You might have seen the fuss over pro photographer Graham Watson. He’d tagged photos of Greg LeMond on his website with the word “fool”. When asked why he did this by a visitor to the website, he compounded the silly mistake with a dig at LeMond. Here’s the exchange on the website:
Just noticed the URL for the LeMond pics has the word “fool” in it instead of his name. Please correct this, not everyone is an Armstrong fan, and I was going to buy several prints from you, but no longer, very disappointed.
Hi Eric, I’ve not noticed that mistake, I’ll have my webmaster look at it. Sorry we cannot appease you, I’m a fan of both guys, they both did a lot for my career, just a shame one cannot keep his mouth shut.. GW
That’s since been deleted from the site but not before it was beamed around the world. Perhaps you have views on LeMond and Armstrong but labelling LeMond as a fool is taking sides in a divisive argument. It went as far as upsetting members of the LeMond family.
Leave Watson Alone
It’s one of those silly things that happen with the internet. A throw-away word that you think nobody notices ends up permanently recorded on a server, the modern day version of being carved in stone. I’ve met Watson a couple of times and he’s struck me as a decent guy and the irony is that his career was launched in large part by selling images of Greg LeMond during the 1980s.
It’s always risky when a journalist or photographer becomes the story instead of their subjects. Given the fuss, a quick apology from Watson here might be in order but he’s only labelled someone a fool, it’s hardly the allegation of the century. Silly and unprofessional but not much more. Just hold your hands up and say sorry, admitting you went too far is a grown-up thing and will put the issue to bed.
Maybe Watson isn’t a reader but this story is a familiar one on the internet and the lesson is always that you can’t duck the issue. “Never apologise” is an old-fashioned strategy that’s hard to use in an age of digital media, networks and forums. This is a story that, for me at least, reveals more about the internet than one photographer.