A new site that’s sure to get photographers riled up sprang up last week called “Stop Photospam.” Creative Director Calle Sjoenell from BBH New York is using the site in an attempt to stop photographers and agents from spamming his and his colleagues email. In the first posting on the blog he states:

I have tried everything since I started at Fallon Minneapolis in 2006. I open my new email account and found photographers mailing me without my consent. Since spamming is illegal in Sweden. I got really upset and have tried to fight it ever since. I’ve, been unsubscribing, mailing, even calling them. But the flood continues. I get btw 10-15 every day. This is how we stop it. Join, retweet, spread!

Then on the main page he’s got a list of Art Directors and Creative Directors at major agencies who all claim they will never use a spam photographer and then go on to “declare never to use any of the following spam photographers” with a list that they claim to all be spammers. To add someone to the list it looks like all you have to do is forward the mass marketing email (spam?) and you’re on it.

In theory this list could grow to include most of the working photographers in the world. I’m not sure how Calle and his fellow creatives plan to manage that or even stick to their word of not working with these people. And, of course I know enough people in the business who like receiving these emails that it seems unrealistic that a small group who doesn’t could even put a dent in the traffic.

What’s interesting and hypocritical about this whole thing is that many of the people who say they don’t want emails from photographers are listed in AdBase as wanting them. Craig Duffney, Paul Wagner, Greg Hahn and even Calle himself are listed in the database along with their emails. Why not, before you go getting all huffy online, remove yourself from one of the largest databases that photographers use to reach creatives? Seems stupid to not start there.


If the database owners are to be believed, all the creatives listed have agreed to receive marketing emails, but even if they didn’t or didn’t know they were agreeing to this it’s pretty simple to opt-out of both. I do have some sympathy for Calle and his friends, because there’s a large amount of garbage and irrelevant emails that come in from being on a list. If you don’t have the time or patience to sift through it then you should remove yourself from the marketing databases at Agency Access, AdBase and Workbook and leave the heavy lifting to the Art Buyers and Photo Editors whose job it is to plow through all of this. Additionally for those who aren’t using the main marketing databases to email creatives there is a law in the US that requires all marketing email to have an opt-out option that must be honored (CAN-SPAM Act).

I do believe this signals a change in attitude towards email marketing, from mildly annoyed to outright anger. I’m sure there are plenty of creatives who feel the same way but are not as vocal as Calle. If your list is not targeted you’re likely just pissing someone off.

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  1. I understand how annoying it can be, to be receiving so many of the same e-mails daily, but how are we supposed to get work? I have gotten mostly all of my jobs by e-mail. Maybe photo editors and art buyers need to create a system for photographers to send their portfolio links to one place.

    • @Angela Datre, Artbuyers like well structured and relevant information. ProductionParadise.com offers photographers to feature in their Online Magazines that focus on certain topics. Very eficient for the Artbueyer because he gets a full package of information about what he is interested to look at – all in the same format. Check it out and let me know what you think: http://www.productionparadise.com/photo-spotlights.html

  2. WOW 10-15 emails a day!!
    OMFG, how earth shattering!
    Life stopping!

    Perhaps this gentleman has some type of physical or mental disability that prevents him from clicking the delete button 15 times a day.

    Or maybe he’s just in the wrong business.

    • @Sean876, HAHA!! my thought exactly. Honestly, if he is getting 10 – 15 emails a day from photographers he is probably not running a very successful business. I get 10 – 15 emails a day from wardrobe and hair stylists!

    • @Sean876, Thats what I was thinking. 10-15 emails A DAY? I get more than that before I drink my coffee in the morning.

      • @phil, Exactly. 10-15 is nothing. I get 50 or so a day from various things I subscribed to, and usually end up deleting. Doesn’t take that long to delete.

  3. Stop sending email promos:

    Stop sending physical promos:

    “I prefer email promos, don’t send physical promos”
    – paraphrased comment by Art Buyer in a recent interview I heard.

    “I prefer physical promos, don’t send email promos”
    – paraphrased comment by Art Buyer in a recent interview I read.

    Is it viable to not promote at all not knowing who you’re pissing off? And is it viable to verify every promo you want to send out is going in the format the recipients prefer?

    • @Jeff Singer,

      I love how these people in the business of selling shit (often in the most obnoxious, i mean memorable, way) are offended that other vendors dare attempt to sell them their own shit.

      Neurotic assholes.

      • lol! exactly!

  4. As a former art buyer, I felt it was my job to see all the talent that is out there for the art directors and creative directors. When I create lists for clients, I never include Creative Directors- they only get involved in the process of selecting talent at the very end. This Creative Director is just being a pain in the tush! And I think his idea of a list, is just going to make him look like an idiot. And you wonder why people think Creative Directors are sometimes prima donna’s????

  5. some of the comments on his blog about this:

    1)You were an utter failure at Fallon.
    You are a complete moron at BBH NY.

    2)I’m assuming this is a joke as you work in advertising. Do you understand irony? Here, let me help:


    3)I’m intrigued by all this, and please correct me if I’m wrong?
    So basically these photographers have been sending you images of their work in the hope that you (a) may find them interesting, and (b) may want to use them in one of your campaigns? And you don’t like that, so you “name and shame” them in public and yourmates boycott them?
    So if I wanted you to consider my work, you’d rather me send you a print in the mail (which you’d then have to spend time opening and hjopefully storing somewhere), or I should phone you up and ask if it’s okay if I send you an email with an image? That would take even more time, surely?
    Or have I got it completely wrong? Or, how’s business these days?

    no comment….lol

  6. I totally understand this! I’m not even an editor/publisher/etc and I get about 20 unsolicited photo related emails a day. Sometimes it’s good work, but I don’t have time for that!

    I like to put all my updates in google reader, so that’s where all my bud’s work lives.

  7. Reeks of a publicity power play, and probably not on the best interest of the agency.

    There are obviously many other options to remove oneself from the radar.

    Creating a McCarthyism esq Blacklist is not the classiest move.

  8. he is actually listed on agency access too and his email is there….what i don’t understand is why he doesn’t unsubscribe from these database list before he makes his own list…..???

  9. Hey Calle Sjoenell, since you made this forum public let me just clear the air. My office has reviewed AND contacted directly TODAY with Agency Access and you have NEVER opted out of my emails. We have now gone and accomplished this for YOU!
    In the future please do not half step to me unless you have your facts correct. It saves alot of emabarrassment on your end. Good day.

  10. Does it not take more time to transfer the names from the emails he’s getting to this database then it does to just delete and, if he chooses to, block the addresses?

  11. This guy is an executive creative director?? He has the time to do a blog(on company time probably) and embarrassed BBH NY over this??

  12. As a Creative Director who also receives these emails (presumably because someone signed me up to receive Workbook years ago), I understand Calle’s frustration. I agree that this isn’t necessarily the best way to handle the problem, but at least it’s bringing the issue to light.

    Is it a huge deal to receive 10 – 15 emails that now go straight to my junk folder? No. But I can tell you I never explicitly signed up to receive emails from individual photographers (which may be a CAN-SPAM violation), and *every time* I try to unsubscribe, it hasn’t worked…. which leads to this type of frustration and backlash. Blocking the email address doesn’t work, either because each solicitation seems to come from a different address.

    Photographers who think this is helping their business need to realize this creates a bad first impression and apply some pressure to whomever is doing the sending to improve their systems.

  13. I’m a CD at a large agency in NYC. I receive many emails from photographers, illustrators, reps, etc. Sure, there is an overwhelming amount of these type of emails. Most of time I simply click and drag them to the trash. Some emails are from photographers I respect and have worked with in the past. Just because you (Calle Sjoenell) have a problem with these emails, it doesn’t make it right to oust these people from our creative circle. I find your time spent making a website is wasting time and you’re creating a much bigger problem. . You’re telling the photographers/illustrators they can’t advertise to you but it’s ok for you to create advertising at BBH that you think we WANT to see? ..We should all stop watching any media, take down all design, posters, billboards, etc. not buy the product? just because it interrupted our favorite TV show? If you think the system is broken, then fix it. This boycott is not an effective way to fix it.

