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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Writing About Yourself in the Third Person
John Stoops, Photographer, Student/Intern
Seoul | ROK | South Korea | Posted: 4:16 AM on 01.19.12
->> I recently have had a little extra time and have been really checking out a lot of photographer’s websites.

I am very impressed with many aspects of the design of the website in addition to the level of work often presented online.

However, there is one aspect that I find incredibly annoying; people writing about themselves in the third person.

To me it seems to be the epitome of pretentious self-promotion. I interpret it as if the photographer is saying, "I want to appear more important than I am, so I will present my Bio as if someone else is writing."

That is great if you are so important that there WAS someone else writing about you. But to write yourself in some thinly disguised effort to boost your personal stock seems ridiculous to me. Who are you kidding??

If I am somehow misunderstanding something, someone please set me straight. Otherwise, can anyone justify why photographers are doing this??
 This post is:  Informative (4) | Funny (0) | Huh? (6) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Peter Buehner, Photographer
Orono | ME | USA | Posted: 6:25 AM on 01.19.12
->> Your message seems really angry about something quite trivial. I think the third person is used on websites because:

1. Someone else may have designed the website for someone.

2. Many designers will suggest writing in the third person since it comes off as more objective rather than subjective.

I really don't see it as pretentious. Self promotion? Of course, that is what a website is at its essence.

So important? Thinly disguised? Ridiculous?
I have never had that reaction to seeing a SS site bio written in the third person. What I would have that reaction to is overstated facts or stretching of the truth.

I'm curious to see what others think. I for one have never felt that. obviously YMMV.

Cheers,
Peter
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Kevin Novak, Photographer, Assistant
Bel Air (Baltimore) | MD | USA | Posted: 7:13 AM on 01.19.12
->> Kevin came upon this while looking into the way-back machine:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=2916
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (6) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Scott Miller, Photographer
Sorrento | FL | | Posted: 7:40 AM on 01.19.12
->> "I want to appear more important than I am, so I will present my Bio as if someone else is writing."

Scott A. Miller finds this offensive and narrow minded. Scott wrote his own bio and it is in the third person. And when Scott has helped other photographers in building their website he has done their bio in the third person as well.

The reason being that Scott writes in the third person is his website is for a business, not a person.

It is Scott A. Miller Photography, LLC's website. So it is the brand, not the person the website represents.

Just like Company XXX's website, it is the corporate branding that is being put forth.


Yes it is Scott's work on the site, but it is still the brand that the site represents.

Scott hopes help clear the third person idea up for some.
 This post is:  Informative (4) | Funny (9) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

John Stoops, Photographer, Student/Intern
Seoul | ROK | South Korea | Posted: 8:07 AM on 01.19.12
->> Peter,

I am not angry, I am just mildly annoyed.

If a photographer has another person write their bio on their website then of course it would be in the third person and perfectly justifiable.

What appears to be the case is that on photographers' websites is that it is the photographer who writes his/her own bio and they write in the third person for the sole purpose to inflate their importance or so it seems.

Where else do people write about themselves in the third person?

You say that it is to appear more objective, but if you are writing your own bio, it isn't object and by putting in the third person it is doing so deceptively...okay just a little deceptive.

I am curious what others think too.

And to be honest, if it will help me land a job, I wouldn't hesitate to do it myself.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (3) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Alesse, Photographer
Coram | NY | USA | Posted: 8:29 AM on 01.19.12
->> Reminds me of "The Jimmy" episode in Seinfeld.
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John Stoops, Photographer, Student/Intern
Seoul | ROK | South Korea | Posted: 8:54 AM on 01.19.12
->> Let's not take this too seriously...but my question still stands.

Where else do people write about themselves in the third person??
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 9:18 AM on 01.19.12
->> John,

I would suggest that it is the fact that most of these sites are a sole proprietorship that makes it seem odd. If they represented a studio with multiple artists would you feel the same way?

If I compare Scott Miller's "About" section with any given bio of an attorney on the website of the law firm that I use, they have a very similar structure - that is they are written in the third person, with a repeated use of the proper name (much more so than one would expect in conversational english.)

If you replace John Doe, with John Doe, LLC., then the use of the third person seems more natural, does it not? I think that speaks to Scott Miller's branding comment.

That said, I do find that most of the bio's written in the third person read awkwardly - moreso due to their overuse of their proper name (as opposed to pronouns.)
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Doug McSchooler, Photographer
Avon | Indiana | United States | Posted: 9:41 AM on 01.19.12
->> The tagline that is at the bottom of my own website: "Doug McSchooler is a full-time freelance photojournalist and designer that writes his bios in first-person".


Funny that this topic has come up.

Although I don't know that any marketing person would be able to sway me one way or the other as to which is better — first-person vs. third-person, I do think that it's an indication of personality.

Regardless of which writing style you use, embrace it and remain consistent throughout your site. That's my opinion.

