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