Doug Gordon Surreptitiously Presenting for Nikon at WPPI Despite Having Withdrawn


Earlier this morning, we received a tip from a reader (who has chosen to remain anonymous) that Doug Gordon — who was embroiled in a nasty plagiarism scandal along with Jasmine Star late last year — is still presenting at WPPI, despite having officially withdrawn in October.

According to our source (and confirmed by the schedule posted below), Gordon is presenting through Nikon rather than as an official WPPI speaker. That is why you won’t find him on the official WPPI schedule or list of speakers. Technically, he is there as a Nikon speaker and not a WPPI presenter.

“I know Nikon has a lot invested in him now,” writes our disgruntled reader. “But I think allowing him in through the backdoor and circumventing all the backlash and the petition asking for him NOT to be at WPPI is pretty underhanded (by both Nikon and especially Doug Gordon)”

Here’s that schedule:


Star and Gordon’s withdrawal came after much outrage from the photo community and a petition that gathered several hundred signatures. WPPI itself reported the development on its blog and Facebook page, saying that “the integrity and reputation of WPPI is important to us,” which is why they had decided to respect the community outcry.

Our anonymous reader got in touch with us because they were surprised, “I’m just curious why there has been no outrage, or a tremor, a mention, or even a whisper about Doug Gordon presenting workshops for Nikon at WPPI?”

What’s your take? Does this constitute, as our reader put it, “circumvent[ing] WPPI and [Gordon’s] apology,” or is this okay? Let us know in the comments down below. In the meantime, we’ve gotten in touch with Nikon for comment, and will update this post just as soon as we hear back.

  • Dennis Heald

    It amazes me that people have nothing better to worry about in this day and age. I have had positive experiences at all of Dougs seminars and workshops that I have attended. I now feel much more confident when the clock is ticking that I can get all the shots I need, I couldnt do it without Doug’s Flow Posing System.

  • jdayak

    If you don’t want to listen to him, then don’t go the Nikon booth. By the way “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone”, not a sermon, just a thought!

  • Aki

    The issue is whether or not he should be teaching from the platform isn’t it? He’s teaching posing. At what point does he get to do that again? I’m not saying it’s ok to steal, clearly it’s not. So are you saying ban the guy for life for making an egregious error that is “somewhat” related to what he normally teaches?

  • Mike B

    Everything else aside, I have learned a LOT about posing and wedding photography from Doug as have countless others. He will be there in the Nikon booth, not as a platform speaker, and I am sure he will have a lot of great knowledge to share for those who are interested. If you want to learn about his photography techniques, go see him, if not don’t.

  • shozbots

    He did withdraw form WPPI – what NIKON does is different than that of holding a 100 person seminar in wppi no?

    I am always surprised by the viral hububaloo when no one seems concerned that Thomas Hawk uses a fake and name hardly ever explains it.

  • Aki

    Yes, he stole content. Yes, it’s wrong. I’m not saying that it isn’t wrong, but at what point do you draw the line where he can pick up his career? He apologized on his blog, which is part of his business I agree, but more as of a supporting role as opposed to his teaching and his photography.

  • Bob Ray

    There are two worlds @WPPI: presentation as a WPPI Platform Speaker for
    the conference scheduled events and appearing on the Trade Show Floor in
    a participating vendor’s booth. While I can’t comment on Doug’s
    situations that caused him to withdraw from this year’s WPPI featured
    speakers and presenters because I am not fully versed on the facts, his
    agreement to not be a featured WPPI speaker inj no way prevents him from
    appearing in the Nikon booth on the trade show floor. I appreciate the
    need for your headline and acerbic copy in the article.This is how you
    attract readers and followers. I get it. Full disclosure, I know Doug
    Gordon as a photographer and a person for many years. I’m a professional
    photographer and international teacher and live in CA. Doug lives in NY
    so we’re not close in proximity or personally. That said, Doug has a
    right to pursue his career and honour the agreements he has made as a
    professional photographer. You nor anyone else has any right to impede
    that pursuit by slyly igniting a situation and fanning the flames. Doug
    has not violated his agreement by speaking on the WPPI show floor. There
    may be a case for your insinuation and not-so-subtly veiled accusations
    violating HIS rights. Actually, I believe I just made that case here in
    the court of public opinion which, given you publish and work to thrive
    in this court, is clearly not in your best interests. If you were right
    I’d agree with you. But, you’re not.

