The Frustrations Of Helping Someone Who Won’t Help Himself

Several months ago, a phenomenal photographer I know had mentioned on Facebook that he wished he could afford a particular lens, but that he just wasn’t making enough money at his everyday job. As a sucker for artistic visionaries, I sent him $50 through PayPal with no strings attached. I told him I hoped it could help him buy his lens, but that I didn’t care what he did with the money. I just wanted him to know that his art was important enough to someone to support it.

As I paid attention to his posts for a while, it seemed silly. He was always talking about being broke and wishing he could afford this or that, but was also constantly posting about (expensive) concerts he was attending and wild (expensive) nights at the bar. (Red Flag #1?) But who am I to judge? Maybe he was going through something and trying to figure it out in his own way.

Time went by and he was posting about being in a tough spot with his house, asking people on Facebook if they had any odd jobs he could do for money because he was broke. I saw an obvious opportunity to help him make some money and help myself and my band get some killer photos.

I hired him to shoot one of our shows, but he cancelled because he had double booked the date. (Red Flag #2?) So I offered him another show a different day, which he accepted. His fee was $75, but I gave him $100, because he seemed to need the extra money more than I did at the time. I also bought him drinks at the venue and bought him food after the show. I wanted him to see that he could benefit from being our guy, and that he didn’t have to be broke and miserable all the time. I told him I had a couple more shows I wanted to hire him for, and that I needed some personal photos for my music endorsement relationships as well. I looked forward to working with him, and the relationship would’ve earned him some steady business, not only from us, but from other acts I wanted to recommend him to.

Some time went by and he finally sent us some shots from our show. He had filled up a memory card with photos, but he only sent us eight pictures. They looked great. He said he was still editing the rest of the shots, and that he’d get them to us soon. A week or two went by, and he had posted a heap of photos he had shot at another show that same weekend, but hadn’t sent us any additional images from our performance. (Red Flag #3?) I asked him how they were coming along, and he said he was having trouble editing them because he didn’t have a computer or the Internet. (Red Flag #4?) He said he’d get our photos edited as soon as possible. A few weeks later, I asked him again if he was making any progress, and he made an excuse that he just didn’t get the shots he wanted to get at our show, and that he “was going to offer to shoot another show for free,” even though he never made such an offer, before or since. (Red Flag #5?)

Again, I felt bad for him and valued his time, so I booked him for another paid assignment. The show neared, and once again, he cancelled. (Red Flag #6?)

He never made another attempt to book a show with us, never followed up about the personal shoot I mentioned to him, and never tried to make up for the failure to provide us with more than eight photos from our original booking. I finally gave up. No sense wasting another minute of my time trying to help someone who so diligently snatches failure from the jaws of success.

For $100, I received eight photos and insight into what kind of person I was dealing with. For $12.50 per photo, I’m sure I could hire a much more professional photographer.

It’s been 6 months, and I still need photos.

– J


~ by hamiltonjacobs on November 14, 2015.

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