In Inspiration & Motivation

Hello everyone!

I have been planning to start posting on my blog again for a while now, despite all of the projects my team and I are consumed with right now. Sure, didn’t plan for the first post to be like this, but, well, at least it helps me to start writing again! 🙂

I want to share this in hopes that my little story helps some of you who may feel sensitive to the negativity and bullying on the web. I originally posted it in the Retouching Academy Facebook group, but want it to be visible to those of you who are not in that group as well.

We all know that the internet and especially Social Media platforms are a very negative and toxic place, but when I started my journey in beauty photography and retouching I was not prepared to be personally attacked. I always felt really hurt when my online friends and colleagues sent me screenshots of nasty and bitter comments made about me and my work behind my back.

We are all very vulnerable especially at the beginning of our artistic journey when we are still learning, practicing, making mistakes, searching for our visual style, and training our eye to know what’s good and what needs more work.

If you have ever felt bad about yourself and/or your work because of some sad, bitter person or persons spewing toxicity under your posts, on your social media page, or behind your back, just know that it is NOT about you. People who feel compelled to spread negativity on the web usually just need to belittle others to feel better about themselves.

“You’ll never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you. You’ll always be criticized by someone doing less. Remember that.”

– Denzel Washington

Many years ago when we started Retouching Academy, the only other person who had retouching courses online was Natalia Tafarrel. She must have felt threatened because she took some serious interest in badmouthing me personally and everything I did then – many years ago 2013-2015 – online and in-person to every single masterclass organizer that both she and I were working with around the globe at the time.

Initially, I always felt hurt when I heard about yet another toxic comment about my work and myself coming from Natalia. But over time, when I realized that her hatred towards me didn’t have anything to do with the quality of my work, my skills, my clients, or even me personally, and was just the result of a pit of insecurities, toxicity, jealousy, and fear eating her from the inside, it made it so much easier for me to completely stop caring about her and her negative public posts and comments.

In fact, by the time I realized it, I had already started shooting for my first commercial clients in Los Angeles and my work was being displayed in Sephora, in the US and around the world. I even made this blog post then because the realization was so profound for me: MAKE YOUR HATERS ELEVATE YOUR WORK

The truth was that because of her bullying she made me feel like she was always watching over my shoulder, criticizing and telling everyone that my work was not good enough, I was not good enough, so I kept pushing harder. I shot more, I retouched more, I tried so hard to get better with every single shoot, that I eventually started getting more and more commercial work and my clients kept getting better and better over the years.

The most valuable thing that she gave me was the realization that had I not had my “personal hater”, I would probably still be shooting for my Flickr page or whatever other photography sites are out there today.

Instead, she unknowingly MADE me work on my skills so much harder that now I can proudly share my client list and say “Thank you, Natalia! It’s all thanks to you that I have become good enough to shoot and retouch for these amazing brands!” 🙂

The reason why I am sharing this today is that a friend sent me a screenshot from Natalia’s private Facebook group for retouchers and it looks like Natalia is still hating on me and the entire Retouching Academy team. I could have felt sad that there is still someone who is badmouthing me in my industry, but instead, it reminded me how THANKFUL I am for her hatred and negativity because it had been the fuel that made me a better professional and gain the love and respect of the beauty brands that became my regular clients.

I wanted to share this with you, so you can re-frame your perception if you are experiencing online bullying or someone says hurtful, non-constructive things about your work or yourself on social media. Just remember how my “personal troll” helped me to become a better professional throughout the years and be glad that you got one too! 🙂

Remember, that you are not alone and the more active you are publically the more negativity you may be seeing aimed at you personally, your brand, your products, or your art.

There will always be people who want to feel better about themselves by belittling others. Let them fuel your desire to be a better artist, a better freelancer, a better professional, a better person, a better business owner!

They are really priceless when you think about their role in your personal and professional development this way.

I am sharing a screenshot of Natalia’s recent comment in her private group under a post in which someone asked about the Retouching Academy panels to give you an example of what I had been seeing for many years from this individual.

None of the statements she is making in it are true – we’ve never had any one-year courses, that Conny-guy is in no way “the source” of our panels, in fact, he created his panels after he was fired from Retouching Academy due to the lack of work ethic.

But it also goes to show that trolls don’t always care if they flat-out lie in their public statements, they still get a kick out of it.

Turn their negative energy into the sparks that will fuel your motivation and propel you towards your dreams! 🙂


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