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Pat O'Brien
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Pat O'Brien

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Would love it if you circled me under my new profile!

https://plus.google.com/u/0/112149805343403732000/posts
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Found our Flip camera that's been missing for a little over a year! Now to build a cheap, portable steadicam for it. Anyone have DIY tips?
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Since Google+ is awesome and made me sign up for a 2nd account why don't you join me there! Please?
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Today's engagement session sneak peak
Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, post...
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Glynis Citarelli's profile photoPat O'Brien's profile photo
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This past year in building a business has been both awesome and the hardest thing we’ve ever done. I don’t think many people talk about the struggles they
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Amazing
Zack Arias originally shared:
 
So, this guy writes to me this week....

I get my fair share of weird emails but this one got under my skin. Usually the best course of action is to just delete them and move on but sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself, what you believe, what you've been through, and for those people a person may be lumping you in with.

Sometimes you just don't sit quietly because they'll go on in life and say "Well I wrote so-and-so an email and they never responded because they knew I was right." This guy also calls out +Chase Jarvis and +Scott Kelby in his email. Say all you want about me but don't go hatin' on friends of mine who have hearts of gold and do nothing but give a lot to this industry.

Sometimes you keep your mouth shut but sometimes you just gotta bitch slap a fool. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do but sometimes... you just do. I'm sharing this email with all of you in my "internet group" because the writer of this email asked me to.

I will keep his full name, email, and photography school web site out of this post. Yes, he runs an online photography school. He says he's been teaching for over 20 years and that his work hangs in private collections along side Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Here's his bio...

"Matthew’s photographs have been displayed in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. In private collections they hang next to Adams, Porter and Weston. His influences are varied, but you may notice similarities to Walker Evans, Mary Ellen Mark, Minor White, Paul Strand and even WeeGee. Matthew’s photographs are sought after by serious photographic collectors around the world, and are printed on the finest archival materials to museum standards."

You'd think with that kind of legendary work under his belt I'd find some of it online. Haven't yet. And here is his email to me this week....

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hey Zach,

I understand you are new to photography and have a family to support. I hope
you succeed.

But you and others online have taken a bite bigger than you realize. Teaching
without values is wrong. Our trade is an honorable one that records history and
events in people lives, it's not just advertising and making money.

By teaching people to become "pretend" photographers ( those with little
understanding and skills) can do harm. They may quit their jobs, or sell things
to get where they think they want to go (to be like you and Chase and Scott
Kelby) way before they are ready. This can lead to a short career with long term
affects, including financial loss and divorce. People's hopes and dreams are
not a game to be toyed with.

A career in photography, like any creative field, needs time to evolve. Selling
false hopes (and gear to look like a pro) is simply wrong.

Please pass this on to your Internet group. Reading Understandng Exposure and
having a high end Nikon is not a carrer. It's but a start.

Matthew ....
[biz name]

Note this can be read as me being your competition, but it is more than that. I
care about our trade and the people in it. I don't want n00bs to be bamboozled
by other n00bs. It is too important.

Please support the 99 %. Our Democracy is at stake.

I just hope understand
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll post my reply here in a second after this request for you all. I am not looking for affirmation or compliments or any of that. I'm also not looking for all of us to just have a cheap laugh at this guy.

So let's have a discussion about calling out people or not. Are you for it? Against it? Should I have just deleted this with the rest of them or is there a time that it's ok to bitch slap across the Interwebs when someone is so clearly speaking out of their rear?

Did I over step my bounds? Did I beat my chest a little too much? How would you reply. Let's make those parts of our discussion.

I do hope he sends me a gallery link.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


O.M.G.

You don't have a single clue about me, what I do, or what I teach do you? Before you fire off another email like this to another photographer you should really, really, really do your homework on the people you send these emails to. You're coming across as a complete ass.

Teaching without values? Where the hell do you come off saying that to me? I've lost everything because of this stupid job. I learned some really, really, really hard lessons and now that I am back in the industry I do all I can to spread the word about values. There are scores of podcasts, interviews, write-ups, reviews, and online resources I've been a part of that proves this to be true. PDN featured me a few months ago in a "school of hard knocks" story.

Seriously. I really shouldn't even reply since you are showing your ignorance so acutely but here we go...

1) I've been pursing photography for over 15 years. I went to school for it, assisted, and managed a studio all before the digital revolution happened. I started shooting in high school for the yearbook and newspaper. That was over 20 years ago. New to photography? How long do I have to be shooting until you consider me to not be a n00b? If I kicked your ass in an 8x10 film loading marathon would you respect me? Because guess what? I'm a monster in large format dark rooms.

