  1. Your article is exactly on point Ron. Where these critics come from is a point of jealousy. J* or Zack or even Jesh* and others like them will freely say they didn’t re-invent the wheel. What they did and do is make their version of the wheel more visible to others and different in some way that makes them stand out. J* said in her recent teaching seminar on Creative Live that “I didn’t invent the poses”. It’s what she does with them that counts.

    So the armchair coaches sit back and say. “Heck that’s not that special, I could do that”. and then start typing their attacks. Where they fall off the rails is. They don’t finish the sentence. “I could do that, if I only had the energy to get off the sofa. To learn the techniques. To dream up the creative ways to get myself visible in this cluttered marketplace” and so on. It’s pure jealousy of how hard these creative people work to get their message out and as a result of that hard work, the profile they have built and the clients they get.

    These critics are the lottery players. They don’t want to work to build a business that could provide them a comfortable life. That takes ingenuity, drive and to risk trying things that just might make them rise above the rest. They sit back and complain, knowing in their minds that they are just as good if only life would drop the money and opportunities in their laps. Then they go buy lottery tickets to have the same “success” without the work because, damn it! I’m just as good, I just don’t want to do the work.

    Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do. -Benjamin Franklin

    * on a personal note, I’ve never pay Jesh or anyone that kind of money for a one on one. But I thought, more power to him. If people want that type of tutoring and are willing to pay his fee, then go get them. He was thinking outside the box and that’s what changes the norm. What Jesh did is spawn a new idea that could create an industry.

    Consider this (what I learned from Jesh’s program). Why should a pro wedding photographer give away years of skill and experience to a second shooter who wants to break into the market? We pay for school, we pay to apprentice in almost any other industry. Why shouldn’t a novice pay the pro for the education they are about to receive? You want to shoot 12 weddings with me and learn what I know to jump-start your career? Fine, my teaching fee is $xxxx. Otherwise you can go spend the next 10 years to learn what I learned the hard way. It shouldn’t be free.

  2. Unfortunately, the line has been blurred between good education/training and “I’m a Mockstar, come to my show and pay me to hang out with me while I show off my work and talk about me all day!”. If people are willing to pay for the latter, so be it. They won’t be disappointed, because they are getting what they want – the chance to hang out with their web idol, who, if they pay enough money to, might remember their name after it’s all over.

    These Mockstars may not be very good teachers at all, but it really doesn’t matter, if what they are selling is really themselves (which is what I think they are really selling – most of the “secrets” and techniques they show are readily available in lots of good books on the subject). Their fans will lap it up. Their haters will continue to hate. And they… well, at the end of the day, they will take their money and go home. Good for them. “A fool and his money are soon parted”. Yep. That’s how some businesses stay in business. It’s not illegal. It’s America.

    Personally, if I’m going to pay 16K to one person for one day’s worth of training, it had better be flying around the world in a private jet getting shots of at least 5 of the 7 wonders of the world – but that’s just me. (Again, see above reference about fools.)

    People who don’t have real credentials who are offering up training may be wrong, but it’s not uncommon, nor is it illegal in our profession. To quote from Obi Wan – who is the bigger fool – the fool, or the fool who follows him?

  3. I just have to say I’m tired of people attacking Jasmine Star and saying she’s so full of herself that she made up a name to become a rock star. It’s her first and middle name, people! Something she has never kept a secret! *sigh*

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