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I’m usually quite  a hot head.  When people cross me I don’t react well.  I assume that everyone is out to get me.  It must have something to do with being brought up in a dirt house or something.  Usually I try to be light hearted and keep out of situations which require resolution skills.  That why I am a wedding photographer.  It makes sense if you stare at it long enough.  Really.

I’m a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA.com).  A juried association of photojournalists who have given up the newspaper lifestyle and moved into photographing weddings.  The WPJA is really just a mode of advertising to me.  Christina had to drag me into putting up the money that it costs to be a member.  Plus we had to build a new website that was specifically their required ratio of photojournalism/posed pictures from a wedding.  I was not a big fan of this from the beginning and was very hard to convince.  Eventually I figured, It was okay and joined.  Traffic from the WPJA has been very slow and in a year and a half of being a member the membership has grown 3-4 times.  We’ve only gotten one wedding from this organization and it was due to the death of another photographer who was in the WPJA.  There was a lot of chatter on the WPJA forums about this photographers death and my wife felt she needed to say something on the forums in the form of a condolence.  I don’t read the stupid forums and rarely read the trivial emails that liter my email box every other day from the WPJA and Christina has always been the person who does any communication with the WPJA.  It’s always been her thing.  My name just happens to be on it.  Well apparently, the people who run WPJA have way too much time on their hands and about two months after the postings emailed this:

Hi Travis,
I’m happy to see that Christina feels at home and comfortable with the WPJA, but I need to request that she does not post in the WPJA.net Forum. While I appreciate her concern for Michelle’s affairs following her death, it could get out of control quickly if more non-members followed in her footsteps.
David Roberts

Now, it was obvious to me that this guy couldn’t give a rats ass about the death of the photographer or that Christina was writing.  He only sees dollar signs.  He sees that my name is what pays the WPJA bill and really want more money because Christina is posting on their forums.  He doesn’t say it, but it’s fairly obvious that is what he is trying to get at.  Christina has seen other photographers with multiple shooters getting wailed on for posting in the forums without being a members.  You see, Christina and I operate our business as a single entity.  We do this business together in all aspects.  We file our taxes together, sleep in the same bad and are both considered parents to our children.  We don’t think of this business being just mine and most other people who we have shot for know this as well.

One of the many useless emails from the WPJA a couple months ago comes to light.  A photographer in California called the WPJA a bad name and the guy who run WPJA sent email out to all of the members saying he was challenging this guy to a shoot-off;  using a camera of course.  I don’t know about you but would you take anyone seriously as a professional if they were publicly saying that they wanted to have a photography dual with someone else.  I get images of a southern gentleman from 150 years ago slapping someone’s face with his glove and demanding that his honor must be satisfied.  I wanted to write the guy at that time and let him know he was acting like a petty little boy but held back.

Well……I couldn’t hold back any longer and I wrote him this back:

The WPJA has begun to disturb me tremendously in it’s petty little obsessions.  I have my email box filled every time some one offends David Roberts, but is there any time spent by the WPJA staff actually doing something useful?  The stupidest thing I have heard form the WPJA this year was, ” Hey Becker, let’s have a shoot off.”  I mean really, are we all 8-year-old little boys with pop-guns??  I’m happy that you are so closely concerned about Michelle’s death that you would scrutinize every post pertaining to it.  Good job.  I’m sure that’s really useful to the membership.  We will no longer be posting in any way on your  forums and at the end of the year will be seriously considering not using the WPJA at all.  Every day the WPJA is looking more and more like a labor union rather than a collection of talented artists.  I’m in this business for myself and purposely chose it to avoid regulation, rules and organizations who have secret handshakes.  Ciao!

Awww…….If you could only read between the lines or see what I wrote and deleted for fear of being blacklisted as a photo Nazi.  I feel that this organization is stupid and the money I pay every year is not for them to bitch at me.  It’s for them to get me clients which they have failed at time and again.  I fired them and will tell every person I know in great detail of how the ‘exclusive’ club of the WPJA is something to stay away from.  Keep your money in your pocket.



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