Amanda Holloway - the Kitchen Sink Workshop Part II
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
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If you've not read Part I you can find it here.

 

In fairness, a rebuttal was written yesterday. There are two sides to every story, both of which should be heard. If you'd like to read it, you can find it on Amanda Holloway's Kitchen Sink Workshop blog.

 

Our perception is our reality. How we perceive a series of events are molded by life experiences. You and I could have a conversation, but the understanding we both walk away with could be vastly different. Sometimes things are black and white, but quite often it's just shades of gray. I'm only able to tell my story. The reasons I've arrived at particular conclusions based on observations, gut instinct, and similarity of experiences as described by others.

 

Evolution:

Facebook, forums and blog posts have helped me assemble a timeline of events. Seeing them outlined makes me feel like an even bigger fool for being such a staunch supporter of Amanda's talent and work. Photographers do not reach "Rockstar" status overnight. Had I taken off the rose colored glasses and listened to what people were saying, perhaps I would have invested my education dollars more wisely.

  • 08/10  Amanda Holloway Photography is formed
  • 10/10  Attends a workshop held by Tara Staton McGovern
  • 02/11  Attends private 1:1 mentoring with Amii Wroblewski (quite a change in editing style from Old to New)
  • 03/11  1st Kitchen Sink Workshop
  • 05/11  Mentoring Susie Moore
  • 06/11  Mentoring Taj/Steve White
  • 07/11  Mentoring Monique Porter
  • 08/11  My personal mentoring
  • 09/11  2nd Kitchen Sink Workshop
  • 10/11  Mentoring Danielle Raine

"When I was at the mentorship, I expressed to my mentor that I had been asked to teach a small workshop in March and she stated that she was fine with that. I went on to teach that small workshop in March and after teaching it quickly decided that I was not yet in the place to teach. Six months went by before I taught my September workshop after several requests by other photographers to teach and an in depth analysis of where I was and if I was ready to teach. This being 7 months after my mentorship and an entire year after the workshop."

A bit of a half-truth. Amanda taught a workshop in March and was "not yet in the place to teach," yet two months later she's offering 1:1 mentoring sessions? If you look at her work prior to attending her own mentoring, you'll notice a significant improvement in both posing and editing. I think many would credit her mentor. I can see why so many have wondered if her workflow and teaching structure closely emulated that of Tara and Amii.

 

Income:

"Anyone who has ever read my workshop welcome guide knows that I state my average sale as $3,000 (at the time in question) which is the truth.  I’ve decided to be utterly open in this post, so be prepared for some very raw information. The following images are from my books from April & May of 2011. This will not only clear up the “average sales” issues, but also prove that I had more than the stated “two sales sessions using [my] pricing model.” that she stated under her “Mentorship” section of her blog post.  These only include April & May and do not include January, February, or March or the previous months when I was shooting families, newborns and children."

Spreadsheets are easily manipulated and flimsy at best. Her admission below is why I questioned how she could be averaging those numbers at the time she launched her workshop welcome guide (March/April).



 

Apology:

"I want to say how sorry I am for the way I taught during your mentorship. I should have been a lot more attentive of you and taught you as in depth as I had taught my other clients. That very weekend has now taught me a lot and is one of the reasons I am no longer teaching mentorships. I am a big enough girl to admit when I was wrong. And I am a big enough girl to make the changes that need to be made."

THIS. Admission you failed me. Here's the thing...you are providing a service to me. Regardless of any personal issues, you were paid to teach. My perception of our mentoring weekend is you failed to provide 100% service. Your goal should have been to make MY perception match to what you said you'd deliver, but you didn't. Instead of issuing a refund, you composed a rebuttal containing snippets of truth and then had the audacity to insult me with an apology. "As for Lori’s accusations about me knowing she was upset, that could not be further from the truth. She never once expressed any dissatisfaction with her mentorship."  This is the moment I call you a liar. I was quite clear about my feelings. There are two things that EVERY person who knows me can attest to...I am very outspoken and brutally honest. There isn't anyone who would believe I'd lay down and allow your mistreatment.