  • Sunshine

    Doug Gordon was the first person I learned from when I started photography and his lessons are still ones I remember all of the time. He is a fantastic teacher so I can understand why Nikon would want him.
    If you don’t want to hear him speak, don’t attend. End of story.

  • Craig C.

    I’m calling out PetaPixel on this one. This isn’t journalism or even casual reporting on industry news.

    I don’t know Doug Gordon, couldn’t care less about Doug Gordon, or the “controversy” — the issue here is if your “tipster” insists on remaining anonymous, there is no valid reason to provide anything more than a copy of the schedule and to note that Gordon will be there on behalf of Nikon.

    The rest is unsubstantiated gossip. Your reader/tipster should either be willing to attach his identity to his statements, or they aren’t worth being published. This smacks of the same garbage we get every time the government wants to feed their propaganda through the mass media – “an official who wished to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to disclose this information” – all crap — they can put their name on it or don’t report it.

  • RonT

    No, I think banning him for life removes the possibility of him starting over and doing it honestly this time. That needs to be an option for him. Perhaps it’s the short timeframe I have an issue with – I think popping back up in this timeframe indicates a complete lack of remorse, only regret in having been caught.

    I do think that his appearance at WPPI is contrary to the intent of WPPI itself, since they removed him and the others from their speakers rotation.

  • Bob Ray

    In a word, “succinctly, exactly correct.”

    Oops. That was three words.

    All of them dead right.

  • RonT

    Judas or Hitler? Seriously? What have you been smoking, kid?

    Maybe you’d prefer Lance Armstrong as a comparison then – no-one had a problem crucifying him after he was revealed as cheating. Despite whatever good his foundations and charitable work had done it was all finished after the truth hit the news.
    I haven’t seen him bounce back up 6 months later, so why does some photographer who cheats get a free pass from all of his apologists?

  • David Liang

    I’m more bothered he’s doing a section on posing. Has anyone seen his workshops? He “poses” people with the least amount of tact and respect for personal space. Even when he could ask someone to turn her head, point their nose, move and arm, he’ll walk over and do it for them without warning. Sure it’s his “style” one could say, but there’s a whole other level of responsibility that goes into “teaching” as opposed to just “practicing”.

  • Craig C.

    Again, I couldn’t care less about the entire Gordon “saga,” but you state Nikon is risking the reputation of their company. That’s interesting you think they care — I think they cemented their public reputation when they kept denying the D600 sensor dust/oil/whatever issue until a class-action lawsuit was filed against them recently. Seems like that would pretty much explain how much thought Nikon put into the risks of using Gordon at WPPI.

  • Greg

    question that comes to my mind is….why is there so much HATE out
    here? I understand that in the minds of many (including Doug) Doug
    Gordon has made some choices that others of us would not. Ok…that’s
    a given. My question would be: Who has NEVER done something and
    then looked back and regretted doing it? You may not like Doug Gordon
    or you might be upset with what he did ….Very simple
    solution….DON’T GO AND SUPPORT HIM…It really is that simple. But
    why take personal attacks at him? That I just don’t get. I have been
    able to attend some of Doug’s workshops….and I can tell you from
    personal experience that this guy KNOWS photography…He knows how to
    inspire….He knows people…..and more importantly….He knows
    light and how to use it. Now, as for what happened in the past….How
    many of us are guilty of the same thing? How many of us have
    used words, phrases or sometimes even entire thoughts of someone else
    as a “tool” to make our point? Doug was asked to not attend as a
    WPPI sponsored speaker…as far as I can tell he is standing by that.
    As for his commitment to Nikon…That is between Nikon and WPPI (who
    must be ok with it or they would not have allowed it). As for
    Nikon…and any sponsor for that matter….if they tell you to be
    somewhere and to speak there….you are usually obligated by contract
    to do just that. I’m not sure that a man honoring his contract and
    commitment to someone is any reason to start
    making personal attacks on him. My fear is that this industry, that
    I am so proud to be a part of, is so out of control with “social
    witch hunts”…. that we are doing more damage to ourselves and our
    industry than anything else. Think what you want of Doug Gordon…my
    hope would be those talking about him would at least be doing so ONLY
    after getting to know him and being a part of something he
    does….and not just joining in on all the social hate just to make
    yourself feel like you somehow have the moral high ground on
    photography ethics. Doug is a great artist…and like many of the
    greats he uses everything at his disposal (and yes, that may
    sometimes mean someone elses words) as a tool motivate…to get a
    point across…to teach…and to inspire.

  • Tasha

    So if he has “great original content” to share, please explain to me why he felt the need to continually plagerize?