    • @Mr.Adman, This is a great point. Someone in the “advertising” business whose job it is to “target” potential buyers for their clients – is terribly upset that people are targeting him as a potential buyer for their product (photography)? Now, if his job was as a neurosurgeon and he was annoyed that people kept hitting him up for photography jobs – then I’d understand. But he is being effectively targeted, so WTF. At least opt out directly to Agency Access and Adbase if it so annoys you to lose 2 minutes deleting *10* emails. Is there anyone who *doesn’t* get more than 10 solicitations per day – intern requests, assistants, stylists, etc.

      • @A Realist or a Cynic, I counted today, 36 so far.

        • @Calle Sjoenell,
          Oh, it sucks to have your job. Change careers, would be my suggestion.
          I apologize profusely for doing my job.

        • @Calle Sjoenell, If every email you got was from a photographer who you wanted to work with, that would be wonderful, Calle. That’s just not the way the world works. I also don’t like seeing ads for products I don’t like – but I’m sure you’ll keep making them. I see a lot of beer ads, yet I don’t like beer. Too bad for me.

          Go ask a pretty girl what it’s like to get hit on while walking down the street. It sucks – unless it’s by someone who she likes and ends up dating. Then it’s a romantic story. So look at it on the bright side, you’re just the pretty girl of the advertising industry.

          Whether you get 36 or 360, I really don’t care. We can all bitch about aspects of our jobs. Oh no, the music industry is changing, any musician could complain. Yes it is, so deal with it or find another industry. I don’t feel sorry that FedEx has lost thousands of dollars from your agency as you’ve started using email more often, and I don’t feel sorry for the inconvenience that marketing emails cost you. Find a way to filter it, get yourself removed from lists when possible, or have an assistant cull your email.

          We all have problems with modern society. I don’t see you offering solutions, just complaining. Create a solution for a problem, or deal with it – “drawing attention” to it is a synonym for complaining.

  14. I find it strange, illogical, and even hypocritical at the outrage over 15 “unsolicited” emails. Do these individuals get angry and call every organization that sends them unsolicited junk mail via the post office!? All those pizza joint coupons and day spa pamphlets wanting you business? Are they calling those companies in an outrage?

    I made the decision a few years ago to use email marketing in an attempt to be a little less wasteful of paper and postage and dare I say it… A little more “green”. Why fill everyone’s mail (postal) box with a bunch of garbage that will fill the landfills when I can send them an email where all they have to do is either click “delete” or “opt out”?

    I’m sure that most of these outraged recipients would be the first to get angry if I wasn’t separating my garbage or let my sprinklers hit the driveway.

    Hey Calle Sjoenell. I think you need to “Check yourself before you wreck yourself!”

  15. I’m sure he’d be a joy to work with on location.
    Oh, and this is the good ol’ US of A…still!

    Some people.

  16. @Andy Anderson, Calle Brother! Just FYI my office has done a little more digging and we have sent you 4 emails in the last 3 years. Sorry for the inconvenience, my bad.

    • @Andy Anderson,
      A smile on my face. Thanks.

  17. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the creatives in this anti-spam group work on campaigns that send out masses of spam email to the general public.

  18. The interesting thing for me is something that seems to be the greater issue that people still can’t seem to wrap their heads around…. There are way too many qualified professional level advertising shooters out there. Which is problematic on both sides of the coin… how is a shooter suppose to get work? And how is a creative suppose to get work done when there are getting hammered by shooters everyday? It’s a tough one.

  19. First, this guy doesn’t have a spam email address? If you’re going to have any email address listed anywhere you probably don’t want to use an address you rely on to do day-to-day business. Creating an alternate address isn’t that difficult. So I’m guessing he’s not winning any prizes for his technical knowledge.

    Second, if he’s only getting 15 emails a day that suggests even spammers don’t give a rats posterior about him.

    Third it seems a little ivory-towerish for a creative director to think you already know all the photographers you need to know.

    It sounds to me like this guy is really trying to draw attention to himself.

  20. Calle Sjoenell and BBH, the fine folks that brought you AXE: Wash your balls and MENTOS.

    Hey Calle, for being such a douche, maybe you should pitch CB Fleet for the Summers Eve account.

    Good grief.

  21. How creative can so-called “creatives” really be if they can’t figure out a way to get to potential clients without resorting to spam?

  22. Is this really about the 10-15 ‘spam’ mails a day, or is it about some photographers having the audacity to think that they’re good enough to approach such an esteemed CD?

  23. If it is true that no publicity is bad publicity, perhaps it’s a marketing coup to end up ON this list?

  24. Well…I kinda agree with Calle. I’ve said it before on APE that I do not send out email blasts. EVER. I feel that that type of marketing is for people who aren’t creative, lazy and just sending stuff out like telemarketers hawking a product that you really don’t want.
    IF you are creative you put money into your portfolio. Find out when the dropoff days are. CREATE ways of getting your work seen. You MAKE contacts with writer who you can team up with to present a package deal to a prospective buyer.
    You RESEARCH your potential client before you contact them.
    This is the kind of old school thinking that works. Not sitting behind your comp at 9 a.m, sending out some “Hi, please have a look at my dynamic and visceral work…” and then patting yourself on the back for a hard day of promoting your work.

    My formula works. I see what’s out there, take a look how I can contribute to a publication, maybe hit up a freelance writer who’s written for the publication. This might not work for ad work, but let’s be honest, if you’re great and you’re out there they WILL find you.

    A quick example that you can use:
    I listen to a music podcast from a newspaper in Britain. One ep. they did a piece about the music from my city. On FB, where I was already a “friend” of one of the writers, I sent her a short DM explaining that I was a listener and a photog and would she like to team up on a story. The photos on my FB page, for the most part, are the same ones on my site ( I have NO personal photos on my FB page other than my profile pic). I knew she would probably check them out on her own so I didn’t include any in the DM. It was just a friendly hello.
    Her publication passed but she put me in touch with her mate who was music editor of a winking London fashion mag.
    He dug the work and offered me a chance to shoot the story I pitched while he wrote it. I got two more big gigs out of this magazine.

    Sorry to be preachy, but you NEED to be creative and not one of the Flickr flock begging for work via generic email. We’re past that now.
    I think if there is a database of photo spammers, it will thin out the herd.

    I’ll now take my 30 pieces of silver and go….

    • @JMG, Hold on there preachy, look at the list of photographers before you start calling anyone names, some of these guys shoot half a million dollar ad campaigns and you are going to give a marketing lecture on how you used Facebook to land a low or none paying editorial gig?

      • @Steven C, first of all, Judgey, it was a WELL paid gig (I understand that a character trait of the North American Forum Troll is not ask before they write). As was my gig with a TV network who I contacted using social media NOT dumping a few shots into an spam email. Second I did read the piece, sorry if I don’t know who “Those” photographers are, but I didn’t comment on who, I commented on the existence of the list which I still stand by. Sorry if the “big guys” were on there, but face it, that’s not the majority of the email blasters is it? I mean, maybe Calle had some personal beef with them. Who knows, who cares.
        I do know that email blasts are a thing of the past regardless of you being a “somebody” …

        • @JMG, I am a Forum Troll now? I work with a few of the photographers on the list, so when I see something this offensive and it effects they way I make a living I am not “Trolling”

          I think what Calle did is destructive to the creative community and he’s trying to put himself above photographers, he needs all of us as much as we need him. As well is it possibly being illegal. Slander is against the law in America and probably sweden too

          As for your story first it was a magazine now it’s TV station? Please don’t unfriend me on facebook.

          • @Steven Currie, Jesus. do you READ? “AS WAS my gig with a TV network who I contacted using social media”
            Ha. I won’t unfriend anyone for something like this. Debate is good. :)

          • @Steven Currie, PS: the troll remark, which upon reflection may have been harsh, was based on your unfounded accusation that the gig I described was for little or unpaid. That was purely Internet takedown BS. Ergo, in my book anyway, a troll like statement.

  25. The other way to look at this is: for professional photographers to ignore, not boycott, this creative director where ever he goes in the future; and BBH agency as long as he is a CD there.

    With a lack of good talent thanks to his actions & comments, his time at this agency will not be long.
    Hard to keep a job when no one wants to work with you.
    This one post will follow him a very long time.
    Guess he didn’t think this one through enough before hitting the submit button.

