Sunday, October 2, 2011


I've always had problems with hose spray nozzles. I can buy one, and right out of the package I find a leak at the base that sprays water back at me when I'm trying to create a stream that goes forward, away from me. It's because of these cheap imports that all the stores are stocking now. And it's the same result with every hose I attach the nozzle to. So, when I found, at my mother's house, an old spray nozzle from back in the days when people actually created quality products, I jumped for joy.

Well, today I went outside to clean the water troughs and found that my only good spray nozzle was missing. I looked high and low, but couldn't find it anywhere, so I had to deal with one that got me soaked because of a leak that can't be easily fixed with new washers.

After that disappointment, knowing something valuable to me that can't be replaced was gone, I discovered that I was also missing one diamond stud earring and one sapphire stud earring. I remember vacuuming something up near my jewelry box, but didn't investigate it. I assumed I was hearing pebbles being sucked up.

Oh well, another couple of losses, but I can always wear my old favorite pearl and garnet earrings. Nope. All the pearls had somehow, somewhere fallen out of one of the earrings. Really? I lost three pearls too? This was getting to be ridiculous. Last week my microwave oven, my PlayStation3, and my CPU power supply all broke. That's about $1,000 in losses in one week.

After doing a couple of photo shoots for the local animal rescue organization, I was invited to attend a wine tasting membership drive. I was told that my photos would be on display and I should bring my business cards to display with my photos. The event began and 1:00 PM, but we were running late and didn't get out of the house until then.

My gut was telling me I should drive my car, but I went against it and let my husband drive his car. I placed my stack of photos in the backseat, and got another tug at my gut telling me to keep them in my lap. I ignored it, and left the photos in the backseat. I couldn't see any reason why they shouldn't be safe there.

My husband got a couple of blocks away from the house and then realized that he forgot to shave. He turned around and went back to the house to do that while I waited in the car. Once on the road again, he pulled into a car wash, because he was embarrassed by how dirty his car was. We had to wait in line a while because only one guy was running the car wash. Now we were half an hour late.

Just as we were coming out of the wash, I felt a water droplet hit my shoulder. I turned around and saw the both back windows were rolled down a crack, the backseat was puddled with water and soap, and my photographs that I brought along to add to the collection were ruined. The water managed to get inside the frames and damage the photographs.

I was stunned. What we were doing should have been so simple. It was the one chance I had to make the name of my photography business known locally, and something stupid had to come out of left field and ruin it. That's my life story.

My husband tried wiping off the frames, but we were already so late to the event, and I was already feeling so defeated by how the day was unfolding, that I just bundled the damaged photos into my arms and began hiking toward the winery. The place was packed. I asked several people if I could set up the photos somewhere, hoping the place was dark enough that no one would notice the water damage, and they said to put them wherever I could fit them.

I came upon a table that was filled with photos I took in beautiful frames, and each dogs' name was written in script on the photo. Then I looked on the TV above the table and saw my photos displayed in a slideshow. I was touched. I turned around and saw more photos of mine lining the bar. My work was everywhere, but no one knew who I was and the name of my photography business was not stamped onto the photos. As soon as I told people that I took those photographs, I was showered with gratitude and compliments. It was so nice to be appreciated.

However, it reminded me of the time I went to my son's end of track season awards ceremony, and was shocked to see that they put together a slide show of my photographs that I had shared with the coaches over the previous two years. It was flattering that they used my work, but also disappointing that they didn't ask for permission to do so, didn't thank me for doing all the work, and worst of all, didn't even give me credit for the photographs when all was said and done. Artists get no respect now-a-days.

There seemed to be a miscommunication about my willingness to do the job of photographing the rescue animals on a regular basis. One member of the group forewarned me that if I give this organization an inch, they will take a mile and expect me to be taking photographs every time a new dog shows up at the shelter, which is just about twice a day. I told her my time was limited and I probably could not schedule photo shoots at the drop of a hat, especially if I am expected to do all that work pro bono. She did say their board would discuss supplying me with "small donations" for my efforts.

Anyway, one woman at the event told me they were planning on asking another professional photographer in town to do some of the work. That's fine if they want to split the work between the two of us, but I hope they don't think I don't want to do it. I do. I just would like to limit it to 2 hours a week. I do have to make a living somehow, and I have a lot of responsibility at home as is.

I'm a bit gun shy when it comes to joining organizations. I've had so many of them take over my life that I fear them. I think that if I dip a toe in the water I'll be devoured by alligators and piranha. The people always say, "Whatever time you can give is appreciated."

Then I hear stories of volunteers who were "guilted" into giving up all their free time to help out with the cause. This is the first time I've had in 20 years where I actually have some play in my own schedule, and I want to use that time to meet my goals. Of course, taking photographs that make rescue animals look more personable and appealing to potential adopters is one of my goals, but it's not the only goal I have.

Oh well, another loss. I guess I shouldn't hesitate when it comes to jobs. I should just be totally enthusiastic and then only when people start monopolizing my time should I put my foot down. I get myself into trouble by anticipating problems.

It is rather disappointing that I came forward and volunteered to help find these animals new homes through my photographs, that I have been providing them with my services for free for nine months now, and they still want to approach some lady who runs a photography studio on the main strip. If her business is doing really well, they may just find that she's too busy to help out.

I just don't understand why people don't accept gifts graciously. If someone gave me, say... a really great horse, I wouldn't tell them that I'm shopping for a better horse some place else simply because I think the grass might be greener on the other side. I guess it's this psychological thing in which people believe that anything given to them for free must be defective. Believe it or not, I'm just a person with a good heart who can't give all of it away. But I can give enough of it away to make a difference.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh man! Don't get me started on how little respect and appreciation that photographers receive!

I have donated my time, abilities and supplies to take photos for various organizations and individuals and I have even charged a small amount for photos ($8.0 per CD or $5.00 per photo). It always surprises me the people that will complain about the cost and expect me to give them my photos for free or just bend over backwards to help them. And then they fail to give me any credit when they use my photos online or as a profile or for advertising!
I've even had people crop off my watermark so that there is no record that I took the photo! gah!
Burns me up!
I've even found photos that I took, being used by people and organizations online.....when I never gave any permission to do so!

And these are by people or organizations that can afford to pay a little for my photos, skills and services!

Oh yeah....don't get me started. My blood pressure is already fired up! beh!


Breathe said...

I've never found volunteering to produce business, unfortunately. Good karma, yes, business no.

I think photographers in particular get a short shrift. My father always points out how little regard photography gets in various artistic competitions. I'd suggest you water mark all photos you provide the shelter from now on. They may think of you as a hobbyist, this will go further to fix that.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Volunteer work is highly unappreciated, just as some legitimate lines of work are as well. It is amazing how far some people will push the envelope and expect to get it all for nothing, yet still want more.

Boundaries are good! And for the person saying they want to go with someone else for whatever reason- I would have asked how much they expected to pay for her services then metioned slipping an invoice to them in the mail for yours.