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Recently I had the very unfortunate experience of conversing online in a public forum on Facebook with a Mr. Eric Sartoris who is a wedding photographer from Austin Texas and is part of the husband/wife team of Anthology Photography.  Eric is also a part of the International Panel of Wedding Photographers where their home page states, "We are currently inviting photographers from around the world to join this panel.  If you are an award winning photographer who owns your own business, and has a commitment to educating those who are new to the industry, we would love to hear from you.  Please send us an email:"

Well, that's all fine and dandy until you see what Eric thinks of all newcomers, as well as his disdain for Mom's with a camera (MWAC's as he puts it), referring to Jasmine Star and Scarlett Lillian as Drag Queen's, and using extremely vile language towards me in our very public conversation.  I'll include the full sample of our conversation on Facebook and let you be the judge.  He unfortunately represents a portion of our industry that pretends to care and wants to educate, but when you get down to their roots, they show you their true very disturbing colors.

Eric was responding to a video I posted imploring Photographers to start acting in a civil manner with each other.  Especially the way older photographers treat new photographers...

Link to the my video:

Here is the most vile part of his tirade:

Eric Sartoris "Jesus, Jason, you make a lame video about "Don't be a jerk", then you make a fucking douchebag post like this? Get over yourself. YOU are the biggest problem in this industry. You're fired from your hotel bellboy job, and rather than get a job as a barista at Starbucks you decide to "follow your passion" and become a photographer? Lame. Extra-lame is that, once you realize that nobody wants to hire you, the best path for you is to become a self-professed "teacher"?  You aren't fooling anyone except (obviously) the MWACs with even less knowledge than you. You do realize that the only difference between fucktards like you and the rest of the MWAC brigade is that they can actually HAVE babies, right? You deluded, condescending buffoon. STFU and make me a latte. "Back in the day"... idiot. You picked up a camera yesterday, and now YOU'RE the mentor? Look, I don't tell you how to handle luggage at the local Holiday Inn... how 'bout you save your "advice" for something YOU know about?"

The conversation in it's entirety is listed below....

  • Eric Sartoris I stopped halfway through, so maybe there was a "Sixth Sense" twist ending... but without trying to sound like a "jerk", you're wrong. Ignoring the business side of the photography business is foolish. Yes, we need to work on perfecting our craft, but business and industry trends are important to understand. Your Lexus and Michael Jackson analogies are flawed. Our business isn't at all like those: the barriers to entry into the car industry and the singing industry are monumental. On the other hand, any new mommy OR former hotel worker can become a photographer, and even TEACH it.  Sorry.  
  •    Jason Lanier Eric, I never said to ignore the business side of things...I don't know how you got that take away. Maybe you should finish watching things before you comment on them. Clearly I don't ignore the business side of things as I have a very successful workshop and photography business. You shouldn't be threatened that a new Mommy can pick up a camera and enter the market, if you are doing your thing, how does that affect you? It's almost as if photographers are upset that there aren't more barriers to entry. Does that mean that only you and others are able to enter the market? What would have happened if older photographers would have tried to force you out when you started? You shouldn't mock or demean those who are experiencing success, you should emulate them. I never feel threatened by other photographers because I focus on improving myself rather than tearing others down. No matter what industry it is, those who are focused on their own abilities (both technical and business wise) are going to be more successful than those who focus on tearing others down. You should come to one of my workshops and I'll show you what I'm talking about... Like · 4
  •    Jeff Jochum I think you clearly defined the problem, however your solution misses the point, IMHO. Instead of asking pro photogs to Stop Being Jerks so they can get a more real perspective on their positioning, consider taking the positive approach: Start Being Specialists. Newbies and KOTOGs (keepers of the old guard) are often Generalists and can't really be anything more than extensions of their cameras - which anyone can CLAIM to do. However, if instead you tie your skill at a photog to your abilities as a performer, the concept of "competition" disappears. Why? Because anyone can copy what you DO - NO ONE can copy who you ARE.  
  •    Jason Lanier Hey Jeff Jochum, I appreciate your reply. I think you offer some great advice, but for me I was simply addressing the root cause of the issue which is for photographers to start acting in a civil manner. I wasn't in any way trying to present this as a comprehensive solution but rather as a starting point to get to where you want to be. It's like breaking up a fight, before you can correct behavior you have to get the two fighting parties to just calm down....and then you move onto solutions. I think your solutions are great, and eventually my comments would incorporate your solutions and others into my advice as to how photographers can become truly successful. I'm just trying to get photogs to realize that being resentful or nasty to other photographers is truly the lowest common denominator of behavior and if they can stop doing that, they can move onto more substantive solutions for success.
    • Jeff Jochum Totally get that.  As a professional dad, I have discovered its easier to get my kids to pursue an exciting and positive result than it is to get them to simply stop unproductive behavior. I was only suggesting that, if a better world is where we want to live, we need to understand and embrace GREAT as something more than just NOT bad. Thanks for bringing this up, in the first place.  
    •    Jason Lanier Jeff, were saying similar things just in different ways. I'd always implore anyone to strive for greatness, never for mediocrity. This message is meant to be very simple...photographers need to start behaving better and treating their colleagues and newcomers with respect if we are going to thrive as an industry..  
    •    Eric Sartoris Why?    
    •    Jeanine Weinert Murray I loved this! I have been self teaching myself for 2 years and it's been a struggle to learn and get answers to my questions through other photographers. I get ignored, or a vague answer that doesn't answer my question by other photographers. It has been so disheartening. I was like a kid at Christmas when I booked my trip to the WPPI conference. It's like, finally someone is going to be WILLING to help me! Thank you for posting this! 7 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 2
    •    Jason Lanier Jeanine, just read Eric's comments and realize that a lot of photographers (not all) are threatened by newcomers and choose to wallow in negativity and mediocrity rather than acting like professionals. Back in the day all masters would mentor apprentices and as an industry we need to adopt that concept much better if we are going to thrive, not just survive. Even if you choose not to help, at least treat others with respect so others will respect you. Photographers like Eric (at least according to his comments) are precisely the biggest problem we face as an industry. I like to call it the iPod/iPhone phenomenon...there are a million MP3 players on the market and all of them are cheaper than an Apple product, yet the Apple products sell the most....why? Because they are the best. Apple doesn't spend time beating up its competitors in its commercials, it simply tells you how awesome they are. It's an unbelievably simple concept that many don't want to accept because their own product just isn't that good...that's why they are threatened. It's pretty sad, but very true. Misery loves company...look me up when you come to WPPI, I'll show you what a true professional really is..  
    •    Jeanine Weinert Murray Are you teaching a class? How do I find you?    
    •    Jason Lanier Jeanine, just shoot me an email at and I'll give you my contact info. I'm attending the conference and teaching a 2 day workshop that week in Las Vegas like I did last year. It's gonna be a blast!