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Professional photographer locks horns with S’pore model who didn’t know she had to pay for his services

Ms Chong wasn't happy about having to pay for a photo shoot and things went down hill from there with mud slinging from both sides

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Singapore – In today’s “gig economy,” wherein independent workers engage in temporary projects as a career, traditional modes of payment for their services might be lost to some.

On June 30, professional photographer Benjamin Matchap went to Facebook to share his experience as a freelancer – one that is quite common nowadays.

The Story

Speaking to The Independent Singapore, Benjamin relayed what happened.

A model who handles Kylie Chong Modelling Page on Facebook has been asking Benjamin for a photo shoot since last year. As a professional photographer, Benjamin reserves the right to choose his models based on experience and personal style.

One cannot simply accept every project because each photographer has their forte and preferences. It would look bad on the client as well if the results don’t live up to their expectations because of the photographer.

When Benjamin mentioned his rate of S$200 an hour for a photo shoot, Ms Chong was confused.

“Huh? How come?” asked Ms Chong.

“Well, I am a fulltime freelance photographer,” replied Benjamin. “Photography is pretty much my main income,” he added.

Ms Chong admitted that she too was a freelance model.

“I think I told you before that when I do collabs, it usually needs to be an equal exchange,” said Benjamin.

From there, things went downhill.

Ms Chong thought Benjamin was “looking down on her” when he mentioned that he preferred to be compensated for his work.

Benjamin tried explaining that his job was to take pictures and had nothing to do with her accusation.

Ms Chong replied that she wasn’t interested in hiring Benjamin anymore and that she too had good pictures and allegedly did not pay for them.

Benjamin posted a few people’s comments on his post, such as Gio Rhivers who could not understand Ms Chong’s issue. She wanted a photo shoot, he asked for compensation, she didn’t want to pay.

Ms Chong replied with a rather confusing comment on photographers, their skill and asking for payment for their service.

Read the full post below:

Sorry but if you are a model you kinda have to be pretty or at the very least have good aesthetic.If you want to…

Posted by Benjamin Matchap on Sunday, June 30, 2019

Benjamin’s post was actually a response to Ms Chong who first complained about him in her page along with a screenshot of their conversation and a photo of Benjamin.

“Are you sure you’re a full-time photographer? But why you answer me like this? How are you? Do you really feel hard to be a real model? This is why you don’t like me so I pay your fees for your sex service? Ha-ha,” read the translated caption.

“After the issue blew up she has threatened to make police reports and even left a comment on my post saying I deleted a message where I apparently was going to pay her S$500,” said Benjamin to The Independent Singapore.

“I never met her and have no interest in doing shoots with this person paid or otherwise,” he added.

Benjamin also shared that Ms Chong has done the same to fellow photographers.

The following screenshot was sent to Benjamin from a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous.

Photo: Provided by Benjamin Matchap

Many netizens sided with Benjamin and called for awareness that freelancers don’t offer their services for free.

Photo: FB screengrab/ Benjamin Matchap

For other angles on the accusations, Benjamin was also called out for being Indian, which served as a basis for Ms Chong to not accept the shoot.

And now the racism comes out…. Isn't it funny, she comes and ask me for a shoot like a few times, i did not flat out…

Posted by Benjamin Matchap on Sunday, June 30, 2019

She was also quick to bash netizens who commented on the posts.

Photo: FB screengrab/ Benjamin Matchap

In case you’re wondering, Ben Matchap was the same photographer who got entangled in an incident with Secretary-General of the Reform Party Kenneth Jeyaretnam back in 2016.

Read related: Reform Party chief makes police report against cameraman hired to cover JBJ Memorial Event

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