EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Right Moves: Bad Behavior

Myrna Kresh



Myrna Kresh, has 30 years of experience working with emerging and established photographers. Formerly the Executive Director of the Advertising Photographers of New York, Myrna energized and expanded APNY’s Assistant and Emerging Photographer Programs and has a profound understanding of what it really takes to make it as a pro. Myrna is an industry insider, producing and representing visual artists, in their commercial and personal projects.

Dear Right Moves,

I work for a photographer who has no filter when he speaks whatsoever. He’s a nice enough guy and respectful to his wife and children. But when they’re not in front of him (which is most of the time), he makes comments that are racist and misogynistic. I’m no goody-two-shoes and I don’t consider myself a PC fanatic, but as a member of one of the favorite targets of his ‘humor’ I am offended.

Saying nothing makes me part of the problem. Saying something could get me fired. What’s the right move?

Disgusted, Detroit, MI

Dear Disgusted,

Humor is a transparent cover for very bad behavior. What is said to be a joke is often not funny at all and in fact it degrades the person who’s saying it more than those who have to listen.

If you are close enough to your photographer that he’d care if he were upsetting you, I suggest you take him aside and, quietly, in a non-confrontational way, mention that when he says ____________________, it makes you feel very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t get into the political significance of his language or his humor, just very specifically say which comments make you uncomfortable.  

I think if he’s as great a guy as you suggest – he might just filter himself around you. You can’t fix the entire problem of his having no filter, but you can get some relief for yourself.  

OR, you can be just like 90% of the population and say nothing. Suck up the bad behavior, because you’re in his studio and his world. If it offends you enough, look for another job.

To submit your advice questions to Right Moves, send an email to myrna@myrnak.com.

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