2) I've failed miserably at this profession. Lost my career, lost my gear, lost my marriage kind of failure and I teach from exactly that perspective.

3) I'm one of the rare voices in the industry that teach craft first and foremost before branding, blogging, and trying to be cool on twitter. None of that shit matters if you aren't a great photographer first and foremost.

4) I teach that it takes YEARS just to get your head wrapped around what it means to be a photographer. I teach that there isn't any fast track one can follow to do this. One of my favorite photographers, Yousuf Karsh, said that it takes 10 years just to become a photographer. That's just learning the craft part of it. Then your style and vision start to grow. I quote that all the time. I start each and every workshop I teach with a statement from Weston that reads,

"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it."

You've heard of Weston I take it since your web site says your photos hang next to his. See... I do my homework.

5) The sole reason I have 150,000+ readers of my blog a month is because I shoot straight, tell it like it is, always hold the craft of photography in the highest regard and esteem, and I don't bull shit around with people. It's hard damn work being a photographer and I always let people know that.

6) All of my teaching is based on taking very limited gear and resources and making the most out of it. I encourage students to NOT buy any more gear until they "learn the full capacities" of what they already have. That's why I start with that Weston quote. I also teach to never go in debt for this craft. I'm now a cash and carry photographer and that is what I teach.

From doing my research on you I can't find any substantial body of your work online. Please forward a link to your work. I do find it remarkably funny that your school web site has the quote "From Zero to Pro – FAST!"

Seriously? You just told me in your email that a career in photography "...needs time to evolve". Who's selling the big lie Matthew?

Lastly, you don't know shit about Chase nor Kelby. I know them both personally. I've known them for some time now. I know them in the public and private arenas and they have hearts of gold, teach great things, and have never ever ever said anything to lead someone to think that this shit is easy. There are those who don't have a clue as to what they are doing with a camera and are out there teaching and "leading the way". I don't associate with any of them and, at times, have called them out by name in public forums because they were full of shit and somebody had to say it. SOOOOO much of me wants to make a blog post of your email just to do the same but I have better things to be doing.

Do your effing homework Matthew. It's a small industry and if you ever truly want to be a positive voice in it then stupid emails like the one you sent me will insure you never meet that goal. Another way to become a voice in the industry is to not just retweet other people's links, ideas, and quotes as about 90% of your twitter feed does. Add to the signal Matthew. Not the noise.

Cheers,
Zack

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, how do you handle stuff like this? Let's not make this personal about me or him.

I just hope understand. :)

Cheers,
Zack <------ WITH A "K" MATTHEW!
278 comments on original post
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Elisha Huizenga's profile photo
 
Agreed with +Geordie Wardman I hate drama as much as the next person and it seems to me that this guy was just wanting to see what kind of fuss he could get out of you. Boy he got it too. I also agree with you 100% +Zack Arias people should do their homework before they jump to sending out accusing emails. You are an amazing photographer and this guy obviously has a lot to learn about being a genuine photographer. It takes more than just the brains of what you learn in school but it takes heart (a real heat and passion) for the job as well. Now, saying that I am an amateur photographer but I have a great deal of passion for my work and for the people in the industry. I will not EVER knock one single person for doing what they love no matter how good or bad they are. It's the point that they are trying to pursue a dream. If you professionals didn't teach people like me we would never learn anything. I thank each and every one of you because DAILY I learn that this is a very hard thing to pursue but in the end it is worth every second. Thank you +Pat O'Brien for sharing this.
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Pat O'Brien

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Hey guys, be sure to circle me on my new OBrienPhoto account! https://plus.google.com/u/0/112149805343403732000/posts
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and a new profile photo so you're not confused!
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Okay, so we started a Google+ business page for O'Brien Photo - and in the process Google Plus made me sign up again (under my OBrien Photo account). So please join us there!
O'Brien Photo - We're Kate and Pat; wedding photographers based out of Western Massachusetts.
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Beautiful sunny day for our last engagement shoot of the season!
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Yesterday I posted about the struggles we’ve had as photographers. Today, I want to go to the light side and talk about the perks! There are many and they far
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We started a new little series to help out other photographers. Part 1 (of 4) is an intro into how to shoot manual. http://pobr.in/97
We've decided to start a How to Shoot Manually (with a Canon) series. For years, I shot in Aperture Priority and I scratched my head on why my pictures were
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Have him in circles
150 people
Grace Loving's profile photo
Kostas Bagiuiani's profile photo
MUNEEROH CARENG's profile photo
James Kimball's profile photo
Scott Thiel's profile photo
Ron Bennington's profile photo
Mel Biah's profile photo
Mike Lindquist's profile photo
Elaine Soltis's profile photo
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