Tampa modeling photography shootout
issues and scams
Bay Photography Society Association
The Tampa Photography War 2003-2004
“model coach” and his May 2011 shootout
Being invited and intentions.
How lying = scam
pretending to be professional
the “agent”, composition, and posing
with a loaded gun
amateurs and the backlash against them
- TAMPA BAY MODELING - NEXT
A. Passinault, Director of Tampa Bay Modeling
INVITED AND INTENTIONS. HOW LYING=SCAM
I’m almost done with
this article, as I have written most of what I needed to write (and if
you skipped to this, you really owe it to yourself to go
back and read what I’ve written, because it will enhance, and
support, what is coming). So, the following sections will be briefer.
Allow me to continue, as the other shoe is about to drop with Short Bus,
the GWC photographer, and with my interactions with him.
I had been talking to Short Bus, the photographer who was organizing the
shootout event, for several days. So far, so good. He seemed like a genuine
guy with a dream, and a guy working his way into a profession, working
for their dream, was something that I could respect.
Then again, you can really begin to like an idea, even if
it has no foundation in reality.
During our conversations over the phone, the photographer asked me questions.
I gave him some advice on how to work the business, as well as some tactics
that have been proven to work quite well for me over the years. I hoped
that my information would help his career. Now, it really seems like I
was out to hurt the guy’s business, doesn’t it? Actually,
I am genuine, and honest. I really wanted to help, and I gave him good
answers to his questions. I also told him that if he ever wanted to be
taken seriously as a professional photographer, and make money at it by
running a business, that he would have to stop doing so many TFP/ TFCD
shoots with amateur models; he would have to stop working for free, as
he was working his way into a hole, and people knew that he worked for
free. It would take time for him to change the perception that his work
wasn't worth anything because he offered it for free; perceived value
is critical in any service business.
Several times during our conversations, the photographer suggested
that I attend his shootout event. I told him that I would
try. At this point, the suggestions were not sales pitches to get me to
pay to shoot models. They were invitations. I told him that I did not
know if I could make it. He told me that, if I could not make it, that
he’d like to get together and talk about the business over a beer.
I told him that I did not drink, and he laughed, suggesting that we could
sit down and have tea, instead. That was fine.
I thought about it. I had something going on that day, but if it fell
through, then I would make the time to go. I decided that I did not want
any misunderstandings to occur, and that if I proceeded with anything,
that I would be very careful. After all, I was trying to tone the scam-fighting
on Tampa Bay Modeling down, as well as the fighting that I had been doing
in the industry over the years, as most of the time I was stating the
obvious. Besides, this guy seemed alright, and I didn’t have anything
to worry about. Well, so it seemed, at least as far as him seeming to
be ok. Regardless, though, I certainly did not have anything to worry
about, as this guy was certainly not even close to being competition.
Still, I wanted to help, and I wanted to help him avoid mistakes.
I told him that I was concerned about the other photographers
who were paying to attend and to work with the models, and that, if I
were able to attend, that I would not be shooting, and would not be bringing
a camera. I told him that I did not want him to get in any
hot water with any of the photographers. I also told him that
I had a strong portfolio and that I did not need to do a shoot.
I would only attend to network and to check it out. He said that this
was fine, and that he would like for me to attend, if I could. What a
So, the night before the shootout, my plans that I had for the next day
did fall through, and I was available to attend. I talked to him about
it, and he told me that I could attend, and that I could meet some of
the models and consider them for my modeling agency. I told
him that I did not own a modeling agency, and that Tampa
Bay Modeling was a modeling resource site, and that it was not an agency.
I told him that people would know that if they actually read what was
on the site. Although we had already discussed who I was, and what I did,
he said that he would have to go back and read the site. He also asked
me, again, what it was that I did.
