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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
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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!
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!
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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!'
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
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%
CrimzonAeternis Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Well said.
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.
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! :)
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 !
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!!!
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.
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. :)
m-mayhem Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Student Photographer

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.
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.
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...
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.
talim67 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
It is sad that this issue required at least 3 journals. xoxo
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
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.
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!
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).
Glitch-Chaos Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Good! I feel everyone on DA should have this rule... maybe then we could drive out the haters!
fvanellekom Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
It is really upsetting that people would talk about the models in the fashion that they do. As you know I don't make my living in this field and this a hobby. I am waiting to take one of your and Perry's classes because I want to learn and create art and learning from two respected artists like yourselves is where I want to be. My wife loves that I respect women, she sees your art here on DA and she stands behind me and in front of my camera supporting my efforts to learn and to be 1/10th of the artist that you and Perry are. It saddens me that we still have such bigotry and disrespectful people on this planet let alone in our neighborhoods. If they don't like it, then why seek it out?

I am happy that you will still allow us to comment and to learn from your wisdom (I love your journal posts) and art. I accept the responsibility to alert you when and if I see someone posting disrespectful comments.
dysfunction Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
As a new photographer I have a hard time bridging the gap of what I'll actually publicly post, outside of my closest friends and family. It's not that I'm worried about critique or insults which are bound to happen, it's more that I don't wish to subject the individuals in my images to the things you've listed. I know it's art, and that it should be shared, enjoyed, and loved by all. There are people though who make it very difficult to want to share these things, models don't deserve the ration of poo they get for being brave enough to stand in front of a camera. I really appreciate you speaking your mind, and many of us I know feel the same way. When I'm ready to display my photography here, I'll certainly be brave enough to back my models like you have.

Thank You!

CynthT Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011   Traditional Artist
Peace :peace: and Love :heart:

Keep up the great work, Micheal. Love you :love:
Lupenzo Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Sorry that it needs to be done, but glad you are doing it. Some folks just feel the need to tear down others to feel slightly better about themselves. Sad but prevalent. The worst thing is they have usually deluded themselves into thinking it somehow makes them "cool" or "funny" or "strong" when in actuality it is an expression of how pathetic they are. Destruction is always easier than creation.
sbourge Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi Michael,

criticizing the art is one thing, but the model is a completely different matter. They're not meat, dogs or whatever else, they're before all people, models also, and often friends; in all cases, we do care for them. Such comments are unacceptable, and so whatever the picture may depict. It is a shame you have to police comments, but unfortunately one cannot count on human nature to get rid of hatred and bigotry. Send my warmest regards to your models.

mjranum Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
I argue with them, but they are infinite and endlessly self-righteous. It does occasionally cross my mind that some day I might actually meet some of these kids in person. 'Cuz I can be pretty ugly.
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Photographer
The thing I find MOST disturbing is that there are no consequences to their actions. This will not serve them well out there in the real world.
mjranum Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011
Until they wind up in Belgrade and accidentally mouth off to a Serbian skinhead. Or they mouth off to their boss and suddenly find out that - in the real world - asses expect to be kissed and the bigger they come, the harder they hit.

I did watch a nerdy aspy kid mouth off to a couple skinheads. Wow. That was messy.
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2011  Professional Photographer
I am a very nonviolent person but that makes me feel better! :)
xJermainax Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Even though there are many idiots on the internet, I was actually shocked that your art gets terrible comments. I think your decision is wise
P4ssion Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
good man, good decision :-)
lucyinthe--sky Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
i actually deviantwatch you because of your jornals. lol i really like the way you write and mostly the things you write about, i look at some images whenever the thumb seems appealing, good lighting, pretty colors, stuff like that, the models don't appeal to me, they do not represent what i feel is a beautiful, natural shaped body of a woman, but they do represent it for some people like yourself, it is your work, your taste, your models, and judging is so not my style, but people are gonna say what people are gonna say, hiding it won't make it go away, when someone agrees to get their image exposed, being it a nude, a complete covered portrait, being it just one part of the face or a silhoute, it does not matter, then they too should have the tough skin to say: hey i did it because i like it i agree with it and the artist and i think its beautiful.

being this a controlled environment i do think you should restrict who is able to follow your work and comment on it. no reason to have ignorance displayed just because there are people who think it is okay to say whatever they wanna say online. unfortunately it makes us wonder that in the real world people don't do it just because they're afraid of physical retalliation. some people have really disgusting minds. its depressing.

it seems that for people to live tranquil they have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, love a certain way, and have certain body parts a certain shape an size otherwise they'll get bullied, and talked about. i have been teased about having boobs (which are not even big but whatever, it seems for some people they are and should get shrunk so i didn't get stupid remarks by old man in the street, or maybe i should just stop wearing anything that has a collar that shows more than the collar bones), i have been called names because of dressing in black (nasty names) and i have been harrassed by family because i had a couple extra pounds. it's everywhere. we should put an end to it wherever we have the power to do so.

kudos for you and your models for keep doing what ya'll love to do! <3
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Photographer
The thing I find MOST disturbing is that there are no consequences to their actions. This will not serve them well out there in the real world.
lucyinthe--sky Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
you are right, in the real world they mostly shut up, get bitter and frustrated cause most people do not think the same way they do, and then go online in the hopes of finding someone else like them that will trash, offend and cause harm to someone else's perfect day at no cost.

have a good happy weekend, while you drink some heineken's, i'll be eating some cheesecake in the sun :D
MarkyB21 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Sounds more than fair to me. Good for you!
ImInUrDreams222 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
I love your work, no mater who the model is, but what I adore even more than that is your voice of opinion both in your journals and to your viewers. I hope this will never get to the point where you are forced to block all comments. I am only one little voice, but it doesn't hurt to you have my utmost respect, especially in how you have handle this as well. To not run away and continue as you always have is... honorable. Thank you for thinking of your viewrs once again.
Chris-Tedlock Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
I totally agree with option #2.

If everyone did that, I think a lot of the trash talk would go away.

Your work is awesome! I wish I had half of your ability!!
deshi001 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Raises a Jameson - Here Here!!! And I will back you up.
cameralikeagun Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I can't believe anyone would even have to audacity to say such things about another human being, especially when they are portrayed in such beautiful artwork. Makes me quite sick.
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