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I really enjoy being on DA. I enjoy the conversations, the camaraderie, the discussions, and the different opinions we all have about various aspects of art.
My particular chosen field opens me up to a host of reactions from the sublime to the ridiculous. I get comments that are way over the top in how effusive they are and I get comments that take the opposite stance. I have a thick skin and am not at all bothered by someone outright hating my work.
I LIKE to hear different views about lighting, form, line, movement, texture, f-stops, shutter speeds, exposure level, contrast ratios, etc etc etc. While we all like a nice pat on the back, I'm a VERY secure person and even if no one on DA liked or even looked at my images, it wouldn't effect me in the least. I have no investment and make no money here. I do it because I enjoy it. I do it because I want to share what I see, how I see the world, and what I perceive as beautiful.

Recently, though, I have grown completely exhausted with the childish flaming of my models. This past week I sent a note to one such person asking her why she would call someone she didn't know, had never met, and had no idea whatsoever about her life… "a hooker". Another person seemed to think one of my models "should be shot like the dog she is". Another said he wished "she'd get cancer and die…"
I could go on and on listing the vitriolic, hate filled, and mean spirited comments but I won't. When I confronted one guy about his filthy and disturbing comment about "what he'd like to do to…" my model, his response was,"Lighten up Dude… it was just a joke!"
Well… saying hurtful things to people from the chicken shit anonymous safety of a computer screen is NOT a joke. Not only will I NOT lighten up…I am going to get VERY hard lined on this issue.
I am VERY VERY protective of my models. I adore them and guard their comfort in any and every way I can.

As I see it, I have two options.
One: to block all comments.
This doesn't seem like a fair option to all those who want to discuss the things that interest us ALL as artists, so I won't do that.
Two: Adopt a new policy regarding comments.
Here's the deal… from now on, I will not tolerate ANY comment that I think might even VAGUELY hurt my models feelings. I will block the user and hide the comment. NO ONE will get a second chance…DONE. NO ONE will get a chance to "explain" what they "really meant". No one will get a chance to apologize. This is MY gallery so I am judge and jury about what and who stays or goes. Harsh? Maybe, but I'm no longer interested in getting phone calls from models crying asking me if I could hide juvenile nasty comments.

I have a very hard time keeping up with all the comments here and SOOOO wish I could respond to all who enjoy and interact with me and my work. What I WILL ask is for your help. If you see a questionable comment on ANY of my images…PLEASE PLEASE note me and I will take care of it.
I will block the person and hide their comment.

Please feel free to continue to comment and feel free to say you don't like a particular shot. It's OK to say the model isn't your favorite…but comments that involve anything of a personal nature will result in being blocked and comments being hidden. If you have ANY question in your mind about whether or not the comment you are about to make is appropriate…DON'T risk it.
Those who have been my watchers for years now know and understand how I feel about all this. Help me keep the haters away!

All I am saying is, help me spread love and peace.
  • Listening to: the hum of the G5
  • Drinking: Heineken
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcheck-o0tmepancak3s:
Check-o0tmePancak3s Featured By Owner May 24, 2011  Hobbyist
As sad as I am that I won't be able to comment on many of your photos anymore, I appreciate the respect you have for your models. I just wish that this weren't necessary.
Reply
:iconabs-photography:
ABS-photography Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
The majority of my images are on Flickr. I do not have many nude images as the models here in South Africa are mostly from a very conservative and religious background and it is hard to find models who will pose nude. However I do have a few and I follow exactly the same policy with inapropriate and vulgar comments. Poster is banned/blocked.

Do not understand hatefull comments though. Some sad people out there.
Reply
:iconchinacomplex:
Chinacomplex Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011   Photographer
Good idea. You should have done this already a couple of years ago.

Regarding this issue in general:
there is a strong lack of respect for other people in our modern society.

And there seems to be a huge gap between men and women these days and this is also one of the main reasons why there is so much hatred.
I traveled many places and I have never seen a place where men and women are so distant to each other than in the United States.
Reply
:iconaeislugh:
AeisLugh Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011
It is a sad fact of the wired in society we live in that people are just separated from the consequences of the things they say. I've nae had to deal with it here in regards to my own artwork, but I am fairly obscure. I have seen it elsewhere with regards to other things. There are, unfortunately, those that are referred to as Trolls, who only say things deliberately to get a reaction out of people. It's bloody annoying, and I wish there was something we could do to bring consequences more fitting home to roost for those people.

