Haters. We all have em. They come in every shape, form, and size. They can be your family, your competitors, or even your closest friends. Truth is, we’ve all done our fair share of hating on someone for something. I think it’s human nature to try to get ahead like that or down someone or something to make ourselves feel better. That doesn’t excuse it…because, in the end, it is still a form of bullying and hating on something does cause hurt feelings at some point.
Recently I had a run in with a hater of mine. It was in a social media forum/group that we will not name. A model posted a call for photographer and I was fortunate enough to have a little bit of down time before the busy part of my shooting season. A mutual friend of ours commented and suggested me for their project/shoot. So I commented back with “I’d love to help.”
This is when someone else commented listing their credentials and all that jazz and saying they would like to help as well. One of their credentials was pretty awesome! They were published in an international magazine that I’ve been looking to get published in several times over the last couple of years. So I decided to read more of this person’s comment and learn more about them or better yet, become friends and colleagues with them so that they may mentor me in finding a way to get published in that magazine.
This is when the crap storm started.
It was within only a few comments that he made a stab at me disguised as a joke. Now I’m not one to read something online and get fired up about it. So I let it go and responded with a semi-agreement and left it there. The conversation should have been over and probably would have been with someone else…but not this guy. He continued into speech about professionalism and all that jazz. My banter back was an agreement…and it should have been over.
Now, at this point I should have stopped. I admit that. I should have let him die into the background and disappear from whence he came. That’s the thing about haters though. They make you WANT to argue with them. They’re trolls and they’re good at what they do. Sometimes I wonder if they’re paid for it…
So I fell into the trap and began coming back to this guy about his comments. After a few he drove a knife home to the hilt. He brought up a mistake I made earlier in my career as a photographer. I have since made it right in numerous ways. That didn’t matter to this guy. He kept turning the knife and the more he did, the more he made me feel stupid, dumb, and under a microscope. I felt like he ousted me to people in the group and was trying to tarnish my name. So, I went back and forth with him in a heated debate. As I think about it now, he was probably sitting there getting his jollies off about imagining me squirm.
I mean this guy had me riled up and there was no hiding it. I contacted the people that had the issue was about because he said they were still mad about it. I was getting defensive as all get out and I was even to the point of finding this guy and showing him my big green monster!!
I was pissed and I never met this guy before! Yes, that’s right! I didn’t even know he existed till this conversation!!! He knew a lot about me though…and from what I hear from others, he’s made it his mission to black mark me.
Then he made a mistake – as all trolls do – and began comparing levels of “success” and “professionalism” to the amount of money you make as a photographer. Ahhh…ok. Back to my level playing field. I let him go on and called his shots left and right about it. Eventually he left the conversation alone…I’m sure he felt smug and happy about it.
This is the sad part of the story.
In the heated argument with this arrogant keyboard kowboy I made a fool of myself by hijacking someone’s comment thread and arguing with him. I allowed him to pull me into a situation where I looked stupid and presented myself as an a-hole that was trying to defend himself instead of a calm and cool professional that was secure in my career. I argued finances, talent, professionalism, and so much more. Not only that, but I did it in full view of a community that I valued and appreciated.
Since then I’ve made amends with the lady who’s thread was hijacked and I’ve had numerous comments and messages from the community around him saying that he does this to photographers all the time
So…it was time I found out who this guy is. I searched his work out.
I could hate on him and his work. I could drop his name. I could…but I won’t. See, since I had this issue I found out that this man has gone to clients of mine, actual clients, and trash talked me. He’s hated on me and told people to not use me. He’s made comments about how trashy my work is, how I would have never been a photographer if it wasn’t for photoshop or my “cheater window” on the back of my camera. He’s said that I’m a creeper and unprofessional and I’m sure he’s said other stuff.
That’s fine though…because you know what? In the end I’m still clickin’ and taking my photos. I’m still working amazing people and I’m building lasting friendships with so many people on a professional and personal level that I cannot help but feel blessed in my every day life.
So let him hate. That’s what haters do…haters hate. Creators create.
Haters hate. That’s what it all boils down to. They hate and they do it simply to make you look bad. They’re good at it to. Like I said, I think some of these guys should be paid for it. This man in particular.
Think of it like this, though. If they’re hating, you’re doing something right. You’re bringing something out of your clients that they only WISH they could do.
We all have skeletons in our closets. The best thing we can do is own them. If you’ve messed up, own it. Take it for what it was: a learning experience. If you try to hide them people will find out and in the hands of a hater that become ammo to use against you
Recently a friend of mine had a hater. Nothing bad was said, but she wears her heart on her sleeve and she strives to be better at her photography as much as her family life. We were talking about her hater and she said something that really rang true with me…”I don’t know who my haters are…I think I like it better that way.”
I do too, girl. I do too.
Maybe we would all be a little better if we didn’t know who our haters were.