  • Jack

    “a petition that gathered several hundred signatures”

    Several hundred signatures….that is really all it took? Aren’t there over 13,000 people registered for WPPI? Thousands of others that wish they could be there, but aren’t going? Did WPPI really cave in for a few hundred signatures?

    Now a few people hope that Nikon will cave to their wishes also?

    I will be extremely disappointed if Nikon even responds to PetaPixel’s request for comment. A few hundred people are mad….big deal….get over it.

    If you don’t want to hear him speak, don’t go when he is speaking…..last time I checked we lived in a free country!

  • harumph

    Did one person just make a dozen new discus accounts to defend this guy? I’ve never seen so many new accounts all saying the exact same thing.

  • Eileen Noelle

    I was checking out the ‘Instagram Wedding Photographer’ article (that’s seriously what they call themselves) and saw the headline for this story about Doug Gordon. I’m glad D.Gordon never came after me for using some of his posing ideas in weddings that I shoot. I guess I was ‘copying’ him, right? Isn’t that what he wants us to do after we see him at a class. All of the speakers do. I go to these things to be motivated and inspired because we all get burned out in our line of work when we are shooting so much. It was refreshing to have someone throw new stuff at me for a challenge. If I want to learn to be an author, I’ll go to writing workshops. But when I want some inspiration, WPPI has some of the best and Gordon is among them. Don’t like him? …don’t go see him. There’s plenty of other people you can get ideas from…but remember, it’s their ideas…you’re just ‘borrowing’ them to make your business better.

  • Patrick Sweeney

    The man has won the IPC Leadership award. He must be doing something right. Not to mention the other awards he has one in the photography industry. Not just print but leadership. Ok fine he made a mistake. Like the saying goes, if you don’t like whats on TV or the radio you can change the channel. Well if you don’t like what he stands for you don’t have to listen to him. I for one will keep listening and watching and following Doug. He changed my business 16 years ago. I went from doing 5 weddings a year to doing 50+ a year. I am a two person operation and I have a full time job as well. Because of him he has taught me and many many others that I have seen at his seminars through the years to become better photographers and better people as well. I learned to be a better photographer, I learned to become a better businessman, and to give back to the community. I am just one person that has had my business change for the better because of Doug. I am sure there are many more out there as well. Again as the saying goes, if you changed one life isn’t it worth it? As far as WPPI goes and dropping him? Doug actually teaches you something, its not just a slideshow presentation of his work like most others. I go to WPPI to learn and become better at what I do, not to have a 10 minute slideshow of someones work and the next hour being asked questions about what equipment was used. Showing me images of places I will never shoot a wedding ( other countries is not going to make me a better photographer. This isn’t teaching someone. What Doug has done at WPPI is taken the person just getting started and show him how to get started! How to learn from your mistakes. Yes people do make mistakes. It happens. We learn from them. He has taken the person that has been in business for years and teaches them how to become better. Again this is teaching. He is a great photographer but I personally think he is a better teacher. SO let him teach, because without teachers to make us better. The industry will just fade away just like film. Ill get off my soap box now.

  • Ali Hassanali

    You cannot deny that Doug has helped an industry worth of photographers become better at their trade. Whether its coaching on business matters, critique on work or even helping local photographers who are struggling making a living.

    Please go ahead and criticize him if you have NEVER made a mistake in your life and are free from any mistakes. Otherwise, accept that he is human and i can personally vouch that he is a wonderful human being.

    “He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.”
    – Thomas Fuller

  • Aki

    That’s fair enough. Perhaps a year off from WPPI would have sent a stronger message. Although, part of that discussion involves Nikon and their decision makers since they are allowing him to use their booth as a platform.

  • Rick Bern

    I honestly don’t understand why PP decided to run this “article” except to drive traffic to their website by generating negative buzz. I’m not going to speak to the “outrage” except to talk about my own experience with Doug Gordon and his staff. I’ve seen Doug speak on many occasions in NYC, Vegas, Boston plus two 5 day trainings in his studio. I’ve watched his DVD’s, read his books, had private phone consultations, plus dozens of emails/texts, and never once did I feel Doug veered from his moral center. More than any other instructor I’ve had the privilege to work with, Doug teaches from a genuine desire to make a difference. As a lifelong Nikon shooter, I’m happy they showed loyalty and stood by Doug Gordon despite a little noise from the minority on the sidelines. I wish WPPI and the editor of this website would have done the same.