On the other hand, I applaud you for putting your foot down and giving such degenerates the boot. I have followed your work for some time and can say that your models are nothing but stunning, and your photography amazing.
Reply
:iconirenelangholm:
IreneLangholm Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
This should be a News item. Everyone should read it.

Anyway, the way I see it, the people who post such ignorant comments are just attention-hungry cowards with nothing better to do.
Reply
:iconhmerino:
hmerino Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thumbs up, man. I agree with you, and if you have to be a dictator with the comments about your work and your collaboratives, so BE IT.
Good luck!
Reply
:icontnp651:
tnp651 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011  Professional Photographer
Your protectiveness and your obvious love and respect for your models gives the lie to the idea that erotic photography is exploitive of women. What you and your models create together is a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing, and double thanks for not letting ALL our experiences of it be sullied by dirty, narrow minds.
Reply
:iconemotionless13:
emotionless13 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
understandable. all of your models are wonderful and i wouldnt stand for any trash about them. the things people say.... and do, Jeeze i just wish those people would die. i recently shaved my head for st baldricks and people look at me like i have leporacy. i mean if i did have cancer its not like i could give it to them... though some people deserve it, namely abusers and cheaters but i wont go that far as to wish it on them.... i'll be sure to tell you about anything i see Micheal!
Reply
:iconrocco-ruthless:
Rocco-Ruthless Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
Best of luck to you. Hopefully this will help pull some of the weeds. Looking forward to future submissions.
Reply
:iconantonvandort:
antonvandort Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
This seems to happen more and more. I get the idea there is more behind this. DA is a big website and a lot of money is involved here. Could this be competition from DA trying to make the website less populair? Especially for people that post real good stuff like you do?

There should be some kind of mechanism build in DA, where artists can help each other to massively block users with this childish behaviour. You can start by doing this by e.g. starting to post the user names of these vulgair users, a black list. Everybody that want to can block these users by default from their own account.
Reply
:iconcathleentarawhiti:
CathleenTarawhiti Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Professional Photographer
I'm respect you so much because you do respect your models so I agree, no second chances. The morons who make the nasty comments (probably out of jealously or because they're freaks) should be banned straight away. Their loss; they'll just have to miss out on all the beauty you and the models create.
Reply
:iconshady-zaher:
shady-zaher Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
your gallery , your rules .. i'll try to help as much as possible.
Reply
:iconzenakita:
ZenAkita Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011
Michael, we are privileged to call you a member of this community! I still cant believe you have answered me or commented several times back to me. You are an icon and leaders in the industry and in my opinion NO ONE can capture a female body in the magical way you can displaying the true beauty in such a remarkable way.

I hate that you get the flames, but on behalf of all those that know they are lucky to have you and respect you............. THANK YOU for remaining part of our community!
Reply
:iconboot-cheese-3000:
boot-cheese-3000 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011
man it's a VAN DAMME SHAME that we have to remind people that are supposed to be adults on their conduct on a site like this. muthafuckas behave like they don't know the difference between erotica and pornography. it's all the same to them--butt-naked honeys. you would think after being on a site like this they would know the difference much like i did when i 1st joined back in fall/winter semester 2008 but it's clear we aren't dealing with artists, models or photographers--we're dealing with dirtbags.

now that lameSpace has gone bankrupt and is looking for a new owner more and more of these losers have made their way here to do what they can't on mySpace--post nude photos as well as look at some. and man don't EVEN get me started on tumblr, i've seen more nude photographic images from dA posted on there than anywhere else.
Reply
:icondecogoddess:
DecoGoddess Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I feel your pain ! I recently started pulling my more risque images from the DA account. I too am tired of the debasement and the harassment. DA was once a beautiful little art community with the virtues you listed and has since become a hotbed for perverts, haters, and people trolling for free nudie pics.

I agree and have practiced your #2 option but yet the dirtbags keep coming back.

