**I want to start off by saying, to Scott Kelby, after some texting and various instant messages, I am 99% I can make this happen for Alex if needbe. You just let me know**
I won’t repost Scott Kelby’s blog post in its entirety or at all. Nor the followup post or the comments he’s received. You can read all of that here.
So this all has me thinking. Man, photography is a bitter bitter place. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely awesome and I love it. But there is such a dark side to it. And this really rubs me the wrong way. I consider myself to be an aspiring professional commercial portrait/sports photographer. I also shoot media wire for LSU and Louisiana Tech Athletics (the only reason I didn’t offer an LSU pass to Scott is due to the new SEC Media rules, it just wouldn’t happen no matter who I knew). I remember when I started out, just even shooting portraits, how hard this was to get into. Then I started thinking about what I would LOVE to shoot. Well, it’s sports. There are 3 things I love in life, my wife, photography and sports. So I am doing my best to mesh the 3. So I basically started trying to get in, anywhere I could to shoot sports events or people for ads (that’s still a work in progress. Like I said, it ain’t easy). As fate would have it, I got a fulltime job at an ad agency, who had a client that was a local sports tv station. They asked if I would want to go to a New Orleans Hornets game and get some shots for billboards. ”ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” was about the response I gave. That’s when ’snowball effect’ kicked in. I shot one game, posted the images, then I got a call from a small media wire service called Southcreek Global Media. ‘Hey Matt, we saw your Hornets work and wanted to see if you’d be interested in shooting LSU sports for us’. The earth shifted and nothing has been the same. For someone who loves sports and photography, I can never fully explain the feeling the first time I walked out on to the field of Tiger Stadium at LSU, a place that I had worshipped since being a child, and being 10 feet from the game. I will never get used to it. It’s absolutely amazing and I will never get tired of it or stop doing it until I physically just cannot.
So this thing yesterday on Scott Kelby’s blog popped up and one of my photography partner’s in crime, Donald Page, sent me the link to it (the aftermath post that is). I knew of the contest and thought it was awesome. I read about it on Sportsshooter, where apparently all the drama is stemming. **Side note** I’m a memeber of Sportsshooter so they aren’t all bad . When I read the post from Scott congratulating everyone on ruining this guy’s dream, I was instantly outraged. I immediately thought about how hard it was for me to get in and how AMAZING it’s been since. Even after I read the ‘don’t blame FSU post’, I was still pissed. Now don’t get me wrong, sports photography is cut throat and hard work. But I 100% agree with Scott Kelby, this guy being on the sideline will do NOTHING to mess up any other photographer, unless he breaks someone’s gear or stands in front of them. One of the things that stood out to me was ‘it would be dangerous’. Really?! Dangerous? So it’s not dangerous for us, but it is for him? That’s just stupid.
So without hesitation I quickly messaged Donald and we agreed that with our connections at Louisiana Tech, we could get this guy a pass to shoot a game. Easily. You see, if anyone were to offer anyone on Sportsshooter a chance to photograph something as big as FSU football and they had never done it, they may have sacrificed a small animal to do it. And you know you would. I can’t even imagine what Alex thought when Scott called and told him the news. I bet he just sank. I hope that Donald and I do get to help Alex out. I think it would be amazing. I know they’ve gotten some emails from a lot of people, so who knows. But what this comes down to, is doing the right thing and the wrong thing. It’s about being kind as human beings instead of being selfish bastards. There is a chance that this guy now has a horrible taste in his mouth and may never want to shoot sports again. If that’s the case, I advise him to push that aside and still try. It’s the greatest job on earth and you need to taste it.
So this makes me think, I want everyone to do something great this weekend. Whether it be photography or anything else, help someone break through. Offer your services as Jeremy Cowart did this last week. Even Zack Arias is reaching out. I’ve reached out. I have no direct contact with Scott Kelby, so blog posts and emails are the best I can do. But everyone should. Everyone has an ‘Alex’ in their life somewhere. Help them achieve a dream. Don’t be ‘that guy’ like so many sports shooters were to him. That’s horrible. I’ll proudly stand up as a sports photographer and offer my help to him and anyone else that wants it. I’ve been published by Sports Illustrated, ESPN and CBSSportsline…so far. I am not stopping. In fact, I am more motivated than ever now and want to bring as many people with me as I can.
So enjoy your weekend. Make someone happy.