Experience & Advice.

Have you ever had a boss whom you sometimes love and sometimes hate? That’s how it is with me and my clients. I love them. I hate them. I love them. I hate them.

I’m fairly sure some of them feel the same way about me. Sometimes, they love me. Other times they hate me. In fact, during those “other times” when they’re in ‘hating on Jimmy’ modes, I often wonder if they’re secretly wishing I would totally screw up the photos they’ve hired me to shoot, or that I would do something so completely unacceptable they are obligated to send me packing and/or never hire me again… and feel totally justified and generally good about doing it!

The Boss/Minion Relationship

You probably know (or can imagine) how it sometimes goes with service-provider/client relationships. Actually, let’s call them for what they often are — boss/minion relationships. (At least that’s what many bosses/clients are hoping for in those relationships.) If you don’t know or can’t imagine that, it goes something like this: the more subservient and agreeable the minion is to the boss’s (client’s) wishes and whims, no matter how dumb or out-of-touch with the actual work and the product of that work those wishes and whims might be, the more they love the minion. (They also enjoy having their asses kissed by their minions, regularly in fact, but that’s a whole other story.)

Of course, ‘minion-love’ isn’t genuine love. Minion-love is more like the love some people have for non-organic things. Things that have no feelings or emotions. Things that make their lives better, simpler, and easier… and obey commands without questioning. Things that take some abuse. Perhaps a lot of abuse. And without complaint! You know, like a vehicle. A vehicle that’s dependable. A vehicle that their ideas of what a vehicle should be and how it should perform while getting them where they need to go.

The “Difficult” Minion

Conversely, the more rebellious or ‘difficult’ a minion might sometimes be, the more the minion will annoy the boss/client leading them, sometimes, to hate the (supposed) minion. That certainly happens during those times when the minion is being decidedly un-minion-like. Minion behaviors, you see, have little or nothing to do with the quality of the work the minion performs. In many boss’s minds, the minion’s ability to deliver work that meets or exceeds their expectations for that work has nothing to do with said boss’s desire to have his or her expectation-meeting, service-providing, hired hand being minion-like. It’s simply the boss’s emotional (and often dysfunctional and non-productive) desires to wield power over others. You know, to have others be their minions.

Creatives Are Rarely Minion-Like

I’ll admit I can sometimes be difficult for some bosses to work with. Creative types often are. Creatives generally make lousy minions. I’m not difficult to work with, emotionally-speaking. I’m definitely not a diva with balls and a penis. I’m neither egotistical nor arrogant and I’m rarely, if ever, disrespectful to those I’m working for. I’m simply someone who knows what they’re doing, at least in terms of shooting glam, tease, and nude models, and who expects to be treated as such. Respect is a two-way thing. And it doesn’t include one of the parties being a minion.

Be a Team Player Not a Minion

I’m a team player. Being a team player doesn’t mean being a minion. You see, I don’t subscribe to the minion-esque “the boss is always right” theory of working for someone. Bosses aren’t always right. (Just the way customers aren’t always right.) I don’t play the role of minion-with-a-camera very well. Never have. You want a minion to shoot your stills? Hire someone else. My attitude regarding this is mostly born of the fact that I’ve forgotten more about what it is I do (i.e., shooting models) than any of my bosses (clients) have ever known. Does that sound egotistical? I don’t really care. It’s true.

And even though my bosses/clients sign my checks, that doesn’t mean they suddenly are creatives themselves with plenty of photographic skills and experience. In fact, I’ve rarely, if ever, worked for someone who has ever had an actual great (and workable!) idea from a creative perspective or knew even half as much as I do about shooting the stuff they hire me to shoot. That’s why they hire me and not themselves, right?
Sometimes, they need to be reminded of that.

In Other Words

Just because someone is in a position to hire me to shoot photos for them (or for some company they represent) it doesn’t mean they know jack-shit about what it is I actually do or how I do it or how it should be done. And it most assuredly doesn’t mean I’m going to swallow my pride – if pride is what it is – and act like a… well, act like a minion.