PS LOVE your art, your models and your vision !
Reply
:iconpoetoffate:
PoetOfFate Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
as are your models. Being nude does not automatically make you a pervert/hooker/slut or anything like that, and not all people can see it that way.
Reply
:iconpoetoffate:
PoetOfFate Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
fools will be fools, you work is beautiful.
Reply
:iconmaxandre:
maxandre Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011
I'd have a suggestion to make. Although it is your full right to do whatever you want with your page, I'd propose a 1 chance to explain per user. Why this? Because I've personally encountered numerous situations in the digital world where one says something another would quite simply mistake for something else. Mostly, I believe, due to a low level of mastering of the English language. I usually wouldn't even bother commenting this, but in your case, it is different. A lot of people refer to your journals for spiritual help, your optimism and acceptance of peoples differences being a model we should all follow. It is a quite simple fact that people find here a lot more than art.

It would be, I believe, regrettable for someone to lose that because of a misunderstanding. More than that, I believe it would be hurtful.
Reply
:icondominous-qi:
DoMiNouS-Qi Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011   Writer
I Support This Augmentation As Far As Blocking. Kids Don't Even Speak English These Days, They Speak :iconderrplz:
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:iconshadowynight:
ShadowyNight Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, some people are dipshits, admittedly, but seriously.
You cannot expect to take extremely suggestive photographs of naked models and not have people get either offended or make idiotic comments. It comes with the occupation, I'm afraid. Such is life.
Reply
:iconmilky-nights:
Milky-Nights Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I absolutely agree Pelicanh . . . and as a nude model myself (who fortunately hasn't really received any extremely hateful comments, although I have received some fairly prejudiced ones on the shape of my body and what certain people would like to do to me as well), it's nice to see a photographer stand up for his models.

Also, to those who say models - especially nude ones aren't tough - hell yes we are! Its not easy putting naked pictures of yourself online for the world to see!!! Granted, I enjoy doing it and have no problem with it whatsoever - but it is still bearing myself in a certain way, just as other models do - whether male or female - and they need to be respected for this.

People who make crude "jokes" need to be kicked off DA. I'm a pretty sarcastic, fun loving girl who has quite the potty mouth myself - but I'll be damned if I see brothers and sisters on here segregated and verbally abused.

Pelicanh, you are absolutely right! None of these DA users KNOW these models. They simply should comment on the artistry (or lack thereof if that is what they think) of the photo and the subject - not what they think of the subject personally.

Again - my thanks to you. Keep up the beautiful work!
Reply
:iconmagikinchi:
MagiKinchi Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Professional General Artist
Y'know, its funny, but I was talking about something so similar with my Sister-In-Law, just the other day... and I recall expressing how I see among the rarest things in life how plain old common sense and courtesy ranks in the top tier with a handful of other points... its all too often insane to grasp, how frightening it can be. Seriously.

And I debated that perhaps as we grow wiser with time we become less tolerant to the patters of which we become all too familiar with with people and the trends that come and go... but its just too much that those types of disappointments don't disappoint in their incessant behaviour. ...and its always the few rotten pieces who mess it up for the rest of the party.

I'm afraid I do find myself in agreement with you... but only throw up the air of caution in giving too much power to those ignorant individuals or they would end holding your better judgement and influencing your personality over a lesson they could learn from... however much we know all too well it won't be like that at all.

Have a great weekend & Heiney!
Reply
:iconexquisiteoath:
exquisiteoath Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Student General Artist
Futher to my last comment? IT's a sad fact that this isn't SOP throughout the site. Strikes me that we should never be making any comments that are even questionable in our own minds.
Reply
:iconexquisiteoath:
exquisiteoath Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Student General Artist
My wife's thoughts: Most of them are probably just jealous and insecure about they way they look naked compared to the beautiful women you photograph.

My Thoughts (although this was originally about racism, I think it applies well here too)
[link]
Reply
:iconsilversouls:
silversouls Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011  Professional General Artist
i really love your works
and about troll i have no mercy i ban em all
because their goal is to flame and destroy sites
we say in italy that the mother of idiots is allways pregnant....
have fun and thx for sharing your gorgeous works
Reply
:iconrojobe:
rojobe Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Artist
Bravo! It's a shame there are those that have nothing better to do than taunt others. If I were a better person, I should feel sorry for them and their empty lives, if that's the only way they can communicate and find amusement.

But I don't. I have nothing for distain for them.