I told him that I was a professional photographer who was in business
specializing in modeling portfolio and talent headshot photography. I
told him that my modeling and talent resource sites helped models and
talent in their careers. He replied “That’s what
I do!”. I thought that his response was a bit odd,
as he had already told me that he had yet to make a business out of shooting
models, and that most of the money that he had made was from amateur photographers
paying him to participate with his shootout events (I wondered if he was
back pedaling now, which is an indication that someone is dishonest).
I also knew, from talking to him, and from the answers that he had given
me, that, in my opinion, he was not qualified to coach models
or to train them. So, weird response or not, I humored him
and was polite. I didn’t say anything. If he wanted to think that
what I do is was what he did, and that he was in the game, I would continue
to allow him to think that. I’d leave him alone as long
as he wasn’t out there misrepresenting himself.
After midnight, I was on Facebook, and was doing some Internet work, too.
I was on the phone with Short Bus the photographer. I told him that I
was going to add him as a friend on my Facebook profile.
To my surprise, he was already my friend. I usually accept every friend
request that I get, and it was obvious that he had been on my friends
list for quite some time. I asked him about that, but he was at a loss
as to why he had already been my friend (I do not go around sending friend
requests to photographers unless I know them well, so he had to have sent
me a friend request). I looked at a few models that he was
friends with, and asked him if it was ok to add them as friends. He thanked
me for asking him, and said that it was ok.
As you can see, I was being as careful as possible so that there would
be no misunderstandings. I was being honest, you see, because that’s
how I am.
I told him that I was going to work on the Internet, and on my web sites,
all night, and that I would try to attend his shootout event later that
day. I told him that I would bring along some prints that I had taken
a decade before, straight from the camera, which were in my portfolio
(we had been talking about film cameras, and that, because I got them
correct in-camera, that the prints were portfolio-ready, and did not need
to be adjusted in Photoshop; the proof was in the prints, which were straight
from the roll of negatives). I also told him that I would bring my portfolio
to show him. He told me that he was looking forward to it. Everything
seemed fine. What would you think if this was happening to you?
I spent the night on the Internet, working on web sites, writing, and
talking to friends on Facebook. It rained that night, and I hoped that
it would not rain out the event. The rain, which was heavy with a fierce
storm and lots of lightning, ended before dawn. I wrapped up my web site
work after 10AM that morning, and noted that his shootout event was supposed
to start at noon. Thinking that it was odd that someone would start a
shootout event that late, I was thankful that he was starting his event
late, because I barely had time to make it there before it started. If
it was at dawn, which is when it should have been, I wouldn’t have
made it, and would not have even tried to make it.
So, I went.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Pay attention, people.
Upon arrival, I went to the outdoor tent area behind the hotel where he
had it set up as a studio. There were about six or seven photographers
set up in there, a couple of models, and a make up artist. I had no idea
what the photographer looked like, but he spotted me. He came up to me
and introduced himself, saying “You must be Chris!”.
With about three other people around us to witness what was
being said, I told him that it was difficult to get to the
shootout location because of the roads around Tampa International Airport
being changed around so much, and that it had been a while since I had
been in the area. He said that he should have told me that
the roads had been changed around.
So far, so good. Does it sound like I had not been invited?
It’s when some other people recognized me, and confirmed to the
photographer that I was well-connected in the industry, when things began
to get weird.
