My Dilemma: Do I Work For a Client With End Times Views and a Possibly Toxic Level of Nuttiness? November 16, 2016

My Dilemma: Do I Work For a Client With End Times Views and a Possibly Toxic Level of Nuttiness?

Help a brother out?

I make my living as a photographer, and weddings are my bread and butter. Yesterday, I got a call from a prospective client who has a somewhat unusual name, making it easy to find her on Facebook. Her page made my skin crawl. Day after day she posts four or five items, every one of which is religiously and politically way over the top.

The least of it is that she believes that Jesus will come back any day now and destroy the world because of America’s creeping “godlessness” (but she still wants wedding photos to treasure in her old age, decades from now). Halloween is dangerous for your soul because it’s Satanic, she warns.

Then it gets more out there.


Hillary Clinton (who I frankly don’t much care for) is alternately “Killary the Evil Witch” or “Hitlery.” People who say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” drive her “nuts.” Transgender people are “threatening our children.” Obama is about to declare martial law. Starbucks is unpatriotic and in league with the devil. If we don’t oppose Muslims, we will all end up in “Islamic State concentration camps.”

A lot of what she posts comes from hoax sites, and occasionally she regurgitates the madness secreted by Alex Jones, of Infowars infamy.

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What makes this stream of nonsense extra remarkable is that almost no one interacts with her. Her posts get a few likes now and again, but 90 percent elicit no response whatsoever. Maybe even her friends and relatives are quietly sick of her?

My position has always been that I can work with anyone for what is, in theory, one day (in practice, it’s more than that on account of consultations, delivery, and after-sales service). On the other hand, though we had a nice enough phone conversation, she strikes me as a hyper-judgmental person whom I may find difficult to get along with. Having an easy rapport with my clients is vital if I am to achieve making the lively, spontaneous-looking portraits that are my stock in trade. If I take her as my client, I might be shortchanging both of us.

And if she is as divorced from reality as she seems on Facebook, can I count on her to understand my contract, take directions, and to leave positive feedback for me after the job is done?

My dilemma is compounded by the fact that I tend to find it unpleasant when another professional turns away a customer based on personal beliefs — as in the case of a baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay couple. Am I the baker in this scenario?

To be clear, not seeing eye to eye on a range of things is fine. As a longtime independent who didn’t vote for either mainstream candidate (again), I’m used to 90% of my friends and 95% of the country not agreeing with me. That’s not the issue. Hell, I’m an atheist and I photograph religious weddings all the time, no problem.

But… this prospective client’s views reek of a nuttiness that I might regret inviting into my life, no matter how briefly we’ll be yoked. It’s not her political/religious opinions, per se, extreme as those are; it’s what they possibly portend about her being a sane/not sane person.

What would you do?

(Image via Shutterstock)

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