Keeping References Private?!?!

Keeping References Private?!?!

30 posts
8 May 2013
Amber6
Model
Amber6
Going to have a little rant here - This happened to me as a model giving a ref about a photographer.  But really, this can happen to photographers/muas/studios too. 

Basically, I'm a big believer in checking references - not just glancing quickly at the refs left on someone's page, but actually doing my own research and contacting people they've worked with.  Sooooo, I practise what I preach and am always very approachable and honest when someone contacts me for a reference on a person.  99% of the time the person the reference is about, was a joy to work with, so that's all I have to say.  However, there has been the odd time I have been asked for a reference on someone who was not so great to work with. 

Recently, this happened and I replied in detail saying that I had had problems with payment from this particular individual (some money which is still outstanding).  The model doing the inquiring thanked me, and I thought that was that - NO, she decides to contact the photographer telling him exactly what was said, and who gave him that reference!  So I've had my ear chewed off in the last few days, and it's even less likely I will see the money I am owed.  C'mon, discretion people!!  That's not how references work, where you go and tattle to someone about what was said.  I stupidly figured the model in question would keep what I said confidential, but she instead, went, 'I can't work with you because Amber West said bad stuff about you!'.  That obviously makes my life difficult, when really I did her a favour. 

So PLEASE, if you seek references off someone, an element of trust must be present and you keep the info to yourself.  If what you hear is not good, all you have to do is say, 'thanks Photographer X, but I've decided no longer to do the shoot'.  You can even elude to the fact you haven't heard positive things, but do not name the individual who told you, for Goodness Sake!
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Posted 9 May 2013
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
Sadly I understand this happens a lot. There are a lot of members who operate with ulterior motives to support the less trustworthy members for one reason or another. I seem to recall a story of a model on here who was aiding a rather unsavoury photographer shoot porn with underage girls (and taking part herself), sadly as well I understand she was a known name but didn't seem to mind helping this guy in carrying out his intentions (for whatever reason). I suppose we all just have to accept that anything that is seen/said/rumored will spread and we just have to be prepared for it to come out in the open at some point.
Posted 9 May 2013
Amber6
Model
Amber6
Oh, yes, of course. Hehe - I went to boarding school, I am used to a bit of backstabbing/general silliness, but kind of posting this - as I have on the two other sites I frequent, hoping it might be enough to make the odd person think twice (I can HOPE anyway!). Plus, I fancied a rant!
Posted 9 May 2013
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
Thankfully though this could also backfire on her. I'm no fan of models that cosy up to photographers in order to humiliate/screw-over others (or vice versa) for whatever purpose or even tollerate association with certain individuals, it may indeed seem petty but I'm sure I can't be the only one to think like this.
Posted 9 May 2013
One major problem websites like this have is that many decent members presume that
everybody else will be 'as nice' or 'as honest' or 'as helpful' as they are themselves
and will share the same values and moral codes.

Moderators know from long experience that this is sometimes not the case and that there are a
few nasty, dishonest and unhelpful characters with very different perceptions from the majority.

We would echo the sentiment that References should be kept private but we know that some
take a totally different approach and some others could be described as unthinking or clueless.
( But that is just a reflection of society as a whole and Purestorm is just a microcosm of society. )
Posted 9 May 2013
Amber6
Model
Amber6
Yup, you are right - this is just a reflection on society, unfortunately What they said (Forum Moderator!)
Posted 9 May 2013
Neil_M
Photographer
Neil_M
It's always a tough call...

Honesty is always the best policy end of. If in doubt remember that to make your decision.

It doesn't mean its the easiest / quietest way to do things though.

Amber if you have your agreement/rates on PureStorm that makes life an awful lot easier. As you know I have recently had issues where I didn't keep contact on PureStorm.

It's like all things though when working with people is involved, its not easy.

Posted 9 May 2013
PaulManuell
Photographer
PaulManuell
Amber, giving this other model the benefit of the doubt, maybe she just naively told the photographer what you said and who said it as her reasons for cancelling the shoot without thinking of the consequences of naming you. As for the photographer though, the consequences of owing you money in the first place are a cancelled potential shoot. Hopefully the first of many if that's how he operates with everyone and his reputation spreads. Does he dispute he owes you money or knows he does but is just not paying you?

Posted 9 May 2013
jes
Model
jes
How did she know you had worked for him?...unless there was a reference from you on his profile?  Did he tell her?

Posted 9 May 2013
jivago
Photographer
jivago
Amber6

Going to have a little rant here - This happened to me as a model giving a ref about a photographer.  But really, this can happen to photographers/muas/studios too. 

Basically, I'm a big believer in checking references - not just glancing quickly at the refs left on someone's page, but actually doing my own research and contacting people they've worked with.  Sooooo, I practise what I preach and am always very approachable and honest when someone contacts me for a reference on a person.  99% of the time the person the reference is about, was a joy to work with, so that's all I have to say.  However, there has been the odd time I have been asked for a reference on someone who was not so great to work with. 

