So following my post the other day (sorry for again interrupting the underwater series…) I had to give credit for Hihostels for taking the time to respond to my mail.
Here’s what they wrote:

Dear Mr XXXX,

Thank you for contacting us. Our advertisement could have been more informative.

Hostelling International Finland manages a network of around 50 hostels, all of them part of the global Hostelling International network, which is composed of around 4,000 hostels, in 90 countries. Hostelling International (HI) is a nonprofit federation of hostel organisations. HI works in close collaboration with 69 national hostel organisations, with its aim being to provide people with opportunities to visit new places and learn about different cultures and to promote understanding between cultures by offering safe and inexpensive hostel accommodation all over the world.

HI provides various volunteering programmes worldwide, here are few examples:

The hostels in Finland are run by many types of companies and other organisations, including independent owners and family businesses, municipalities, associations, foundations, schools and colleges, and student organisations. Most of the hostels are run by nonprofit organisations.

We did receive also other emails with the similar content as you and we have decided not to continue with the programme.

Kind regards

XXXX XXXXXX / Hostelling International Finland

This, of course still doesn’t justify asking people to work for free (I wonder how many hostels REALLY are run by non-profit organizations, but that’s a different story), fact is that they acknowledged the issue and acted upon the many mails that they got, and took down the ad.

Which can’t be said from the following one, I was made aware of by a fellow group member on LinkedIn.
Someone posted this ad on Craigslist ( (the emphasis in her mail was done by me, to point out a few things that were particularly stinging and stingy):

Craigslist ad

Craigslist ad for Photographer Needed (screenshot from Craigslist)

photographer needed

I am looking for a photographer (amateur and aspiring photographers welcome!) to do a shoot with me for a set of lifestyle photos, either on the beach, or in town. I’m a singer-songwriter, musician, surfer, and world traveler, and I need to keep the photos on my social media fresh as I’m soon releasing an album and am gaining more followers and looking to partner with larger companies. I can not afford to pay, however, I’m happy to give photo credit on all photos taken and edited by you. Additionally, if I can take all of the raw photos that you do not wish to edit, I can edit them myself and use select photos, giving you photo credit, and myself edit credit. I am available this week to shoot. Please let me know if you are interested!

So in that “boiling” moment I wrote her a very brief (rather blunt) email:

Excuse me, you’re a surfer and world traveler and you need to keep the photos on your social media fresh and that’s why you’re looking for a photographer who will shoot pictures for you for free, because you can’t pay?
And you want all the raw images?
And you will credit the photographer?

Hang on… How are you financing your surfing and your world traveling?

How about you grow a little respect for your fellow artist photographers?

This is the kind of email that usually doesn’t invoke the urge for responses, but apparently with some obtuse people it does.
This person either has a board of respectable size in front of her face, shielding her from the rest of the world, or then her response is a massive case of feeling guilt and trying to squirm out from whatever she’s trying by coming up with excuses. In any case, she was one of the obtuse people who responded. This morning I found this in my inbox (again, the emphasis in her mail was done by me, to point out a few things that were particularly stinging and stingy):

Actually, just a little note, I’m also a photographer. I’m also a musician, professional surf instructor, surf competition judge, a model, a videographer, a jeweler, artist and many other things. I often do trades with people. I travel to third world countries and work sometimes 120 hours a week, many of those hours in the sun and water teaching people to surf. In those cases, I make very little money considering the area I’m working in. I make just enough to get to the next place. Sometimes I use travel as a means to travel… from point A to point B… crew on a boat. I don’t need a lot to live. I require very little. And I never ask for a lot. But there are millions of photographers who WANT to work with people like myself so they can keep their own resumes fresh and up to date after time off, for a test shoot, etc. So don’t think that because you’re a ‘photographer’ you speak for everyone. I have almost 8,000 followers on my Instagram account alone, so for someone to shoot photos of me, they’re going to gain exposure. I wasn’t asking for a lot… It was a mutual trade.

So… Back to “boiling”, I guess.
there are millions of photographers who WANT to work with people like myself so they can keep their own resumes fresh and up to date“??? REALLY???
G-sus F. Christ!!
I happen to be a photographer and a professional PADI Dive Instructor, a model, an artist and many other things. Just like she claims to be. I don’t make very much money. I travel around the world. And I don’t need a lot to live either.

and work sometimes 120 hours a week, many of those hours in the sun and water teaching people to surf“??? Well, BOOO-FUCKING-HOOO! I bet 95% of your friends and family are thanking God and Mother Mary right now on their bare knees that it’s YOU who got that shitty job and not them. You have such a terrible life that you have to work in the sun and water to teach people how to surf, and I bet you hate it with your whole core, you poor soul!

I’ve been a freelancer for 50% of my life and I’ve worked 120 hours a week more than I care to remember. The past 6 months I’ve been working from 6am to 9pm every single day, 7 days a week, 3 days off during that time. And yes, my life as a dive instructor also involves a lot of sun and a lot of water. And I don’t make very much money with that, considering the area I’m working in. But do you hear me complain about it? Have you ever seen me write up an advertisement to ask people to do something for free? To get some FF-ing exposure?
You know what I complain about? I complain about people asking other people to work for free. Oh no… not for free. For a trade. For “exposure”. Did I mention respect somewhere?

