It seems there are no limitations to what society deems photographable and everything is worthy of a photoshoot.
In an article published on Slate, a reader asked the websites’ Care and Feeding section a question relating to photography. “I want to celebrate my husband’s vasectomy with a photoshoot. Is that insensitive?” The reader wrote about the worries she had of offending people who were unable to conceive. But on the flip side, she felt she should be allowed to celebrate her and her husband’s decision not to have a baby by having a “We’re not expecting” photoshoot. The poor soul – stuck between a rock and a hard place as she unwraps her first world problems. Let’s help her, shall we?
That’s Gotta Hurt!
Let’s take a moment to think of the husband. He’s going under the knife to make his baby makers redundant, and the first thing his wife wants to do is have a camera pointed in his face – ouch! I was unsure how I felt about this. Initially, it got me thinking about all the potential shoots I missed out on. It would have been fantastic to have a “just got my Hemorrhoids removed” urban shoot, or a “where has my foreskin gone?” portrait session. But, I instead went home with heavy pain killers and a rubber ring, opting to binge-watch DVD boxsets instead.
“…people have become so focused on sharing their life with the world.”
This woman’s desire to document what, for her, is an important milestone in her life, is the sign of the times we live in. Everything’s a big occasion and seems to warrant a photograph. Getting dressed and standing in front of a mirror is an occasion. Making a bagel is an occasion. Oh, and let’s not forget the big occasion of “oh my god, my boyfriend’s sleeping” #toocute. So, why in this world where everything is so big and important, wouldn’t someone want a photoshoot to celebrate their decision to not get pregnant?
Private Moments Are a Thing of the Past
Jesting aside, this woman’s desire to have such a shoot is a clear sign of how people have become so focused on sharing their life with the world. More so, her fear of “offending” people highlights how soft we all are. Yes, it’s a real shame that some people who want to have a baby are unable able to do so, but it does not mean the people around them have to stop living the life they want. I find the reader’s request a tad pathetic, but for the most part, I find it funny. However, if she and her tube-tied husband want to have a photoshoot celebrating the bang-average news that they don’t want a child, who is anyone to stop them? Yet this whole situation leads to another question.
Should Photographers Take Such a Gig?
The short answer is yes; if someone offers you the gig, take it. In my opinion, it isn’t the role of the photographer to act as a moral compass. Of course, if you feel someone is the victim of psychological harm, then you have a duty of care to speak up. But if someone just wants an entitled but harmless post-vasectomy shoot, do the job. Then, take the money and treat yourself to something fancy.
“…the fact that society wants to document everything means there are more opportunities for photographers to get work.”
The good news is it’s a great time to be a photographer. Sure, more and more people are getting into photography, and the result of this is a more competitive industry. However, the cream always rises to the top. The fact that society wants to document everything means there are more opportunities for photographers to get work. That’s never a bad thing.
So, lovely Slate reader lady with your post-vasectomy desires, and your husband’s sore testicles, if you ever read this, I hope you did the photoshoot you wanted, and thank you for being so entitled.