Your work is always tasteful and aesthetic. You take pride in your art and that shows in the quality of your pieces. Your models are exquisite and I think the one emotion from them that comes across in almost all your full portraits is one of pride.
Reply
:iconmendicant-b1as:
Mendicant-B1as Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
dont know what to say for fear of the wrath of god lol. i dont really understand why people can speak about anyone that the do not know in the slightest that they should just die. i mean, you would think that if a person had just a little bit of home training, religious or not, that you would know when to shut up and leave if you don't like what you see. Ah well, i am only 16 and have a rather naive perception of the world of art and in general. oh well, i am sorry that your models were hurt even though i don't know them ^^. just found your page too. keep up the great work. I can't wait to see more of your beautiful models
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:iconkajusx:
KajusX Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Sounds good to me! Our web pages aren't democracies. We rule them. If someone doesn't like your page then boot their sorry asses to the curb. 'Get out of my Eden, you turd! You're stinking up the place with your ignorant attitudes!'
Reply
:iconicarus-descending:
Icarus-Descending Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
I think you've taken a very admirable stance. Both you and all your models have all my support, and as strict as it may or may not seem, I think your policy is very fair. For myself, hateful or not, joking or serious, comments and flames can get under anyone's skin. I know firsthand, being an Asian kid growing up in a predominantly non-Asian neighborhood and being a different kind of person from everyone else. Keep on doing what you're doing and don't let any of the haters get you or your models down. You, your photos, and all your models are beautiful. :D
Reply
:iconjadespiritwind8x:
JadeSpiritWind8X Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Student General Artist
Rock on Michael. Rock on Helm's models.
I love you all :heart:

I support you 100%
Reply
:iconcrimzonaeternis:
CrimzonAeternis Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Well said.
Reply
:icon11-7:
11-7 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Unfortunately, the situation you are in makes me feel sorrow that I'm part of this community.
Reply
:iconmczipper:
McZipper Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011   Photographer
I don't see how people can be so mean and close minded. I love your work and I think you are very patient because most people would not have been that far in accepting negative and childish comments. Anyway, I think this change is for the best, hopefully it will discourage some to throw their hatred freely on DA! :)
Reply
:iconamensmagus:
AmensMagus Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Wow, didn't think people would drop comments like THAT :(
Guess I've only been lucky and seen mostly nice comments sofar.
I can only agree with your chosen procedure in regards to how to deal with the mean spirited bastards that somehow find they way into your gallery.
Find them, block them, forget about them and let you, your models and the rest of us enjoy some nice pictures of very cute women :)
Keep up the superb work !
Reply
:iconraging0073:
raging0073 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Well Frankly I am surprise that anyone would speak poorly about your models. I myself do enjoy the creative take you pose your models. For anyone to speak horrible are just jealous and have nothing better to do. Also to joke in that manner about a person someone he or she does not know is just an idiot. I commend your decision to block user with a heavy hand.
Reply
:iconreveur59:
reveur59 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
I am so sad to read that. Your work is one of the most professional and respectful I ever saw. This is art and love of life. Unfortunatly stupidity and hate is well in place on that blue planet. Hoping that the future will be more in touch with your great quality!
Reply
:icondalantech:
dalantech Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I get a different reaction to my work, which usually goes something like this "Wow that's an awesome photo! You must have a really good camera.". One guy recently asked me if I diffuse my flash, and if not then I must have an excellent camera body -as if there's ever been a camera made that can compensate for piss poor light...

I've had the displeasure of reading some of the asinine comments on your work, and you have my condolences. Please continue to shoot and post, and I agree with your decision to block the jealous and mentally challenged.
Reply
:iconthevortex:
TheVortex Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
It is sad it has come to that, but I totally agree. If you can not behave yourself, your speaking rights should be gone.
Reply
:iconm2e-xzotic:
M2e-Xzotic Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
To go beyond the obvious methods you have stated, I have found one thing that cuts about 90% of these trolers out..... Stripping them of the anonymity they hide behind and travel from one artist to another spouting thier garbage! I make it perfectly clear that if you troll me, (or my friends), I post your name on my profile page for ALL to see, copy and block as preemptive measure..... I was told by one kid (16) that the list is harassment, but it seems to me that turnabout IS fair play.... I've been doing this for 8 months and have yet to have admin say a word to me to the contrary..... They can't spout crap with a sock in thier mouth and if enough of us do it, they become speechless!!!!!
Reply
:iconthereminstudio:
ThereminStudio Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Your models are gorgeous, just block away those morons and be happy, the only little silly excuse this people have is probably envy, just brush em off.
Reply
:iconleilani91:
Leilani91 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Your policy is well stated and I totally agree with it 100%!! From what I've seen most people are pretty mature in regards to their comments but I truly don't understand some folks who "troll" or post comments with little thought of how it might affect you and the models in your work. I've done some work in the past and I can't say that words wouldn't hurt. I think this website is far from the trouble I see somewhere like YouTube comments, where thousands of people feel comfortable saying anything they want in the anonymity of their homes, but I wouldn't want to see it go that direction.