  26. Maybe we need to create a list of all products these fine people have advertised for and boycott purchase of these products in response: (from http://www.stop-photospam.com/Site/Stop_Photo_Spam.html)

    Calle Sjoenell, ECD, BBH New York
    Mathias Appelblad, ECD, BBDO New York
    Marco Cignini, Group Creative Director, McCann NY
    Craig Duffney, EVP, Design Director, Design Works BBDO
    Lance Parrish, AD, KBSP
    Greg Hahn, ECD, BBDO New York
    Omar Yousif, CD, NBC local Media
    Jon Randazzo, CD, BBH New York
    Scott Rasmussen ACD AD Publicis Seattle
    Colin Kim, ACD, R/GA
    David Cuccinello ACD, David and Goliath
    Todd Slutzky Creative Director, Studiocom
    Rodrigo Maycotte, AD
    Rob Buscher, VP CD, HMG, Los Angeles
    Fredrik Carlstrom, CEO Great Works Americas
    Nick Baine, Senior CW
    Jessica Tune, AD, KBSP
    Pierre Lipton, GCD, AQKA

    You don’t want to see my product, I don’t want to see yours… that makes it for a fair world.

  27. “If you are a photographer on the list and promise to stop spamming, mail me above and you get off the list.
    In a month time, I’ll pick one photographer for a visit to BBH NY to present your book.”

    Looks like spamming does work!

    • @Neil DaCosta, Oh goodie! Someone might get to show their book?! Wow, what a fucking honor! Just pick up the phone and make an apointment to show your book. It takes time and a will to fail, but Jesus H, its not like thes epeople are important, in the grand scheme of things. Its not like you are trying to get an apointment with David Cameron or Obama. These are just assholes who sell soap.

    • @Neil DaCosta, this is of course not aimed at you!

  28. Maybe everyone is getting mad at the wrong people.

    Maybe Calle Sjoenell should be very unhappy with the agencies who are selling lists with his name/e-mail on them, not with the photographers who buy and use the lists.

    Maybe photographers should be very unhappy with these agencies if they are selling them unqualified lists.

    • @c.d.embrey, on the nose.

    • @c.d.embrey, No we are unhappy about people making erroneous statements and NOT using the tools that are available to unsubscribe from emails. Crayon simple…..do your research FIRST before you unload. Calle has NEVER unsubscribed from the 4 EMAILS
      I have sent in 3 YEARS!

    • @c.d.embrey,

      Well, Calle Sjoenell doesn’t qualify what constitutes a spammer. He’s listed on Adbase as accepting emails. Maybe he’s fine with emails that include a proper unsubscribe button. Could be those people on his blacklist won’t allow him to unsubscribe. I imagine there are many photographers out there who email thousands without a way to manage unsubscribing any of the them. Clearly Calle hasn’t thought through making a permanent record of his dislikes on the internet for all to read.

    • @c.d.embrey,

      Well, Calle Sjoenell doesn’t qualify what constitutes a spammer. He’s listed on Adbase as accepting emails. Maybe he’s fine with emails that include a proper unsubscribe button. Could be those people on his blacklist won’t allow him to unsubscribe. I imagine there are many photographers out there who email thousands without a way to manage unsubscribing any of the them. Clearly Calle hasn’t thought through making a permanent record of his dislikes on the internet for all to read.

      • @estaud, The problem is Adbase having it wrong! Why do they say that he accepts e-mails, when it is clear from his response that he doesn’t want e-mail. Maybe they need to modify their qualification practices.

        He should be venting his anger at Adbase for getting it wrong. And you should be asking Adbase why they are selling you wrong info.

        • @c.d.embrey, What’s clear from his response? You’ve made some assumptions about what he means by his blog. He complains about not be able unsubscribe from photographers emails. The people I know using adbase have a working unsubscribe button on the bottom of their emails. Calle never said that Adbase is getting it wrong, that’s your assumption.

          • @estaud, Check post # 33 “Calle Sjoenell wrote:

            To my knowledge our agency have never given adbase or agency access any emails. All agents who believe that they are buying opt-in lists are living a pipe dream.”

    • @c.d.embrey,

  29. I really think that email blasts do not work. Making a personal contact and then sending a hard copy or PERSONALIZED email promo works.

    This guy is tightly wound. No one, and I mean no one, likes him.

  30. Pass the violin when you’re done. We all have to find new ways to get work. It’s getting even more brutal out there. Get used to it, both as a photographer and as a creative.

  31. A business email address is for business. This is the business Mr. Sjoenell is in. He needs to get over it, or get out. I don’t believe in SPAM either, but life is full of inconveniences we’re better off not over-reacting to, or wasting disproportionate amounts of time and energy on.

    I’m sure Mr. Sjoenell has a personal (non-business-related) email account. As long as he’s not getting solicited there, he should be a happy camper.

    Some people are not suited to unsolicited contact. I get that. But they should stick to work that suits them, or perhaps use a human buffer to shield them from the parts they don’t want to deal with.

  32. To my knowledge our agency have never given adbase or agency access any emails. All agents who believe that they are buying opt-in lists are living a pipe dream.

    Im doing this to stir debate and piss spme people off. I counted today and I got 35 spam emails.

    Don’t get me wrong I love photographers and their craft and have plenty who email me that I have a personal relationship with or who’s agent I have met and liked their stuff. That’s great, that is what it should be.

    I just want to fix this because it’s not working for anybody.

    • @Calle Sjoenell,
      Actually we are buying opt-in lists. Your company, BBH, owns and controls the email addresses and BBH has chosen to “opt-in” distribute your company email address to relevant databases. There are a number of agencies who do not opt-in and company emails are not listed in the databases. I am sure that if you had asked anyone of the individuals on your blacklist they would have gladly helped you remove your name from the main database.

      • @T, which leads to the next question for Calle: did he ask his corporate overlords to address the situation with Adbase et al?

    • @Calle Sjoenell, So in your business capacity, you have no interest in seeing work from people you do not know or that isn’t coming from an agent you personally know or have worked with?
      Not all of us have agents, or have had the opportunity to genuflect before you, and judging from your response won’t ….after reading this post, that might not be such a bad thing.

      If this is the case, your clients may be the biggest losers.

  33. On the above unsubscribing. I have tried a few times to unsubribe and spent a few hours oing that for maybe 50 spammers. Do i get off their lists? No I don’t just get more spam, because I have interacted with the email.

    I ust called Adbase to have my name removed. Lets see if that helps.

    I just want photographers and their agents to market themselves so that we all get along and respect each others services and craft.

    • @Calle Sjoenell,

      Here’s a thought Calle.. Ask Rob if you can write an article for A Photo Editor. Ask some friends to contribute. Where do your emails come from? Adbase? Agency Access? Have you tried unsubscribing from either? What percentage of emails do you receive that don’t have an unsubscribe button?

      I don’t get why you’d make a blog blacklisting people in your industry. Calling them “offenders” might be seen as slander by some. The term offender can be construed to mean “someone who is breaking the law”. Slander is illegal in the United States. You and the other creatives on your blog have signed your names with your job titles. You are all slandering these photographers on behalf of your agencies. Did you run the idea of your blog past the legal department at BBH New York? If I were legal at BBH I’d have you fired on the spot. Anyone of those photographers would be right to sue your agency for the implication they are acting illegally.

      • @estaud,
        genius. the best comment so far. BBH got a lawsuit on the their hands?…. is that why the list has been taken down?

      • @estaud,
        Too flippin funny.
        I love that it’s down now.

    • @Calle Sjoenell,

      Just so I’m sure I read that correctly…you have created a public blacklist of photographers whom you describe as ‘offenders’ (libel), you ask others to not give these named people work (restraint of trade)and NOW you are going to request that Adbase remove your details from their database which lists your business title and email address so that you can be contacted? Wouldn’t it have been more intelligent, less provocative and less embarrassing for you personally and for your employers if you had done that first?
      Repeat after me…”Would you like fries with that?”

      • @Patrick Mc D,

        Actually, “offender” is correct. The lists AdBase and Agency Access sell include harvested emails – obviously, nobody requested Calle’s address. Do you seriously think they call every creative at every agency and get them on the phone and then get them to agree to be on their list? At BBH, AdBase only lists 13 people as “opt outs” (while Calle doesn’t even appear in their database at all- I guess his campaign worked).