*breathe, breathe*
Ok… It’s time I take a dive in a bit cooler waters.

To be continued, I’m quite sure.
(Note that I’m normally not such a hot-head, but some things just really tickle me. Disrespect (to our profession) is one of them.)

Edit to add:
I noticed that I received the questionable honor of a whole Facebook post for me alone on her Facebook page. She calls me a hater, wondering if my Life is so boring that I have to crush other people’s lives… Riiiiight :D

Facebook post

Facebook post telling everyone I’m a hater ;)
Screenshot from Facebook

Edit to add (Sept. 20th):
I got two additional mails from her (to which I didn’t reply, obviously):

yes… let’s see what TFP means. duh, you’re an idiot. 

Whatever that means…


But the way, I’ve had more than 50 replies of people wanting to shoot with me to update their portfolios, and people in photography school needing people to work with to try things, and people who just enjoy taking photos! So regardless of how fucking retarded you are, I’m able to bring some exposure to some great photographers.

I guess we have to congratulate her. So she still has millions minus more than 50 photographers that haven’t contacted her. She’ll have a crapload of emails in her inbox soon, I’m sure.
And “hater”? Typical case of pot, kettle, this… Not?

I’m contemplating sending her a mail in which I tell her that she failed to mention how many emails she received along the lines of the one that I sent her. But to that she of course will respond “None, you fucking retard!” :D

School of jack fish (trevally) – caranx sexfasciatus
Photographed at approximately 6 meters deep.

School of jack fish (trevally) - caranx sexfasciatus

D800 in Ikelite housing, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 90mm macro, Ikelite DS161 strobe

Titan triggerfish – balistoides viridescens
Photographed at approximately 16 meters deep.

Titan triggerfish - balistoides viridescens

D800 in Ikelite housing, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 90mm macro, Ikelite DS161 strobe

I had to interrupt my 365 days underwater with this post.
Via a fellow photographer I came across an advertisement of the Finnish branch of Hihostels (
They posted an ad here:

For those not fluent in Finnish, summarized this ad asks for a volunteer photographer, who will shoot pictures for Hihostel’s image bank so they can use it for marketing and communication purposes and such. There will be no additional compensation for the use of the images, and they won’t be sold forward. They state that it won’t be always possible to credit the photographer, but where they can, they will.

They offer photographing experience in “our beautiful country” as well as travel compensation up to 50 euros and accommodation if necessary (but they hope you can do it during (one of your own) day trips) and specific tasks.
They wish you to be self-reliant, have your own photography gear and skilled to take pictures of places, people and landscapes.

I see things like this come by all the time, and it always gets me off.
It’s an insult to every (professional) photographer out there.

Usually I boil for a while, let it sink and go on with my life. But this time, especially because it’s a Finnish company and I’m Finnish, I thought I’d write them a friendly email.
I contacted the marketing and communications officer as stated on the website and wrote her the following:

Dear Ms XXXX,

I would like introduce myself:
My name is Arno XXXX, I’m a Finnish professional photographer.
I have a massive library of photographs, of which a big part is shot in Finland.
If you have the time, have a look at

I travel around the world to try to make a living from something I absolutely love doing.
My camera equipment is worth approximately € 35,000.00.
I pay a handsome amount of money in maintenance for my equipment, as well as insurances for my equipment while on assignment both locally and globally. I spend a good amount of time editing my pictures so that they look perfect for the people who are going to use them.
That’s on top of my daily costs for existing, like apartment rent, groceries, social security, etc. etc.

Photography is what I do for a living.
It pays my bills and allows me to exist.

I read from the advertisement on that you are the marketing and communications coordinator for
That’s what you do for a living, right?
And I reckon you have monthly costs like apartment rent (or a mortgage), social security, insurances, etc. etc.
Would you have taken your job if Hihostels would’ve offered you travel expenses up to 50 euros and a fantastic experience of working for them?

Can you understand that I take offense to job advertisements like the one is hosting on its webpage?
What you do with this is ridicule the profession (yes, it IS a very PROfession) of photography and you are undermining an already very difficult market to survive in.

Being a photographer is a hard existence and the photography market is -literally, at time- violently competitive.
With ads like these you make it even harder for professional photographers to pay their bills and exist.
Hihostels is an international corporation, which makes money. You have a marketing budget. If you budget properly, you can budget an amount for licensing photographs.

Imagine I would show up at Hihostels telling you “Hey, I’d like to stay in Hihostels for a week or two. I will pay up to 50€ for your services.”
How would you react to that?
I bet you’d start laughing and say “I’m sorry, Sir, but we can’t do that!” with a friendly smile on you face and in your head you’d think “What the hell?? Who is this idiot?”

So why should you be paid for doing YOUR job, why should your boss be paid for doing his/her job?
And why would I have to do my job basically for free?
Does that sound anywhere near fair to you?

If you are interested in licensing any of my Finland pictures, please do let me know.
I can make a very interesting package price for you.

Awaiting your response.

Kind regards,


Let’s see if I get any response and what they will write…

Tomorrow the underwater series continues.

*** Edit to add:
Of course we will not know why, if it was because of my mail, or maybe a lot of photographers sent a mail with similar content as mine, but the page with the job advertisement is now not available (anymore).