Your work is amazing & full of life...I love you & Perry & Bitty. You guys are wonderful. :)
Reply
:iconm-mayhem:
m-mayhem Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Student Photographer
:iconclapplz:

Even though I don't get many comments on my things, I've had to resort to blocking people and deleting comments, as well. I just don't understand why people think because they have a computer and are in the safety of their own home they feel it's okay to be cruel and tear down others that they don't even know. If you don't like what someone does, ignore it. If it doesn't directly affect you/your life, don't worry about it. Don't like the deviation? Don't look at it. It's obviously not the place for your opinion, then. /rant.
Reply
:iconautarch7:
autarch7 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Do what you have to do. I really like your work and you should not have to tolerate fools.
Reply
:iconangelstained:
angelStained Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011   Writer
A good idea's to turn off comments but turn on critique (: But that'd still disallow constructive comments...
Reply
:iconyamahoshi:
Yamahoshi Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
I don't think I'm saying anything that hasn't been said, but I agree with you - as long as you're fair in moderating comments.

There's a difference between critiquing art and critiquing models. It's never okay to say rude things about the women posing for these shots. I think that's where the old adage: "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" comes into play. Everyone has a unique beauty, and insulting them doesn't help anything.

I don't even think there's a need to say things like "this isn't my favorite model" because it isn't constructive. If they want to critically assess the photography, the set-up, the lighting, whatever: that helps you as an artist. Critiquing the models only results in hurt feelings and a reduced chance of these gorgeous women posing again.
Reply
:icontalim67:
talim67 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
It is sad that this issue required at least 3 journals. xoxo
Reply
:iconkmkramer44:
KMKramer44 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Student Artist
I believe that all of your photos are amazing and whoever says bad things about the pictures are just saying mean things because they are insecure about themselves. Even if they don't end the mean sayings there are still all of us others that love your work and hope that you continue to post :D <3
Reply
:iconwahiawa:
Wahiawa Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
I believe the stance you're taking is 100% correct. I've only worked as an assistant so far but that's been enough to learn the importance of maintaining a feeling of security and comfort on a shoot.
I consider your work to be some of the very best I've seen, thank you for sharing it.
Reply
:icontallackn:
tallackn Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
I find it unacceptable that the only option available to you is to spend your time self moderating.

Impose upon the DA admins to give you the ability to nominate your closest followers to moderate for you. That way you can focus upon the more important task of sharing your work with the community who admires it. And from what I have seen of your followers, there are many who are themselves beloved contributors to the community, and more than qualified to help you moderate comments on your work. :)

Come on DA admins! It would not be that hard to give a member the option to permit a follower to moderate comments on his/her work!
Reply
:iconobserver31:
Observer31 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
It's really sad that it has to come to this. Some comments are a bit... unwise as they aren't very constructive (they can be boiled down to "I don't find the model attractive") but the examples you've given are far beyond that.

If I'm allowed to speculate - especially given the fact that the overwhelming majority of models you shoot are *very* attractive - I think this is active trolling. By this I mean people are posting things to rile you and the model ups and laugh at your reaction. They don't really care about what they say. If saying "1 2, 1 2, potato hair" is what it takes to make you (or their target in general) mad, that is what they will say. It's all about triggering an angry/upset reaction.

There is a saying on the web "don't feed the troll". While this tread is a bit feeding the troll, simply blocking hiding is probably constructive in the long term (although in the short term it may trigger *more* of these comments, sadly).
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