 

To Future and Prospective Students:

I've already shared this privately...it's worth sharing for all to see. This is how I've responded to concerns from photographers who have already paid for a workshop:

  "I'm sorry it took me so long to come forward with my experience. The last thing I want is for you to not look forward to your workshop. In a group setting there will always be nuggets of information you will gain...whether it be from the teacher or other attendees. That is one of the benefits when you get a group together and brainstorm!

My recommendations:

1. Have a list of questions prepared, with specifics on areas you are struggling with in your business. It's easy to get swept up in the energy of meeting new people and forget you are there to learn. I think often times participants give glowing reviews while they are still high on the excitement. Fun shouldn't be confused with content learned.

2. Don't be afraid to speak up if the information doesn't feel accurate or you aren't understanding it completely. It's okay to put an educator on the spot when done respectfully.

3. Do not allow someone to jump in front of your lens when it's clearly your turn to shoot. Call them out no matter who it is. In every workshop I've ever attended there is always someone who tries to hog the models, they have to be gently managed. Although it's awkward if the hog is the teacher. lol

4. Have fun and go with an open mind. There are still good points. While Amanda didn't take my feedback to heart when we talked, I still have hopes she'll rethink her stubbornness. If she controls her selfish/immature urges and puts her students first, she has the potential to make it a great class.

I believe you'll have fun...I really do. Just keep your list handy and make sure your needs/goals are being met."

Best wishes,

Lori


 

Following the release of my initial review, another photographer has come forward to tell her story. You can read about it here.

Leave a comment:
3 Comments
Darien - Lori,

I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions and experiences but it doesn't seem like you've addressed the fact that you clearly posted positive reviews/comments about your experience with Amanda's workshop on public forums in any of your "reviews". I've seen those comments and I actually saw them before I signed up for and took Amanda's workshop in November when I was doing my research. I think publishing a not-so-positive review is one thing, but you seem to be taking this too far. It's been almost a year since you did your mentorship with Amanda and yet I find very negative and malicious comments from you about the workshop on various photographers pages on Facebook all the time & now here you are posting another "rebuttal". If you are going to post a rebuttal, why not address all of the items Amanda outlined in her rebuttal? OR, why not just let this go? It seems like if you were just wanting to provide a review of a workshop that your first blog post would have been sufficient, this one and your MANY comments on Facebook are just plain malicious. How would you feel if someone was going to this extreme to ruin you? Seriously, just take a minute and think about how you would feel. I also think it is uncalled for to refer to Amanda's workshop attendees as "minions" at multiple opportunities when we are just out there giving our opinions about the workshop (just like you are). Can you not just spend all of this extra time working on your own business? There are many people out there without jobs, without houses, without parents, without their children....much bigger issues than a workshop or friendship that didn't end the way you wanted.

I am not writing this to be mean, I'm only writing this to say that I don't understand your intentions here anymore and that I think you've said enough.
Rhonda - Lori,
Thank you for being the example and mentor for newer photographers like myself. I always appreciate the way you carry yourself, and how you have handled this situation. Your a class act
Rhonda Fenby-Morse
Daniele - Thank you for your honesty and I am glad I am not the only person who has a "bad taste in her mouth" about Amanda. I emailed her around Christmas time last year about putting a down payment for her workshop and then paying the rest 4 weeks later, it took her several months to respond saying that her workshops were full. I'm guessing she waited until her spots were filled with people who could pay the entire amount upfront. I felt she was full of herself and only in it for the money and not the craft even before I read your blog but I didn't feel comfortable saying anything because she seems like the type of person who retaliates. I have since attended another workshop (Zach and Jody Gray) and I am so glad I did. They are truly down to earth and they really want to teach other photogs everything they know. I read Amanda's response to your review and I feel that if she felt that she did the right thing and she feels good about her work then she wouldn't feel the need to publicly defend herself.


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