        Here’s the exact language from the CAN-SPAM act:

        Sec. 3, 1a:
        “(A) the recipient expressly consented to receive the message, either in response to a clear and conspicuous request for such consent or at the recipient’s own initiative;”

        I’ve worked both sides of the industry and can verify that I have NEVER been asked by any list to opt-in, and yet I receive 20+ emails a day from photographers. I previously was an AdBase subscriber (which I used more for having a current list of names at the agencies so I can build REAL relationships with creatives instead of trying to spam them into submission) – with AdBase, I even found my OWN name and agency email address in their system.

        These list services, while useful if you use them respectfully and legally, make false claims about their quality and the legality of their use for spamming.

        • @dude,

          I believe that the term ‘offender’ was targeted at those photographers named and blacklisted by Mr Sjoenell, not at any of the agencies you listed. In my opinion he has behaved like a jerk, your opinion seems very different – good luck to you. I’m confident your opinion would change if you had sent relevant advertising mails to Mr Sjoenell say 4 times in 2 or 3 years and then found your name publicly ‘blacklisted’ by a self appointed arbitrator of what is and isn’t acceptable.
          For dragging the name of his agency through the mud he should be canned from his job. You are defending the indefensible, give it up as a bad job.

  34. When somebody calls out highly-respected,not to mention considerate, people like Andy Anderson or Robert Seale for what amounts to being pushy and rude then common sense tells me something is not right and that we probably are not getting the full story. When I get email I don’t want I simply ask the sender to take me off their list. Seems like there might have been an easier way for Mr. Sjoenell to deal with this, but I suspect he’s got a bug about this and wanted to make a big statement. Mission accomplished Calle, though not very elegantly.

  35. Calle,

    I’m curious, out of the thousands of emailing photographers who probably do abuse people’s inboxes, how did someone like Andy Anderson get on your public blacklist when he’s sent you 4 emails in 3 years?

  36. So Calle, you work in an industry where you get paid big bucks to sell, sell, sell using photographic imagery, but you don’t want to receive an email asking you to review new talent. Ironic does not even begin to cover this mess.

    The ads you put out are received by the public EVERY DAY without our permission. We did not ask for you to solicit us and unfortunately WE cannot unsubscribe to your crap. Ever stop to think about that?

    If you take issue with our attempts to engage you with our work that is your prerogative, but at least offer up a viable solution other than chop, chop blacklist. Your lack of creativity in response to this issue is underwhelming and uninspiring to say the least. Great hire BBH. Meh.

  37. The reality of the day, we have a glut of supply, and less demand for goods and services. I’m tired of having my cerebral environment cluttered with advertising for all these products.

    It pisses me to find my home postal mailbox stuffed with paper solicitations. I’ve removed myself from most of them, but a few die hard companies still persist.

    10-15 emails a day adds up to 200-300 a (20 day) month, and 2400 – 3600 emails a year. I wonder how much coal is burned worldwide to support the electricity used in these E promos.

    • @Bob,
      C’mon Bob really? Me thinks you might find a way to have carbon credits tied into our e-mail promos!

  38. By the way, what kind of “creative” bans Andy Anderson because he sent a couple of unsolicited e-mails? Has Calle checked any awards annuals lately? I don’t know if his name is in there, but Andy’s certainly is.

  39. I’m just curious how these creatives got their first or current job at an ad agency. Does anyone think they might have sent emails to some creative introducing their work. How many emails were sent before they got a CD or senior AD to take a look at their books?

    Don’t be a jerk, it comes with the territory – even when you receive shit promos from photogs incorrectly targeting you. Just opt out!

    (I got my career started as an art buyer so I know what they go through, as a photographer now, I hone in on my potential clients, and yes I still use emailers as an intro)

  40. Dear Calle,

    Your spelling and grammar are pretty atrocious. In addition to hiring photographers to help you do _your job_, you might want to consider hiring a copy editor to help you write your blog comments and other public communications…so you don’t come across as a complete idiot.

    A Button Pusher

    • @photographer, Dear PhoPho bloke, you are naive if you believe that was the real Calle posting those ditties. We have no proof, and even if it was him, look past the grammar. And seek out Duh Reel Tooth.

  41. I just wish I could get AdBase, Agency Access, and Photoshelter to stop sending me their crap. My mistake for being curious about your services…now you want stop f’ing with me. If I want your services I will call you directly.

    • Ironic timing. We just released the results of a new image buyer survey today. In the survey, 500 creatives – designers, art directors, photo buyers, photo editors etc, helped address this very issue in a much more constructive manner.

      They gave us insights about what works and what doesn’t with photographer marketing. We actually asked an open ended question “What’s the best way for a photographer to get your attention?” – 38% of the respondents told us “email”. Of all marketing tactics that were mentioned, this was the most often mentioned method. Another 22% said that any communication form is fine but that photographers need to do a better job ensuring the communication is relevant to them (ie. don’t send food photography to a sports marketing firm).

      You can grab the survey results here (and opt in or out of our email):

      • even in my comments.

        • @Matt, my goodness. Looks like someone needs to teach me how to use the internet. My apologies. I wrote an original reply to you that clearly didn’t take before I posted that, what I thought was a new comment. My reply to you…

          Email me directly anytime at andrew[at]photoshelter.com and I’d be happy to make sure you are removed from our newsletter list. We do take this stuff very seriously and I would certainly prefer not to email people that didn’t want to hear from us. (I run marketing for PhotoShelter.)

  42. Excellent. Now I know who to target in my next campaign!

  43. Calle, dude/douche, I’m not even sure if what you’re talking about qualifies as spam: you are [as hard as it is to believe!] a Creative Director at an advertising agency receiving email promotions from photographers promoting their work…

    Now if you were talking about people sending you emails promoting Viagra or penis enlargements, or the millions of dollars awaiting you in their Nigerian bank accounts, THAT would qualify as spam. But in your case, maybe the penis-related emails wouldn’t even qualify as spam. (Because clearly you are a total d*ck.)

    • @Frank, and frankly dear Frank, you are a friggin’ hothead. You need a good massage or a toke, dear bloke. Chill out.

  44. Apparently in a world of highly creative, tech-savvy, and detail oriented people the UNSUBSCRIBE link is not enough… It’s simple and not that different from other life choices: you either want it or you don’t! But quite frankly, you should be thanking Photographers for going out of their way to put work in front of your face at the convenience of your cubical. If you realized the planning and selecting that goes on for one single promotion (that has a greater chance of never getting to you then getting there) maybe instead of insult their efforts you would quietly UNSUBSCRIBE.

    • @Photog Luver,

      “Apparently in a world of highly creative, tech-savvy, and detail oriented people…”

      Oh, I see you have not worked with many advertisers…

      Many folks in the business are just lovely thoughtful people, but there are a lot of Calle’s out there too.

  45. this guy has a lot of nerve, 10 to 15 emails a day oh my! what a lot of gall to post the names of photographers that they will “never hire”!

  46. as a photographers agent, my photographers and i make our living on a per project basis. the photographers are payed on their fees and the agents are payed a commission. you are guaranteed a paycheck every week, we are not. since most creative/art directors are unwilling to meet face to face and review the portfolios, how are you to find great new upcoming talent, the latest and greatest project they just created from one of your fellow colleagues? how do you expect us to earn a living? if you don’t like receiving the emails, please just opt out. our feelings won’t be hurt, we promise. it’s just a simple click of the mouse. by the way, we just checked, you are still on our list as wanting to receive email promos.

    • @photo-rep, I’m smiling…………………thank you very much

  47. Calle feels so strong about his no hire list that he has taken it down, BBH New York lawyers get ready for the on slaughter of slander suits coming your way and Calle good luck finding a new job WITHOUT using email to contact potential employers.

    Maybe Calle is upset when he gets emails full of great images and his budget only allows him to spend $7 on istockphoto.com

    Rob thanks again for your diligence and brining to light important topics, bravo.

  48. I find it interesting that Calle is so bothered by the very tactics that his entire industry inexhaustibly foists upon the world.

    Calle… please shut up.

