Missed Opportunities

I’m sure that many of you read the post yesterday over at my friend Scott Kelby’s blog.  I was all set to write a full blown rant about the situation but there’s really nothing more that I could say that hasn’t already been written in the 300+ comments.  Instead, I thought I would share a thought that I had after reading all the venom.  I think that the folks at Sport Shooter that had so much trouble with the idea of a contest winner sharing the sidelines missed out on a golden opportunity.  It’s the same idea that I believe inspired Mike Olivella to come up with the idea in the first place.  It’s the idea that those of us that are lucky enough to be living our dreams should try to inspire and mentor others.  Mike thought that giving an amateur a chance to experience his world might inspire others to chase a dream.

So how does that relate back to the angry photogs who started this all?  Well, in my mind, they missed out on the idea that they could be influential in the life of another aspiring photographer.  I’m sure many of them are gifted in their craft and could take that talent to mentor someone with the desire and ambition to follow in their foot-steps.  Perhaps they could have offered to give critiques to the winner of the contest.  Maybe the could have offered to partner with Scott and Mike to create an event that would have fostered more positive light on their profession.  Instead they chose to react in a manner which threw a spotlight of anger and disdain upon themselves.  In the end, they missed out on the opportunity to inspire and encourage and left many with a bad taste in their mouth.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent…  No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” –

Calvin Coolidge


  1. This is exactly what should have been the reaction, well said! I can only relate to [b]ecker, the wedding photographer from OC, who does this in a great way. I attended one of his workshops when he was in Sweden, and he was going on and on about this whole networking thing, to learn from each other. If you only focus on making it harder for other people in your industry, I think you will be screwed in this time of networking. You have so much to gain and to learn by sharing.

  2. Yeah their whining is unbelievable. As if a newbie at a game is going to destroy photography entirely. Every photographer started somewhere. I think it’s the label “amateur” that gets them so upset… but let’s get real the contest is being judged it’s not random so the person coming already has shown some skill.

  3. Mario Brathwaite says:

    Well said, Jeff. By the way, I love the Coolidge quote. It one of my favorites. I carry it around with me.


  4. Steven Alexander says:

    I feel that those who screamed the loudest were not the talented professionals but insecure marginal shooters. I spent over fifty years as a working freelance photojournalist. I would never have seen as a threat or “place-taker” any newbie, either pro or not.

    Sidelines have always been over stuffed with non-working pro photographers, so what. I was always open to learn (many of these non-working shooters have really neat stuff to look at) or share my craft.

    Too bad that a fun and memorable day for a contest winner was destroyed.


  5. Here, here. You said, so eloquently, what was on the mind of most people, and stayed about the fray.

  6. Jeff, I did my rant yesterday. Well, not a rant per se, but it did inspire my post for the day. 🙂

    Personally, I’m always happy to share information and teach folks whenever I can. Photographers I shoot with don’t get competitive with each other, instead we spur each other along.

    I am glad to hear all the good that’s going to the winner, Alex. And hopefully we won’t see a repeat of such behavior from “professionals.”

  7. Just my two+ cents: What some of these photographers who shoot college sports NEED to remember is that they serve at the will of the college/university. They are “guests” who have earned a privilege to shoot sports–and often they are paid for their photographs. It’s uncommon for the college/university to economically benefit from these sideline activities, with the exception of public relations.

    My experience has been quite positive with the “sideline photographers (pro/amateur).” These folks give their time and experiences to help the school (pr wise), and more than a few have helped our students in advancing their sport photo shooting skills. I believe the students benefit from this professional mentoring!

    There is no room for stupidity or ill will on the sports field–or sidelines. No one benefits, EVER!

    Well that’s my two cents+


    And yes, I have removed a few, thankfully very few, visiting photographers who don’t understand the concept of privileges. Yep, I sleep quite well even after denying them stadium/court credentials.

    Dr. J

  8. Thank you for a reasonable take on the events. I think it’s always sad to see fear driving people’s actions, no matter what the arena. The photographers at Sports Shooter were unmistakably driven by the fear of an amateur photographer shooting next to them and perhaps producing better images. Truly confident photographers would have nothing to fear from such an occurrence.


  1. Alltop says:

    Missed Opportunities http://bit.ly/3KGkvU

  2. Missed Opportunities http://bit.ly/1Ku6nE #postrank #photography

Speak Your Mind