The Politics of Fashion Photography Part 22 – Do Not Give Up… Your Day Job

WestEast Magazine Benjamin Kanarek Blog Photography Contest

Or a synopsis of the WestEast Magazine Benjamin Kanarek Blog Fashion Beauty Photography Contest

I have had the opportunity and privilege of being allowed to participate on several photography and fashion photography forums over the last few years. The frequency of questions pertaining to surviving in the fashion industry, getting in to the fashion industry, testing models to get in to the fashion industry, meeting with magazine editors in the fashion industry, submitting editorial fashion and beauty spreads to magazines in the fashion industry, etc… Run literally in the thousands.

I have also had the opportunity to host a couple of (what I consider) credible contests to aid those wishing to get in to the fashion industry, by giving them some semblance of a fashion vocabulary.

What have I garnered from all of this? Well several things of course. There have been those that have expressed blind child like enthusiasm and would be wiling to give their kidney away for a chance at the Big Break to others that spew forth  a skepticism and vile disdain for anything that seems to be anything other than commercially motivated as being totally ingenuous.

West East Magazine Benjamin Kanarek Blog Fashion Photography Contest

But one of the characteristics I have noted with utter disappointment, is how little people really wish to do to attain those goals that they say are what they want the most. Give me Fame for Fames Sake is the calling of the moment. Well what do I say to that?  “F… You!!!”. Not on my dime!

Why this rant?  I have been given the opportunity to share something with many that I wish I had received when I was getting started and that is counseling with a prize. I was never given the opportunity to be counseled by a professional about the business and being given the opportunity to be seen in one of the more credible Fashion Magazines in the world.  What I did receive in about 90 percent of the feedback was that vile “F You” attitude of “You are Full of Shit  and I am not buying this contest for one moment…” well again, to those of you in that category, don’t ever waste my PRECIOUS time with vampire like energy tapping stuff that I became so accustomed to over the last few months of this contest. To put it mildly, apathy was in great abundance. However the capacity to critique the contest was incredibly active by many and could have been a contest in it’s own right. Now if only that energy could have been put in to a more positive scenario, this diatribe of mine would not exist or at least not be necessary.

To those of you that did participate, good for you and I hope the process was fun as well as illuminating and perhaps creatively stimulating.

So to those 90 percent plus photographers out their who aspire to be fashion photographers, but do not have the courage to really jump head first in to the proverbial pond, Don’t give up… Your day job. To those 10 percent of you that did, don’t give up, you are worth every drop of precious energy you put in to the process.

So, look out shortly for the winners of the WestEast Magazine Benjamin Kanarek Blog Fashion Beauty Photography contest! This should prove to be very  interesting indeed.

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…
  • Please, Sir, dont listen to those monkeys out there. As I’ve told you before, your blog helps me keep my sanity. Rants or otherwise, I just love love love your “Politics of Fashion Photography” series. My deepest gratitude for sharing critical professional information that either being in school or assisting someone is not available to mere mortals 🙂 Have a lovely day!

    Still waiting for the highly guarded secret from part 18 where Talent is only around 10% of the formula.

  • Daniel Mahoney

    I thoroughly enjoy your work, your insight, and your participation online in various forums and so on. Your work and attitude is a great inspiration to someone like me.


  • Joseph Graf

    @benjaminkanarekblog:disqus No good deed goes unpunished, sir.

    This is a hard lesson that I learned only about ten years ago myself.

    Just brush it aside and go on doing what you have been… there are plenty of us that do appreciate all your hard work.

  • Steve


    It is very tough to help people and more often than not it is thankless on top of that. Most people believe that help means receiving a handout. Despite all that you do, you will never be able to convince them otherwise.

    While I do not possess the desire to move from commercial photography into fashion, I find your posts relevant to all fields and your photography challenges me to think outside of my comfort zone. For that I thank you.

    Keep up the good

    work and focus on the 1% who completes the journey not the 99% who complain about it being too hard.

  • Anthony M.

    Keep up the good work Benjamin! It seems the fashion industry is like high school, people are sometimes very immature. How do you deal with their behaviour? Since I am hoping to make it in the industry and already face lots of drama (I am still at photography school) I have found that the only way to deal with it is not by ‘shooting back’ but by being cold and stoic at all times, ignore them I think, make those that don’t like you feel like they are below you but treat the ones who are kind with kindness and humility!

    Is this the way? Someone saw my portfolio weeks ago and told me it was a “repugnant piece of indescribable snapshots”, I could have nodded and said ‘What can I do to improve myself?’ but did not, I could have insulted the guy but I did not. Instead I stood up grabbed my portfolio let out a brief “Pah..” and walked out the door. The guy is still an asshole but I get the feeling he treats me with more respect now because every time he says something I don’t like I just ignore him and do as if he didn’t exist. Anyway, the guy is a part time teacher who comes in for our fashion course. (Won’t say his name though)

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  • Rosemary Taglialatela

    Ben, I love the idea that you share your time, knowledge and experience with us. Some of us truly appreciate the information shared and take it to heart and put it to work. Speaking for myself, I have learned a lot from you over the years and I believe the information you have shared has made me a better photographer! Thank you 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your kind words of appreciation, it does mean a lot to me Rosemary. I am glad that you can reap some benefits from the information shared on BKBlog.

      • Rosemary Taglialatela

        Ben I am the one who should be thanking you. You were an inspiration back when I was on the Pentax forums and now I read your blog and postings on MM. I do not k now if I did not have your postings and shared info that I would have even tried fashion photography. If any of those 90 some % photographers had half a brain they would see the value of what you are sharing and trying to do here. hm, guess that just makes less competition in the long run, lol