  49. Is it just me or has the original site been changed to reflect the conversation above- good job Rob.

    As an Art Buyer it is my job to look at the promotion that comes across my desk but, as any good list seller will tell you- you need to do your research. More shooters are tailoring their lists to reflect their personal contacts and the response they’ve had to previous email blasts (rep Heather Elder has talked about this on her blog recently). The lists are only the first step. In fact I’ve seen lists that show every AD and AB at an agency is unwilling to receive email OR printed promos. I’m assuming steak dinners, on the other hand, will be accepted. This is obviously not at all fair- photographers need to promote. But be smart about it for God’s sake. If I don’t have any car clients, I don’t want to see your car work. Shooters like Andy Anderson on the other hand (hi Andy!) have wide appeal and 4 beautiful image promos in 3 years is really not a burden despite what Calle seems to think.

    • @Heather, I will be in Toronto in September, can I take you to a steak dinner!

      • @Steven Currie, You know it- will Andy be there too?

        • @Heather, I am afraid the blacklisting of Andy has ruined his career and he has been replaced on our project by Ansel Adams (deceased) who is still delivering his portfolios via Burro. In other words he’ll yeah!

  50. Below is a copy of the email I sent to Calle today and his responses back can be found unedited in [ ].

    Thought all might be interested in his responses.

    On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:46 AM, Chipper Hatter wrote:


    I wanted to email you with a few thoughts on your website and drive to stop Photo Spam. First, I should introduce myself. I am a professional photographer, specializing in architecture and interior photography. I’ve owned and operated my own studio successfully for 15+ years and enjoy a national client base. I’ve used a number of marketing tools in 15 years from direct mail, cold calls, email marketing and representation and I will agree with you that the email marketing is actually the least comfortable for me because of personal concerns I have for individuals responding negatively to “another email”. I am very careful about who I send these emails to, only sending to people whom I’ve had some level of communication with, I am not buying a list, although I’ve researched and gathered data on prospective clients through such tools as AdBase and Agency Access. With that said, I would like to ask and make the following points and look forward to your response.

    [You are using email the right way.]

    1. As I understood your website and the list of “spamming” photographers, one “lucky” spammer will enjoy the opportunity to present their portfolio to you:

    “In a month time, I’ll pick one photographer for a visit to BBH NY to present your book.”

    Is this not a dangling carrot or a reward for a photographer whose acts you are condemning? Or have I simply misread or misinterpreted your statement on the portfolio sharing opportunity.

    [Im rewarding the behaviour of stop using spam.]

    2. In reference to tools such as AdBase and Agency Access. If creatives are tired of receiving email marketing, why do they provide email addresses to such publications? Additionally, have you taken up the issue with these resources, asking for their assistance to remedy the problem.

    [Adbase and agency access, just crawl websites. No agency has ever given them their emails.]

    3. Have you or any of the creatives who have added their names to your website ever instructed or acted on a clients behalf and sent out email marketing that could fall into the spam category? Let’s be honest about this, the law allows for such emails as long as an opt-out option is included right? I receive marketing emails from large companies on a regular basis, that I’m confident work with large agencies that are involved and/or directing these email campaigns. So, is it ok for creative agencies to use the tool of email marketing, within the spectrum of the current law, but not photographers contacting the creative agencies? It could be construed as a bit hypocritical and elitist, could it not?

    [No, we dont do email marketing because we respect the user.]

    4. Final point, DECENCY. Call it decency or professionalism, but I believe this is what is truly at the heart of your website. I full hearted agree with you on the need use email marketing in a professional, responsible manner, but decency must also occur in both directions. Hosting a site that can “blackball” a photographer on the basis of a single email, that may be produced and sent by a creative agency he/she has hired, stirs reminders of McCarthyism. Would you have no problem if a photographer targeted creatives by launching a site that photographers could email names to have listed of creatives that are behind in paying invoices or only contact photographers fishing for prices? I hope that you are not naive to think that this doesn’t occur. As the market has slowly improved, myself and many other photographers regularly receive emails with request for pricing from creatives. More often than not, we discover they were doing nothing more than fulfilling a clients request for 3 estimates or fishing for a rate they could use to negotiate against another photographer. Attempts to follow up with these individuals are met with zero response, no return email, no return of phone calls, absolutely nothing. Is it professional or decent? I don’t believe so, but it is the real world.

    [Yes, out any bad behaviour in my book. I do thinking about changing it to the reps who are the ones using these services.]

    In closing, I agree with you that email marketing has gotten out of hand. I disagree with your tactics of placing all responsibility at the foot of photographers and your process of listing photographers in the manner in which you are. As a creative “community” and I believe that community includes art directors, designers, photographers, illustrators, stylist, etc, etc we must work together, not apart, in providing service and products to companies that engage our services. We must communicate with each other in a professional, decent manner.

    [Completely agree. I have great conversations on all fronts with this initiative]

    Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back from you in the future.

    Chipper Hatter

    • @Chipper Hatter, Thanks for sharing. His conversations laughing make me so hard on all fronts.

  51. Okay folks, settle down. surely we’ve all got better things to do?

    I for one, have sympathy for this man and his cronies, who receive ten to fifteen, non-Viagra related emails a day. It’s a gut-wrenching story, to say the least. In this violent and abusive world, surely this man’s tale of woe ranks high?

    Let’s give him and those who think like him what they want. . . . . total silence. No emails, no estimates, no quotes, no treatments, no work. Don’t even pick up the phone if he calls – as if.

    While there may be more photographers than there is work, it’s about time we developed some spine and reminded Art Buyers and Photo Editors that we’re the reason they get a paycheck.

    • @Andrew Ptak, can I get a what what??!

      • @John, not meaning to be cavalier. I really feel like this is the first time it’s been laid out that they are dependent on US in any way. The whole psychology of the industry is of them as the revered, gift ridden, gate keepers…

  52. Wow, the whole construction of the site was changed-real quick! I checked this morning and the blacklist was there, a blog was there, and the list of people involved was there…now just a quick note about what they’re trying to do.

    Guess it was a bad idea to get all high and mighty, eh there Calle?

  53. I’m guessing Calie is a Trust Fund baby and doesn’t understand that some people have to do whatever it takes to scratch out a living! You know what emailing agencies has actually gotten me work before! So Calie I hope your trust fund treats you well! Wah Wah I get 10-15 emails a day, trying getting a real job and tell me how that feels trust fund baby!

  54. @Andy Anderson has only contacted you 4 times in 3 years. I just checked my stats, and according to my records, I’ve only contacted you once (about a week or two ago).

    Like Andy, I’ve also looked into the Agency Access stats and noticed that you’ve never unsubscribed from my emails. It’s easy to click “unsubscribe” – from me alone, or even from the service altogether. I would of course have preferred this method (or even a simple private email) to having my name posted on a “these photographers will never work in this industry again” site. No need to use napalm here.

    Also, for the record, I’ve sent out 2 emails this year, 3 in all of 2010, and three in all of 2009. I would hardly call that the work of a legitimate spammer.

    You see, unlike many of my brethren, I do my own marketing. I do not have a rep. I am very methodical about choosing my clients, though.. You might say I’m a nerd because I like to sit in my office late at night making spreadsheets, looking at agency websites and screening those Agency Access lists to make sure that your agency/company has clients that are relevant to my work. I don’t do a mass click on all 20-30,000 names on a list – I’ve screened my list down to just those that handle relevant advertising (companies that have sports related or sports apparel campaigns), or plausible editorial clients (no food or fashion magazines, etc.). It is a very, very tight list, which is why I get very high open and click through rates and virtually no unsubscribes. Even further – at the agency level, my email list normally only includes art buyers and print producers. I opt to leave CD’s and AD’s out of the mix.

    I spend extra money and use Agency Access because people can opt out of the service altogether – not just my emails, but everyone’s emails.

    So here’s how I think I ended up on your blackball list: I did a special picture for SI a few weeks ago, I prepared my e-card referring to a blog post on how we did the shot, complete with a time lapse video, and I thought to myself: Although this is a gimmicky and unoriginal idea (an MLB baseball player shot from below on plexiglas), it is perhaps cooler than the average portrait someone might get in their email every day – perhaps other agency folks might dig this?…..so, maybe- just….this…… one….. time…… I’ll send it to my targeted ad agency list, but expand the list to other creatives at the relevant agencies (that have sports related clients) for this ONE email and share this special photo with them.