  • Roland Silva

    I believe those without sin even them should not throw stones. Let god judge us just judge yourself. He had someone taking care of that for him. He took responsibility when he learned he apologized. He has so much to offer photographically and as a person the people that have accused him and punished him have done a small fraction for charity work as Doug has. Actions speak louder than words. He had tons and tons of people that believe him, love him and realize what he has given to the industry. He is super successful in his business and does not need to be involved with this side of photography. He does so because he loves photography and people. We all make mistakes. Stop being judge jury and executioner and allow him the opportunity to show what he is capable of. He has so much more to offer people both photographically and personally.

  • sdphotos

    How many of you have ever met Doug? Or even been to one of his workshops? I have met him and been to his workshops and I understand why everyone is upset, but I look at it this way. I want to learn and improve my skills and achieve my goals in photography and by going to his workshops I have learned so much and I know so has a lot of others out there. So if I want to learn should I not have the choice of who I want to learn from?? Bad decisions are made everyday by EVERYONE of us…if you choose not to ever attend one of his events or buy anything from Doug then that is your choice and no one should judge you for that. but there are people out there that Love Doug and wants to learn from him because they believe he is a great photographer and educator it does not matter what you think, its what each of us thinks ourselves that matters most. What he did was wrong, but that wont stop people from wanting to learn from him because despite what has been said.. he does know what he is talking about when it comes to posing and photography. Just my opinion and thoughts. : )

  • B

    vote with your feet

  • @JKleinphoto

    for real, what’s your problem with the dude? he’s been very helpful to the Photographic community, with all his videos and information. He has a hell of a business, that has not missed a beat since the “plagiarism scandal.” which if you’d hear his side of the story, you’d probably understand. as most people who are too busy to keep up with social media and blah blah blah, i’m sure he hired someone to write his blogs and that social media stuff for him.
    so many photogs are now just haters and wanting to twist knives in decent peoples backs because they’re hater. grow up dude, he’ll probably give a hell of an speach!

  • Lakese Maxwell-Anderson

    Ummm, what platform are you speaking on at WPPI?

  • @JKleinphoto

    hey Tasha, have you bothered to hear Doug’s’ side of the story before casting stones. You might actually understand his side of the story. when you write your congressman, you think “he” writes you back? his team does over a hundred weddings a year. you think he has time to toy with social media. he had hired someone to handle social media, and well hell, like most hired help, they took a short cut. that stuff went on years ago. By the way his business hasn’t missed a beat, and still got many awards after. you should feel privileged to be able to take some information in from someone who’s built a hell of a business. everyone is so quick to call witch these days.

  • jax

    I have read a few comments on here and see a lot of your points. He made a mistake and should be punishes. Idk if you realize but he has been punished plenty. He doesn’t have a full workshop class this year at wppi or wppi university. He possibly lost a few sponsors. He even lost plenty of followers. But that’s not who he is and its not what he teaches.

    Doug Gordon knows how to pose. He is one of the best at posing that I know of so far. He also knows a lot of creative ways to take photos and speed up your work process. Thats what people can and will learn from Doug. No one will “learn to be thieves” or whatever else you guys feel like saying.

    If you don’t want to see Doug then don’t show up then. Plain and simple.

    Also for those saying people are not photographers if you don’t have specific equipment or having a commercial location, anyone can be a photographer. The only difference between a pro and a hobbyist is how you conduct yourself and your business. How some of you are commenting on this post makes me believe that you do not conduct your business in a professional manor. Please before you judge another person and their business, look at yourself.

  • marie christine

    I would just like to say that Doug is a great teacher and we all should be lucky to hear him present. I have attended his workshops and he is truly generous and caring person. Yes, he made mistake and we have all made mistakes. He put his blog in other peoples hands, but never intended to hurt anyone. Instead of petitioning against his presenting we should be grateful to have the opportunity to learn from such an amazing photographer.

  • Ana Silva

    Honestly it’s pathetic that an “anonymous” reader ratted Doug Gordon out. Why hide behind anonymity? If he’s so concerned about Nikon and WPPI’s integrity why not come forward as his/herself? I want everyone that has never made a mistake to throw the first stone. I don’t agree with what he did but it’s time to let it go. He apologized more than once, let him be! I have nothing but praise and respect for Doug. He has helped thousands of photographers achieve their true potential and has done nothing but make us better. I have learned so much from his workshops in person and through CreativeLive. Stop hating, stop trying to ruin someone’s life over a mistake that I’m sure many have made themselves. LET IT GO. This anonymous reader and all of those that want to ruin Doug are nothing but a bunch of losers that can’t stand the fact that despite all the crap that’s going on with him, he’s still one of the industry’s best photographers. I support him and always will. And like me, there are thousands that got his back.

