Followup: Where I Was Coming from When I Wrote the Same-Sex Weddings Post

Living in a community as conservative as mine can be difficult. People tend to judge you. Sometimes, in fact, I get phone calls — the anonymous kind. They call to tell me how much trouble I’m in, what I’ve done wrong and whom I’ve upset.

It’s scary to answer the phone with a number that’s listed private and get verbally abused. I’m a business owner. I have a family. And I try to do good work here in my community. But because of the clients I choose, or the subject matter, or where I advertise my business, I’m guaranteed to get these kinds of calls from time to time.

Make no mistake. They can be hate-filled.

Once, a caller berated me for a newspaper ad I shot, showing a military man and his new wife walking together. His wife was pinching his bottom; it was supposed to be a cute picture. But the man on the other end of the phone insisted I would never get any work in this town again, and that the guy in the picture was in big trouble — although you couldn’t see his face and he wasn’t identified.

I got a call this week, too. He called at the end of the day. He wanted to know about a photograph of mine that was published on the cover of the Colorado Springs Independent. It showed a man and woman in an illustrative picture about “staycations,” of all things.

The man on the phone told me that he was a photographer, and he was certain the woman in the picture was actually a man. I politely told him he was mistaken, but he insisted. You see, he was sure he knew the circumstances of the picture, what was being photographed and why — the hidden agenda.

I hung up on him.

This is where I was coming from when I asked in my June 18 post, Will Photographing Same-Sex Ceremonies Hurt or Help Your Photography Business?

I didn’t ask the question to show off my biases or tell you my views on gay marriage. I was wondering how it would affect me — and I wondered if any of you had the same concerns.

I think, of the 37 comments on the post, the best response was the first one. The commenter said to do the right thing. And I will do the right thing.

But I also don’t think it’s insensitive to take into account the social norms of my community. The propensity for hate. And how difficult it can be to take these kinds of phone calls.

[tags]wedding photography, same-sex marriage[/tags]

5 Responses to “Followup: Where I Was Coming from When I Wrote the Same-Sex Weddings Post”

  1. When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn't a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

  2. That comment's a little harsh. Sean is at least being honest about the legitimate concerns and doubts he has. Many people say one thing and do another, because they want to look good. Sean's letting us in on his thought process, and I appreciate that.

  3. I read the first post and was conflicted. It doesnt bother me one way or another. I'm sure same sex marriages get alot of hate, but everyone who doesnt believe in same sex marriages hates the people involved. I just worry as a photographer of being forced to shoot something I dont want to.

  4. Also read the first post, and the reality is that it's easier to meet the clients, get a feel for them, then if you don't like the set-up, find a conflict on the calendar.
    It's not our place to decide whether or not something is right or wrong: you get that choice when you do a job for free.
    When you're being paid for it, the dollars dictate.

  5. This is truly a question of ethics in both posts.

    Do you stand by your ethics and moral values when it can affect your pocket book?

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