    Well, obviously that was a mistake, right?

    Actually, I got quite a few nice emails back from people on the list – including many that I had never worked with before. It ran on Workbook.com’s blog, Profoto’s blog, and a host of others.

    Calle, my sincere apologies for catching you on the wrong day with my email. Your agency is on my list because, through my research, I’ve determined that Johnnie Walker and Sprite have used sports imagery in the past, and that is the niche I’m targeting. I don’t send emails lightly, nor do I blast them to people I don’t think I have a legitimate shot of working with one day.

    No hard feelings, ok? If you’re ever in Texas, give me a shout. I’ll leave the portfolio at home and I’ll buy you a great plate of BBQ, a Shiner Bock and we’ll have a good laugh about this.

    All the best,

    Robert Seale

    • @Robert Seale, this guy is responding to a small issue that’s part of his job. It’s just amazing that he responded the way he did. There’s yet to be a response from him to the fact that Andy and yourself have sent out ridiculously small amount of “spam”. It’s amazing that he would just randomly “blacklist” photographers who’ve barely even contacted him once a year. What a moron…..

      • @John, I believe wanker is the appropriate term.

        • @john mcd.,
          swedish prick actually. we have all met them

      • @John,

        Did he put that little site together on company time, or did he actually spend his free time doing it?

  55. Well, that was interesting.. I always show up late to the party!

  56. Hhilarious. If he thinks 10-15 emails a day is bad, he should try try becoming a music director. I would receive hundreds of emails, physical cds, IMs and phone calls A DAY.

    It’s part of your gig. man up.

  57. This is just like clebs and the paparazzi.. They bitch and cry about them…but at the end of the day they need us and we need them.

  58. Thanks to the power of the internet, and the way keywording works, “Calle Sjoenell” is now permanently associated with the term “asshole”.

    There ain’t no hate like internet hate.

    • @craig, and you are a bitter man, dear bloke. Get over yourself.

      • @Paul,

        haha ! Couldn’t be farther from it. I love what I do and the people I do it with. Fortunately, none of them have the word ‘asshole’ associated with them.

  59. Maybe as an interactive CD, he didn’t find the emails relevant because interactive creatives don’t usually get involved with hiring photographers (at least that’s been my experience). On the list of creatives who share Calle Sjoenell’s sentiment, a number of them seem to work at digital agencies.

    • @sam, if he can’t bear to open an email, what chance have you got with a CD? After all, that requires putting it into a slot/tray on a computer and actively looking at it while it plays!

      For maximum imapct, I firmly believe that the only way to go is to do the photoshoot in the guy’s office (preferably when he’s in the office). Hope his office is on the ground floor when I try and squeeze that car in next next week…

      • @peterg22, How he handled the situation was very unfortunate but maybe the guy was having a really bad day or lost an account recently, who knows.

        And besides Adbase, I find LinkedIn to be extremely useful. It tells you whether or not the person is open to job inquiries as well as gives you an idea of the kind of work they do.

  60. Stop whining and hire an unpaid intern to read your e-mail. Since you seem to be quite a douche anyway this wouldn’t be out of character for you.

  61. This a very emotional discussion and will come to no solution at all. The key problem is not the promotion itself either digital or as a printed version. It is time to view the situation from a distance: Due to the economical problems jobs a rare and companies are cutting costs. Pressure is rising and many creative or art directors are loosing their creativity. At the same time digital photography makes it easy for many people to become photographers. At at time where many unemployed people are looking for chances. But also photographers have to cut costs as they get less jobs and rates are decreasing. Every business manager knows what to do in this situation: Increase marketing budget. That’s what’s going on today. The key problem is that there is no equal weight between both parties. It’s ironic but it compares somehow to the time where the first unions were founded. So here are some proposals you might think about or discuss:

    – Work together closely (even found a company), share jobs, offer full service, don’t invest in digital, learn and improve to deliver high quality. Many have stopped learning and working on themselves. Be open to criticism of your partners and clients (ask for it). Teamwork is key to success in every business.

    – Opening a high quality alliance: Define a place where a kind of meeting/trade show/exhibition takes place on a regular (weekly) basis. A committee of creatives is responsible for a preselection, invitation and evaluation of agencies, photographers, stylists… under changing criteria. All participants will be rated by the committee e.g. in terms of creativity, pricing, skill level, technical aspects or professionalism. Everyone who reaches a certain level becomes a member of a list for preferred job requests. All new works will also be collected and posted by the committee upon request an on a regular basis (e.g. magazine style?). Every participant who falls under a certain score has two additional chances to become a member. The cost are shared and the committee members are elected by the participants. Members can also loose their status if their work isn’t appropriate anymore – this applies to agencies too.

    – Opening a budget alliance: The system is the same as above described only less expensive. Both alliance should cooperate to prevent upcoming talents to spoil the rates.

    – Offer a “how to” guide on email management macro set up to reduce the amount of spam of the competitors or just offer it as your service :-)

    Any further ideas?

  62. […] A Photo Editor – Creative Director Tries To Bully Photographers Into Not Emailing Him. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Buzz it up Share on Linkedin Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Bookmark in Browser Tell a friend agencies, email, marketing, spam […]

  63. With so many good art directors and writers who respect and desire information from artists this blackball list should make commercial artists thankful. This list defines those who wallow in their own arrogance while trying to put the blush of your success on their own non-deserving cheeks. The galling and laughable fact is that these people work in advertising. When was the last time you heard someone ask to see a broadcast commercial, billboard or print ad who was not presenting an incestuous request from within the advertising community. Wake up! Advertising is and always will be spam. Spam which drives an entire industry, creates an income for many (some of whom actually deserve it), and perpetuates the capitalist ideal our society is based upon. Good advertising, if there is any left please point it out, serves us spam with eggs.
    Since you are so busy creating your own spam let me make it very easy for you. It’s:

  64. i’m still a young nobody photog. and i’m shooting for it, but only the toes know if my work will ever get to mr. calle’s level. will see if moving to nyc next month to swim with the sharks shall help. but if ever i get there, this is someone i would never want to work with. and i hope i never get a chance to look him in the eye and tell him that in person. i’d be embarrassed for him.

    there are two kinds of people in the [office/trenches] world: those who complaint and bitch and opine at and off-the-wrong-tree from the sidelines, and those who roll up their sleeves and get into the field of play to get down and dirty, and take whatever blows come their way with an easy smile and a gentle disposition, come hell or high water, and who by doing so end up making things happen with their team-mates even as they fall on their face and make mistakes each now and then. it’s a tough world for us all right now. so sober up, and get some spine in you, and fix your own limitations and tolerance levels on your own, for god’s sake.

    life 101, always listen to grandma: if you cant take the heat, get out of the kitchen, pal.

    life 102: do your grunt homework before you go shooting off your mouth to make a fool out of yourself. we aint in kansas high school anymore. and have you been watching the news? cliques are so 20th C., the internet is leveling every sacred cow we know. so, get ready cause you guys might be next. and in the blink of an eye.

    what a self-appointed diva, and a diva because a good many of us genuflect to them for a fistful of our true worth. let’s remind ourselves that no amount of dollars is worth one inch of our love and respect for our artform. i know stunning, beautiful, tough divas, and from all sides of the gender gap. it is people like you, mr. calle who give divas a bad name.

    what a waste of our collective energy. and company resources, to boot.

    mind your manners. Rob has better things to share with us in this tough environment than putting out silly-ass fires in our midst.

  65. […] I’ve been forced back to the interweb because of the crazy ruckus, fueled and documented, yesterday on APE. Thanks to Andy Adams (of Flak Photo and fantastic FB page Flak Photo Network fame) who alerted me […]

  66. If you’re looking for some first rate entertainment then I’d highly suggest that you grab a coffee, gather your friends around and take a moment to look up Calle Sjoenell on Facebook. He will not disappoint you.

    Having wiped the tears of laughter from my face I’m left wondering if this is all some clever social marketing gimmick for an upcoming Dana Carvey comeback feature where he parodies a Swede working at a U.S. ad agency?

    About Calle: Tall, curly, laughing, Loves having fun. Love meeting people, likes to try new things

    Calle’s favorite quotation “When the going gets tough the tough goes shopping” -The Pet Shop Boys

    Come on! This must be a put on! It’s too delicious!! Is Tina Fey behind this? It’s got her brilliant finger prints all over it!!