Here's a little education I found that might inspire those that are in the midst of writing bios now.
http://www.tarakharper.com/k_frstpr.htm
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David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 9:58 AM on 01.19.12
->> David thinks it's ok.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 10:07 AM on 01.19.12
->> Paul -- glad I'm not the only one who had that thought.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apa0nG1OfUc

"Jimmy's down!!!"
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 11:14 AM on 01.19.12
->> Chuck Liddy only speaks of Chuck Liddy in the Imperious tense. We feel that speaking of our Imperiousness is much higher and befitting of Our stature than this third person nonsense. But, of course We digress, it is well known that the first rule of speaking of Chuck Liddy is NOT to speak of Chuck Liddy. And, We, being the benevolent ruler of all we survey, will let you peasants argue among yourselves over this trivial matter.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (11) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 11:41 AM on 01.19.12
->> Ditto, Liddy. Especially the last line.
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Osamu Chiba, Photographer
Vista | CA | USA | Posted: 1:58 PM on 01.19.12
->> Here is another thread about the same topic:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=13386
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Paul Alesse, Photographer
Coram | NY | USA | Posted: 4:34 PM on 01.19.12
->> Third person photographers charge for their work.
First person photographers give away their work.
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Robert Seale, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 6:46 PM on 01.19.12
->> "Kevin, this is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball."
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Guy Rhodes, Photographer
East Chicago | IN | USA | Posted: 1:37 AM on 01.20.12
->> Seriously?

I asked one of my favorite local writers to write my bio on my web site, and thus, it is in the third person.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 7:01 AM on 01.20.12
->> In a discussion about third person, we can't forget about using "the" as a prefix...

...as in,

"The Liddy believes you gotta get paid. The Liddy won't work for free. The Liddy has cameras that focus straight out of the box..."
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 7:12 AM on 01.20.12
->> The Liddy concurs with The Harpe...
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John Stoops, Photographer, Student/Intern
Seoul | ROK | South Korea | Posted: 11:52 PM on 01.20.12
->> Well, I certainly learned a lot after posting this rant....I mean question.

I appreciate people sharing their insight and humor into the reasons for writing about yourself in the third person.


I still think it is a bit ridiculous.

However, to be perfectly honest, if it will make a more positive impression on potential employers or clients I won't hesitate to do it myself.

Thanks again to everyone
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Paul Alesse, Photographer
Coram | NY | USA | Posted: 12:04 AM on 01.21.12
->> Does anyone care to start a discussion on why some photographers use fictional plural pronouns with antecedents that refer to, in reality, singular nouns running their business.

Okay, you can hit the "Huh" button now. We won't mind.
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 12:17 AM on 01.21.12
->> "It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told."
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Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 1:21 AM on 01.21.12
->> Ah ha, The Silence of the Lambs.
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Justin Edmonds, Photographer, Student/Intern
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 1:51 AM on 01.21.12
->> I'm with Guy. I had a friend who was an english major in college write mine.

Many author bios in the back of books are written in third person and I don't see how this scenario is any different.
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James Escher, Photographer
Garden City | NY | USA | Posted: 5:36 AM on 01.21.12
->> This thread had to go *sixteen posts* before someone finally made an obligatory Rickey Henderson reference?

Sigh...
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Tod Gomes, Photographer, Assistant
Pleasant Hill | CA | USA | Posted: 6:00 PM on 01.23.12
->> SEO.
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 8:43 PM on 01.23.12
->> Thomas gets pissed when people make fun of his self aggrandizing.
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Stew Milne, Photographer
Providence | RI | USA | Posted: 10:25 PM on 01.23.12
->> Stew Milne prefers to write in the second person. Here is a snip-it from his website bio.

"You are looking at the website of a distinguished photographer. You need to look at my portfolio. Then after admiring my great work you will hire me to photograph a variety of assignments for you at a rate of $10,000 a day. You can now pick up the phone and call me."
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Paul Alesse, Photographer
Coram | NY | USA | Posted: 8:30 AM on 01.24.12
->> Stew, I believe that's still third person albeit, present and future progressive tense.
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Alan Herzberg, Photographer
Elm Grove | WI | USA | Posted: 9:57 AM on 01.24.12
->> My favorite third-person reference:

"Milwaukee waives outfielder Chuck Carr after Carr ignores a take sign on a 2-0 count. 'That ain't Chuckie's game,' says Carr. 'Chuckie's hacking on 2-0.' "

From CNN/SI's 1997 Year In Review
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Stew Milne, Photographer
Providence | RI | USA | Posted: 5:59 PM on 01.24.12
->> @Paul that's not third person at all. Go re-read your 3rd grade grammar books. Writing in the second tense is incredibly difficult. It's mostly using the word "you". It's most often used to instruct people.

Now go to my website and hire me!
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Chris Pietsch, Photographer
Eugene | OR | USA | Posted: 1:10 AM on 01.25.12
->> I prefer using the 5th person, as in, "I heard from this guy, who told somebody...." Much more conversational.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (1) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

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Thread Title: Writing About Yourself in the Third Person
Thread Started By: John Stoops
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