Yesterday I was doing some online research of the photography of Richard Phibbs, because I have a model coming to the studio tomorrow who asked for some shots in “Phibbs style,” when I came across this article:
Now I realize that it’s an old story, and I realize that it’s just gawker.com, but the ignorance in messages like this just doesn’t let me leave it alone.
First, let’s talk about the “naked boy” part, would the writer have felt the need to write the story if Phibbs photographed women instead of men?
Oh wait, that’s right. He does.
He also shoots a lot of fashion.
But yes, some naked boys.
I think what offends me about this ubiquitous mentality is amplified by the fact that I hear it, in some fashion or other, every fucking day. It doesn’t matter that I’m a photographer; it doesn’t matter if I’m a good photographer or if I suck at it. It doesn’t matter that the print I’ve sold the most copies is of the Chrysler Building, or that I make nearly all of my money shooting headshots and portraits. What matters to 95% of the people I meet is that I’m the photographer that shoots naked guys that are deemed by most people to be “hot.” Believe me, hearing about it all the time does get a little old.
(And when this isn’t the case, what I hear about instead is what I should be shooting — “You should shoot bears.” “You should shoot older men.” “You should shoot more erotica.” “You should shoot left-handed, nine-toed Samoans.” But that’s a blog entry for another day.)
Let’s go back to this juvenile gawker article. Obviously the writer doesn’t know any photographers. (Here’s a news flash for him: There aren’t very many of us who shoot only one subject matter, all the time.) We shoot what we get asked to shoot. So as opposed to picking one of the most well-respected portrait and fashion photographers in New York, where would he think Hillary Clinton is supposed to go for her headshots, the portrait studio at K-mart?
And let’s not ignore the fact that the writer also doesn’t know much about the “research” angle of writing: A simple google search of Richard Phibbs pulls up his fine art website as the number one listing, and on the site, aside from the variety of photography I’ve listed above, Phibbs also shoots
- Water polo