I got a phone call from a picture editor working at the French paper Le Monde on Tuesday morning. Out of the blue, the female voice on the other side of the Channel launched an attack at my website, which is really synonymous with a personal attack. “When I click on the commissioned page, there is nothing, it’s blank”, the voice said with a particularly non-engaging tone. I was in front of my computer and replied politely: “Well, it works on mine”. “Portraits! Where are your portraits? I can’t find any”, she went on. I told here the way to get there and got this: “Ah… I see…” with a less and less engaging tone. “C’est un peu figé…”, she adds. Big blank. What am I supposed to answer to this? I still don’t even know the purpose of her phone call. A potential job? Then she talks about taking a picture of a scientist the coming afternoon. “Would you be free?” Oups, she retracts herself very quickly and adds: “But I am not sure… ” I make an attempt: “Where is it?”. “London of course!”… She is so condescending. She ends the painful un-conversation by saying she will keep me updated. She won’t. I can feel it. And I am furious. Who does she think she is? Picking up her phone without having done any research, any home work and having a go at my work. It’s her right not to like my work but for f… sake, what is the point in attacking me and insulting me?
I must say it is not the first time French picture editors piss me off, hence this post. I also must add I am not the only freelancer being treated this way. I hear similar stories too often. I know I have been living on the British side of the Channel for a long time and been used to politeness and good manners which make life easier for everyone. But this post is also about respect. And for someone in such a position in such a paper, it’s deeply appalling to act in such a disrespectful way. Through tags, hashtags and the mystery of retweets and re-blogging, I hope people will recognise that female voice at Le Monde, especially herself!