A new photographer who had been trying to shoot one of my model friends
knew who I was, because we
had already met when my model friend and I were out at public events (I
also have a video on Youtube where we are walking in downtown Tampa, and
I am telling him about the industry, as well as my experience with the
industry. I pointed out a tall building, Skypoint, and told him about
a shoot that I did at that location before the building had even been
built. If you look at the image to the right, regardless of the copyright
date, it was shot in 2003, when what was to become Skypoint was an old
TECO parking garage; the rusty fencing on the right side of the frame
is the north side of that parking garage. I was shooting models, with
my trademark professional quality, long before these guys knew what a
camera was. Also, Lisa Marie, the model, is holding my photography portfolio,
which is still in mint condition, and which I still use today. Most of
these so-called photographers don't know what a portfolio book is, and
don't bother to invest in them because they are not serious about their
career, and don't want to take the necessary steps that they need to in
order to become professional photographers). He even knew
my name. The photographer who was in charge of the shootout listened to
us talk. The new photographer told me that my model friend would not work
with him, yet, and that she always asked him if he was good enough at
photography, yet, to work with her (She told me that he isn't good enough
to shoot her, and when you consider that she is very experienced, and
is one of the top professional models in the Tampa Bay area, that says
a lot. His "models", in my opinion, are idiots, especially two-month
model with the attitude). He showed me his camera, a digital Rebel, and
some of the shots that he had taken on the camera. One of his model friends,
a new model who told me that she had only been in the business about two
months, sat nearby, and listened, as well. I told the photographer that
his work had some good shots in it, and gave him some pointers on composition.
The new photographer asked me if I knew of any models who he could work
with, as he knew that I was well-connected. I told him that I had tons
of models whom I could refer to him, which was the truth.
I talked to some of the other photographers, too, and looked at their
set-ups. I helped one of the photographers calibrate his set-up. Although
I am not a studio shooter, I noticed some mistakes with some of the studio
set-ups, but kept my mouth shut. I was polite, and merely talked to a
There was one photographer who was there whom I met who was quite impressive.
He was a professional commercial photographer, and after spending some
time talking to him, it was obvious that he knew what he was doing. He
had some top-notch gear, too. Since the photographer was shooting
video of the event, I assumed that the organizer photographer was paying
him to be a consultant and to help out. I later found out that
this was not the case, as the photographer who was organizing the shootout
was too stupid and arrogant to obtain
the help of real professionals, in my opinion.
I went outside of the studio tent, again, where the organizer photographer
was smoking. A model showed up with her mother. They both knew
who I was because the model had been in pageants, and I had judged one
of the pageants that she had competed in. They also knew that
some of my best friends were the top models in the Tampa Bay market. The
model’s mother exclaimed that she was a big fan of my Tampa Bay
Modeling site, and that I had lots of useful information for models on
it. The organizer photographer stood there and listened.
The shoot was about to begin, and I was once again in the studio tent.
I was talking to some people. The organizer photographer came up to me,
in front of the people whom I was talking to, and asked me
if I could go to the front desk of the hotel and ask them to get the leaves
out of the pool, as it was windy outside. I told him that
I could do that, and that it would be no problem.
Halfway to the lobby and the front desk, however, I thought that the request
was strange. It was already known that they would be doing the shoot in
the tent area, and that they did not intend to go outside and shoot around
the pool until later on that afternoon. Surely, with all of the wind,
more leaves would find their way into the pool by then. Why
did he ask me to have the hotel staff remove leaves from the pool hours
before they planned on shooting around it?
Unknown to me at the time, and confirmed to me by several witnesses afterwards,
the organizer photographer gathered the models and the photographers
around while I was doing the errand for him and told them not to talk
to me, and not to accept anything from me. A photographer asked him why,
and the organizer photographer told them it was because I had “invited
myself” to the shootout, and that I was not allowed to do anything
at the event.
At this point, several people had already witnessed activity that indicated
that I had been invited, though, and many of them didn’t buy what
he said. They knew that he was lying. It was obvious that he had invited
me, that he was expecting me, and that, for some reason, that he was now
trying to play it off, and that he was being rude.
Some people told me, afterwards, that the photographer probably was not
expecting me to show up, and that when I did, and several of the people
knew who I was and confirmed my industry experience, that he got really
nervous. In my opinion, he knew that I would be able to figure
out that he was misrepresenting his experience. Several
people confirmed that the organizer photographer was freaking out because
I was there, and that he was afraid of me and my sites. It should be noted,
too, that I did not know any of this as fact,
and only suspected it, when I wrote my earlier article, “Standards
have dropped in the Tampa modeling industry”,
and that after some of the people who attended and who had witnessed
this all read it and contacted me, they confirmed all of the
missing pieces that I did not know about. That’s what
prompted me to not only write this article about Tampa Shootouts, but
to get with other professionals and to begin working on a professional
alternative to whatever this was. Reports on the unprofessional
things that the organizer did also inspired me to take a closer look at
what he was doing. It got worse, too.