Recently, this happened and I replied in detail saying that I had had problems with payment from this particular individual (some money which is still outstanding).  The model doing the inquiring thanked me, and I thought that was that - NO, she decides to contact the photographer telling him exactly what was said, and who gave him that reference!  So I've had my ear chewed off in the last few days, and it's even less likely I will see the money I am owed.  C'mon, discretion people!!  That's not how references work, where you go and tattle to someone about what was said.  I stupidly figured the model in question would keep what I said confidential, but she instead, went, 'I can't work with you because Amber West said bad stuff about you!'.  That obviously makes my life difficult, when really I did her a favour. 

So PLEASE, if you seek references off someone, an element of trust must be present and you keep the info to yourself.  If what you hear is not good, all you have to do is say, 'thanks Photographer X, but I've decided no longer to do the shoot'.  You can even elude to the fact you haven't heard positive things, but do not name the individual who told you, for Goodness Sake!
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Maybe there is a danger of falling into the 'bear trap' of 'Groupthink' here?
 
Much as I inititially sided with Amber in this: - Totally NO! - If you represent a person in a certain way – Then you take your responsibility for it!  If what you say is correct, then it should be of no matter at all, that anyone else was contacted and you were identified. It is simply a matter of fact, or a difference of opinion.
 
Surely: - A reference divulged privately, should be as robust as one broadcast on the BBC?  - Can private references be reduced to merely  'gossip' otherwise?
 
(Your interest in recovering monies possibly owed to you, should be discreet from your reference. Until a Court decides in your favor, it  only remains your side of this story.)
 
AND  - If you, with your own free will, give your opinion about someone else - DON'T whine, when you (possibly inconveniently) are identified as the source of that very same opinion. If it is right and impartial, then you just don't care that you were identfied as the source:- No?

The 'Bear-Trap' is that to agree with you - Is to absolve you from the responsibility of an opinion privately divulged - As compared to one given in public and tested in public.



Posted 10 May 2013
Edited by jivago 9 May 2013
Honesty
Model
Honesty

Lol... You know when a photographer or studio you haven't given a reference to because you dont rate them but they recommend you as a reference to a naive looking newbie? Such as if their studio turns out to be a junk room with a bare wall and the shots you receive back make you suspicious that their profile shots arent really their own work? Why on retelling your actual experience honestly (not dangerous but not artistically of any merit) would you get chewed over? That's what happened to me. I hereby advise all photographers not to venture into territory such as "shes shakey... convince her im ok" exactly how many warning bells would that ring for any model?! I never offered my reference publicly does that mean it's not valid in some way? Your damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Posted 10 May 2013
Edited by Honesty 9 May 2013
FocalCapture
Photographer
FocalCapture
I think the risk with "private references" is that there is no right of reply.

If you give a purely factual reference (whether about a model, photographer, studio, MUA) then you should be willing to stand by it publicly. If a reference has to be kept secret then the subject of the reference has no opportunity to refute it or give their side of the story.

If people are willing to leave an open and honest (and factual) reference then it discourages the sort of behaviour that would warrant a bad reference.

Posted 10 May 2013
FocalCapture
I think the risk with "private references" is that there is no right of reply. If you give a purely factual reference (whether about a model, photographer, studio, MUA) then you should be willing to stand by it publicly. If a reference has to be kept secret then the subject of the reference has no opportunity to refute it or give their side of the story. If people are willing to leave an open and honest (and factual) reference then it discourages the sort of behaviour that would warrant a bad reference.
There are all sorts of nasty people you may have worked with that would give you a hard time if you wrote truthfully about a bad shoot. There are plenty of people who have given a false positive reference and it is necessary to check these out for your own safety. Also sometimes when asked for private references you might want to say stuff like "told me there would be a MUA but there wasn't and then was annoyed I didn't bring makeup" "has a big scary dog, don't go if you're allergic or scared". Maybe they were a bit creepy but not that bad, or they told you their wife doesn't know they've taken the day off work and that made you feel uncomfortable and like the "other woman". It's relevant stuff but is not suitable to be written about publically. OP, I've been in a similar situation. A super dodgy photographer got wind that I'd been asking for private refs and was upset I'd found out he was really gross.
Posted 10 May 2013
skymouse
Photographer
skymouse
My rule of thumb is that I regard giving a reference to a single person behind closed doors as equivalent to making the same reference in public. If I'm not happy to make that reference — possibly including allegations of poor behaviour or low quality of work — on a public Forum identifying myself as the source, then I wouldn't give the same reference in private.



Posted 10 May 2013
Blacklion
Photographer
Blacklion
Maybe the best thing to say to the enquiring model is just a simple 'not recommended'. If she went back to the photographer and said 'model x said not recommmended', you could quite rightly air you grievance regarding the non payment if the photogrpher asked what the problem was. Unless the photographer has taken extreme personal liberties, I'd say giving details to the third party was not necessary.

Posted 10 May 2013
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