I feel like I’m in High School Again – Photography Industry Cliques

Don’t get me wrong there are a million things I love about the photography industry, but at the same time there are things that make me want to go in my cave and never come out. I can’t speak for all parts of the photography industry, but in all honesty the portrait  industry is like a rewind to high school.

Since portrait photography is an industry in which there are different skill levels, genres, and money to be made you just can’t help but notice all the drama!

The John Hughes movie the Breakfast Club summed up high school cliques perfectly…in the end when the character’s were asked who they were they simply stated “a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal”. The scary part is you took a random collection of photographer’s you might find the same thing. The brains aka “all the tech geeks”, the athletes “the super cool wannabes”, the basketcase “the pretentious artist”, the princess…no translation necessary, and the criminals “the faux photographers just trying to sell you crap”.

It kind of make me wonder if The Breakfast Club really was about high school or a guide to surviving the photography industry. Whenever I return home from WPPI I always feel half inspired and half…well like crap. I honestly return with a dozen ways I could improve my business (not really from taking courses but more from networking with amazing photography friends). The part where I feel like crap is when I look around and see all the cliques. To be honest photographers talk a lot of “shit”…there are very few that I’ve met that are not judgmental whether it be at someone’s religion, moral standing (yep…those are different), talent, or the product they advocate. Very rarely do I feel 100% welcomed and comfortable around photographer’s in a group setting…if you are actually ever with me at one of “the cool kids” parties for the majority of the time you will probably find me hiding out in the bathroom or hallway with some other introvert (I’m not joking…).

So what’s my point with all this. The Breakfast Club has a great moral story…it really shows how judgmental and biased we all are of each other.  I know it sounds naive but really my one wish would be that photographer’s would start using the golden rule…”treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”. We don’t all have to the same belief system (business, religion, or otherwise), talent, or motives…but we really should start treating others with respect.


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