Upon returning from the front desk at the hotel lobby, I was once again
in the studio tent area, unaware of the pow-wow that the organizer had
had with the participants about me. The organizer photographer came up
to me and asked that, as a “professional courtesy”,
if I could stay outside of the studio tent once they started shooting.
He said that I could hang out outside, and that they would be out eventually
to shoot outside. Since they were keeping escorts out of the tent, too,
I didn’t have a problem with that, but I did think that it was odd
because it wasn’t a closed set. Although they were shooting high-risk
work, such as glamour and lingerie, which I did not agree with for the
new models who were there, I did not say anything. Usually, such work,
though, would require a closed set, but seriously, all of the photographers
and the models were working on the same set. It was also obvious that,
although I was not shooting, that I was a professional photographer, and
although the organizer was denying it behind my back, that I had been
invited to attend. The request to keep me out of the shoot area did not
make any sense.
Around this time I began to notice that the two-month model, who had previously
talked to me and who had been polite to me, was now giving me an attitude.
In retrospect, I wonder what else had been said about me. Hey, slander
is the new discrimination. It's also not professional, or
So, with nothing else going on, and after driving all that
way to attend, I decided to hang out outside
About this time, I was talking on my cell phone to some models and photographers
whom I was friends with, giving them a play-by-play on what was going
on. I told one of my models that it seemed like a cool event, and that
I wouldn’t have any problem helping any of the photographers if
they wanted it. That’s when my model told me that she
wanted me to be careful, and not to trust them. She then
filled me out on the background of one of the photographers who was there,
and told me that she refused to work with him because he was shady, as
well as amateur. She told me that he had been annoying her with requests
to shoot with him (See, my model friends are smart. They warn me about
things that they are aware of. They are all very aware, too, and Short
Bus is going to find out the hard way that most of the professional models
in the Tampa Bay market are now fully aware of what happened with me and
his shootout, and that he is going to find it very difficult to get any
professional models to help him, now. Word got out. He made a very big
mistake! I did not go to evaluate him and his event, but when he was rude
to me it turned into an evaluation, and he failed it).
Sitting out by the pool talking to the mother of the model who was there,
and some of the photographers, I began to wonder about some things, too.
Professional courtesy? I wondered if the organizer knew the
meaning of the phrase, because inviting me, and then banishing me outside,
seemed hardly professional or courteous. I would not have done that to
him! I would not have talked behind his back, either, and I certainly
would not slander him.
I suspect that the organizer had invited me in an attempt to size me up
and then discredit me, and that he was hoping that, by keeping
me outside, that I would leave. I wasn’t going to leave.
I also wondered if the organizer photographer had invited me hoping that
I would bring a camera and shoot models, so that he could come to me afterwards
and try to get me to pay. I found out that he did that to at least one
photographer who was there, who was invited there to help out and, with
no obligation to pay anything, was later charged, and the photographer
was pissed off about it. When I showed up without a camera, though, any
chance that he had of turning around and try to get money from me was
gone. Some people asked me why I was there without a camera,
and I told them that I didn’t need to have a camera on me, and I
did not need to shoot. I already had a portfolio.
Looking back, though, now with all of the information, it was obvious
that the organizer photographer had been lying to me, and that I had been
misled (especially if he had invited me with the intention of turning
my participation into a paid gig, like he did with other photographers).
This made him a scam, in my opinion.
pretending to be professional.
- TAMPA BAY MODELING - NEXT
- 08/04/11 - 07/30/13/0853
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