    And what’s this? Over 1600 “friends?” Are you kidding me?? The only person I’ve ever met with FB friends even approaching that number is my tween niece who spends untold hours a day aggressively, desperately trolling for someone, anyone to be her friend.

    The irony/hypocrisy/comedy factor is overwhelming me. Must breath deep, get back to spamming……….

    • @Anjie, I repeat…he seems a complete and total wanker.

  67. Here’s to being young and full of yourself.

  68. This has inspired me to dream up some new promotions that don’t use e-mail. First up, a belly dancer (with my web address written on her belly by the most gifted calligrapher) that will absolutely mesmerize, and then deliver a slap upside the head.

  69. I actully cracked a smile at this. This is just a late april fools joke right? The comments near the end actually broke through the pain eminating from my right leg with a bit of laughter.

    I found mr Calle on FB and you guys are kidding right? If it is all true then I feel for the young man. He should stay away from the social media drugs and seek out some rehab for his additiction.

    I am off to the orthopedic surgeons office. Peace out!

    • @Ed, I have finally had enough energy to ready through all of this and I guess by the time I was able to jump over to the link he had changed the site.

      I cant believe he is complaining about 10-15 emails a day. His actions are very immature he needs to grow up.

      I don’t know many photographers who will waste the time to create spam. I certainly don’t have the time, well I didn’t before shattering my right tibia.

      It seems that reality has set in for Calle and he is definitely going to reap what he has sowed. There is so much speculation that can take place but I think the stress of his position has gotten to him.

      Reminds me of a scene where Jim Carry manipulates his but to speak. : )

    • cool find, Dave.

      say, wonder how many muscles in the brain does it take to delete a few messages a day.


      practice, practice, ehem, practice. that’s all you need. anyone can do it.

      ayyy, poor fella. i bet he needs a drink right about now.

  70. As an Agent I get about twenty myself each day. I try to view the emailed image and then click through if I have the time. I always want to see new work and also what the competition is doing. If I don’t love what I see after view a few images, I click off or delete. What’s the big deal??

    It’s our jobs to view images. Maybe he is in the wrong business.

    • @Norman Maslov, one of the best comments on this thread.

      • @john mcd.,

        That’s because Norman is one of the best agents in the business. I left Martin in 1999 and he was awesome then and still is today. His advice is always valued and current.

        Any type of marketing should be targeted and be viewed by creatives, that is their job. We have to view their ads in so many mediums and we don’t complain.

        As far as lists like Agency Access- I think they are great because back in the day I would get calls from photographers who would see that we won an award for Mercedes or Finlandia and call me and say “I see you won an award for Mercedes, that is a big client, so what other accounts do you have?” Seriously, got it hundreds of times! So these lists are valuable as you can send personal e-mails complimenting them on the work they do- they appreciate that! Shows you have done your research.

  71. BBH still handles Levis I believe. You know how much garbage I get in my email box from Levis each week?

  72. I believe his name was more important then his e-mail address…:(

  73. Over the past few days there has been a lot of talk about photographers sending emails to Creatives. I must apologize for not responding sooner but I honestly did not feel it was about Agency Access nor did I think anyone wanted us to get involved.

    I want to start out by saying that although I understand the frustration Creatives must be feeling by receiving so many promotions from photographers trying to promote their talent, I think they can also understand the frustration that many photographers feel when trying to get the break that may help them put food on the table.

    To read my full response, please visit:

  74. @ Kyle #12 – For the sake of clarification, your receiving Workbook has nothing to do with your receiving e-mails. That is due to your name and address being made available to subscription services. E-mail promos were probably effective for the first six months. If I remember correctly, even though Calle’s name was listed on ADBASE, his e-mail was not disclosed. Even though one would not have to be a brain surgeon to figure out what his e-mail address is, the fact that it was not disclosed should have been a really clear tip to photographers that he didn’t want to be contacted in that manner. These negative sentiments have been brewing for a very long time – something like this was bound to happen.

    In the name of full disclosure, Workbook is the sponsor of some of my events. Even if they weren’t, this needed to be clarified as erroneous information does no one any good.

  75. I would highly recommend all photographers spend additional time finding out who the creatives are and who to contact. Photographers should get a better understanding of who’s doing the assigning – it’s never the editor-in-chief by the way. As a former Art Buyer, I would provide a list of all creatives upon request. For magazines, review the masthead and locate the folks in the art department, focusing on the photo editors. Beyond all of this, make sure your work is appropriate for your target list. My personal preference continues to be promos by US mail, although I always read emails addressed to me with personal notes and one or two images. Obviously we can’t respond to everyone but we do share amongst each other, as well as log in our photo database.

    At the end of the day, our jobs demand we constantly seek out new talent. Email blasts are now part of the game and we all need to adjust.

    • @Zana Woods, well said, thank you!!!

  76. I just have one nagging question… IKEA… yes or no? All those flat packs have really saved me some serious dosh over the years, but I want to show solidarity so can we get a ruling on this?

  77. By the way…. just checked my Agency Access account and while I didn’t find a Calle Sjoenell — there is a Pelle Sjoenell at BBH (Pelle Sjoenell Creative Director pelle.sjoenell@bbh-usa.com) still not unsubscribed, so perhaps he’s trolling for more folks to add to his blacklist… adjust your lists accordingly…

  78. quick followup… it does appear that Calle and Pelle are indeed different people… is “Sjoenell” Swedish for Smith?

      • Mystery solved… thanks.

  79. I hate unsolicited emails just as much as everyone else, but it comes with the territory.

  80. Well, clearly this guys does not understand how the industry works. It’s not SPAM, it’s SELF PROMOTION.

    I’m a producer and get about 50 promo emails a day…it comes with the job.

    As a creative director, isn’t it part of his job/in his best interest to stay familiar with the talent out there?

    What is the point of only receiving e-mails from people whose work you are already familiar with?? The whole point is to discover new talent.

  81. I get adbase emails. Lots of them. I have no need for them – my job does not require me to contact photographers. I’ve never signed up for adbase. I’ve never opted in. That’s how clued-in their database is…

    Yes I can opt out of every single photographers email that is sent to me.
    But that does not remove me from the adbase database.
    Phone calls and emails to adbase also does not remove me.
    I cannot opt out.

    Google “adbase” – many people say the same thing.

    Yes there are more serious things to worry about than spam.
    But that doesn’t make it OK to spam.
    We all have a right not to be spammed.
    It’s annoying – and you know it. Or you work there.

    Adbase sucks. Think about it before you pay them to spam people who have no interest in your work. And also the countless people who wouldn’t use your work because you were annoying enough to think spamming via adbase was OK.

    • @adbase sucks, List you name and we can get you removed. Whenever I get an email from someone who wants to be removed from one of our emails, I forward their name to adbase and they are: Removed!

      • @Norman Maslov, Thanks but that doesn’t work – I’ve tried it – I still receive email, daily. And why would I list my name or email here? I’m looking for more anonymity not more email. If you really want to help you should ask adbase to install an “unsubscribe” (from their entire database) feature that’s readily available on the front page of their website. As it is they don’t answer email or telephone. So they can sell my email so that people can contact me, but I can’t contact them. That’s lame.

        • @Adbase Sucks,

          I do understand. And what a coincidence that you both have similar names ;-)

          If you want to send me a private email, I will send your name to them requesting you be taken off. It might work since I am a customer of theirs. Worth a try. And I wouId not add you to my own list but you can always view my site every Tuesday when we post New Releases ®



          • @Norman Maslov,
            Thanks – I truly appreciate the offer. However I have had numerous photographers email my name/contact info to adbase and nothing happened.
            Plus, this isn’t just about me. Many other people have the same issue.
            Since you’re in business with adbase why not ask them why they don’t make it easier to unsubscribe from their entire database? I understand being too busy to answer the phone and not wanting to field calls from unwanted callers (-; But a database-wide unsubscribe/opt-out button on their homepage would do it. Hopefully, as you suggest, they might listen to one of their customers.
            Please post any response if you hear from them, thanks.

            • @Adbase Sucks,

              I just wrote to them. When I get a reply I will post it.
              Thanks AS

            • @Adbase Sucks,

              Here you go:

              Hi Norman,

              We very much appreciate your assistance in this matter. Please let this person know that they can send an email directly to support@adbase.com and we will take immediate action as per the CAN SPAM Act.

              Thank you,

              ADBASE Support Team


              I have a someone who wants to be removed from adbase. Apparently he has tried unsuccessfully several times through other photographers. How can he achieve this? I would love to forward him your reply so he can contact you directly to make this happen.

              These requests should be dealt with seriously in order for the subscription model work work effectively.

              I thank you in advance for your help.

              Norman Maslov

              • @Norman Maslov,

                See my comment above – AdBase and AgencyAccess are trash.

                I’ve worked both sides of the industry and can verify that I have NEVER been asked by any list to opt-in, and yet I receive 20+ emails a day from photographers.

                I previously was an AdBase subscriber (which I used more for having a current list of names at the agencies so I can build REAL relationships with creatives instead of trying to spam them into submission) – with AdBase, I even found my OWN name and agency email address in their system.

                The fact is, they use harvested emails.

                Here’s the exact language from the CAN-SPAM act:
                Sec. 3, 1a:
                “(A) the recipient expressly consented to receive the message, either in response to a clear and conspicuous request for such consent or at the recipient’s own initiative;”

                They’ve never asked me to opt-in, yet I’m in their system with my agency address.

                When I was a subscriber (prior to being put on their list), I was told that their list is “100% OK to use for email marketing, whether it’s with [their] system or an outside email service”.

                The real issue here is, why not just build *real* relationships with people you want to work with instead of filling their inbox with trash?

  82. I always respect someone’s desire not to receive my promos and have made sure my list company is notified when someone doesn’t want to be contacted — but let’s keep this whole tempest in a teapot in perspective.

    This harrumphing and stamping of feet over unsolicited email promos is getting just a bit precious. Photographers get slammed for sending print pieces — “you’re ruining the environment,” “I don’t have TIME to look at all those postcards, they just go straight in the trash.” Now email promos apparently have some sort of mesmerizing effect that chains creatives to their screens, disabling their clicky finger all in an effort to maliciously suck away valuable creative hours from their day.

    Most email programs have simple “rules” preferences for filtering — if you plug in one that directs anything with or from “adbase” to the bin or a designated folder you should solve this apparently devastating flood – takes about three seconds to set up.

    And to the suggestion that we’re only supposed to contact people with whom we’ve had previous personal contact? Really? At a time when creatives don’t have time to delete an email, photographers are supposed to call, arrange an appointment, personally meet and greet every single person we might fleetingly hope to get a future job from in hopes of securing 20 or so minutes of their titanium-priced time to show our books? If you ask me, seems like emails are doing everyone a big fat favor.

  83. Oh come on, where’s the love baby! I need you, you need me……….I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect……..let’s turn up the music and dance, just dance baby.

  84. Hey BBH NY, hire me! As CD I’d not only shame publicly anyone who sends unsolicited e-mail – including Adobe, Advertising Age and the sandwich shop down the road – but also any phone caller before noon.

    Oh well, guess somewhere in Sweden a village is missing its idiot….

  85. I wonder, did Mr Sjoenell at any time actually say how photographers should get their work in front of the correct people at BBH or who those people might be?
    Correct targeting of agencies and creatives is a great idea, but in practice, very difficult. Agency websites are frequently useless, often showing work from their European or South American offices and have very truncated or out of date client lists. Often you’ll find they no longer work with the companies listed on their sites and they don’t list the many smaller clients they work with, who, as a new photographer (unless you are reasonably well established) you’ll often do your first shoot for. I was actually in a portfolio show with an agency recently and mentioned that my work would be a great fit with one of their clients, whose poster was hanging directly over the Art Buyers head. He told me, in a big huff as if I should know, that they no longer work with that agency. If they’re still listed on the agencies site and they have the poster hanging up, how am I as a photographer supposed to know all the agencies client comings and goings?? I think part of the issue is that agencies are incredibly insular and self obsessed and a large number of, especially younger, creatives don’t understand that photographers are very small businesses with minimal staff. Much as I would love to spend all of my waking work hours researching contacts, I actually need to create photographs at some time……

    • @Nick B, I agree Nick. There’s lots of talk about targeting lately, however like you have experienced, in practice it’s extremely difficult to execute properly.
      The other issue is that assignments often come from the most unexpected of clients.

  86. asshole.

  87. He is a rude, arrogant ass. I hate him, will not forget his name or thoughts. Thank God Axe body spray has someone looking out for their interests. If it weren’t for dicks like this our teenage sons would have no ways to spend our money and objectify women. Kudos ass, well-played.

  88. what’s hypocritical or at least ironic about it, is that they work in advertising.

  89. You’re either out there looking for new talent or you’re preparing to become extinct as a business entity. “It’s who you know” is not a business model that will continue to work nor one behind which anyone should be hiding.

  90. Concentrating on the problem doesn’t solve anything but create more rift. It would be much more productive to concentrate on solutions. Instead of creating so-called blacklists, one can come up with a positive solution that benefits all parties.

  91. I find it hard to believe that this is even real. An advertising Creative Director complaining about advertising that is relevant and important to his job, and directed to him. You know, he just might see the perfect photographer for his next campaign if he took the time to open those 10-15 emails. Personally, I receive more than that every day from photographers seeking representation, and I make a point of opening every one and responding. But the irony here is deep. A man in advertising complaining about sincere and legitimate advertising to him. He finds advertising annoying and he’s going to blacklist us? Should his agency be blacklisted for advertising to people who don’t want it? Think about all those TV commercials we can’t bear to watch……….

  92. Late to the party, as usual. I’d heard about this post awhile ago but just had a chance to read through most of the comments. One of the issues I face as a rep that I don’t believe was mentioned is that there is no way to insure that the work we include in our monthly newsletter email blast is going to apply to everyone who receives it. They usually contain 3-5 “blurbs” showing a range of unrelated things from different artists we consider newsworthy. I totally understand the value of targeted mailings, but even if we were sending out emails for individual photographers, it’s impossible to know what the creatives listed on Agency Access or the other data bases are working on. The DB companies do an average job at best of keeping the agency-level client lists updated and accurate, much less having the accuracy to allow us to drill down to individual art directors/art buyers’ specific clients. An opportunity perhaps?? Another consideration is that while we get our information from Agency Access, we use another supplier for executing the emails (Campaigner). Campaigner keeps a cumulative list of unsubscribers that are used to purge the names from any new lists we import, so even if the names don’t get taken off Agency Access, they will get filtered before the email goes out. I’m sure not every other 3rd party email company does the same.

  93. As a creative who started out on the vendor side, I understand how difficult it is to get your work in front of the right people. I probably get 25+ emails a day from photographers and illustrators and my reaction is… big deal. I’m not able to look at every one but I will generally open 5 or so depending on how busy I am, I think it is interesting and valuable to see what’s going on out there. These people are not spammers any more than the TV spots that appear on my television are spam so get over it. If you don’t like it, delete them but I think it’s pretty reprehensible to make a concerted effort to damage those who send email promotions, they are trying to make a living just like you and me… in an increasingly competitive environment. Come on kids, let’s play nice. In the grand scheme of things is it really hurting you?

  94. i really like the arrogance of all of you “photographers.”

    SPAM is SPAM. No one on earth likes receiving it. And no, ad’s & cd’s don’t sign up for any of it. Creepo companies like adbase are no better than telemarketers. And by all of you using their services neither are you.


  95. I thought that whole controversy had blown over since the black list had been taken down, but a photographer friend of mine just alerted me that there’s a new “spam” sheriff in town: http://nicenotdoingbusinesswithyou.tumblr.com/
    I don’t know who started but I can’t believe anyone will do that again. Isn’t it illegal? Working at an agency (and I have), you will get submissions, that’s part of your job. You need to know the difference between self-promotion (which we all do) and spam (which people who send emails about Viagra and winning the lottery do).

  96. […] 9, 2011  |  1 Comment Tweet // A rather large brouhaha recently erupted when an ad agency creative director lashed out at photographers for “spam” and went so far as to assemble a group of peers and issue a public blacklist, actually naming […]

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