  • Tino

    Here’s the deal, I’m not here to start any arguments, but I do want people to start thinking about things before they start attacking a fellow photog. Doug Gordon has been doing photography longer than most of the people he supposedly “plagiarized” and knows what he’s doing better than most. I’ve seen the man work in person, as I have been to his studio and watched him work during a shoot. Why in the world would he intentionally copy someone else’s words when he already knows the information inside and out? The man can read light like its his second nature. If you have even half a brain, you would be able to pick out the fakes from the real. Doug DID make a mistake… He hired someone to do his writing and they plagiarized because they had no clue what to talk about. Doug didn’t plagiarize, he just took the heat because it was done in his name.

    If you follow Doug, like most of us do, you would be able to tell the difference in the writing styles between when Doug was writing them and when the guy he hired wrote them, then again thru the time Doug fired him. Stop crucifying him. Doug isn’t one of those photographers that says he can do it and doesn’t deliver, nor is he the person that takes other people’s pictures and claim that he took them. His work has proven time and time again that he knows what he’s talking about.

    Also, out of the tens of thousands of people that go to the WPPI only a handful, 600 to be exact, voted against his appearance at the convention. This doesn’t represent the community accurately at all. Over 52K people currently follow him on Facebook and most likely most of them know of his situation yet they still follow his work because they know what he’s about. Now THAT represents the community.

    It’s so sad to see how photographers are treated when a mistake is made and how much hate is directed towards them. We should not be a one mistake community. Let him move on from this. If it happens again THEN and only then can we say he did it deliberately. I say WPPI and Nikon need Doug and it was a good decision to have him there.

  • Prophotog

    he doesnt need no conference or venue to rebuild anything, dougs buisness didn’t miss a beat. I was in his studio last month in the middle of a winter blizzard, and in the hour i was there had seen him personally shoot 15 engagement sessions and sit down and book brides that same day. the man is a legend! he still got Long Island Photographer of the year award and many others. i would feel privileged to be able to hear his presentation. I’m sure he’ll discuss “the elephant in the room” just to get the hecklers to chill the F@q out.” he is down to earth, I let him know i was a photographer and let me in with open arms and gave me some damn good information. maybe you should hear his side of the story before you muzzle him and hit him with a scarlet letter.

  • Lori Hoddinott

    I hope that no serious Nikon photographer attends his session. We must stand together against the online thievery plaguing our industry.

  • Candice Armit

    Doug made a mistake and owned up to it. He is still a fantastic man, mentor and photographer. He does so much for the photography community and help new photographers and seasoned photographers alike. He is never too busy to respond to anyone who asks him for help. Nikon is lucky to have him speak for them. If you don’t like him, don’t listen to him but don’t stop those of us who do. Have you never made a mistake?

  • Dana Nordlund

    Doug Gordon is a great teacher. Nikon knows this, that’s why they endorse him. I have learned a lot from Doug. I support him and believe in him.

  • FelicityC

    Doug Gordon is a caring and gentle lover, and that’s why Nikon endorses him. The way he caresses and speak sweet nothings at his photos makes him more than qualified to speak at WPPI. You people should be ashamed of yourselves! If only you knew the gentle touch of this sweet man and his photos then you would not speak poorly of him.

  • Heather

    I would like to thank you for this post. I could not have said it better.. Everything I was thinking is in this post…

  • Heather

    We have all made mistakes. Doug has apologized. Now move on.. I have read some of the cruel comments on here and can’t believe that there is so much hatred from fellow photographers. He has done so much for this industry and to bash him in such a harsh way is just wrong. If you do not like him then do not watch him. There will be plenty of other things to see at WPPI.
    Yes I am a Nikon user and yes I have been going to Doug’s workshops for years. He is amazing at lighting, posing, and photography in general. Most of us could not shoot the way he does. He knows how to run a VERY successful business that I could only dream of having. His staff is happy which is a reflection of him and how he treats them. I learn something new EVERY time I go to a workshop. I can say that he has changed the way I shoot and made me a better photographer. I am honored to call him a fellow photographer and friend.

  • Ryan

    Doug might have done something wrong but that should not discredit his photographic ability. Nikon probably selected to sponsor him because of his technical ability and experience as a true professional in this industry. I don’t think that Doug should be punished by any blog posts from last year. He is in all respect a Professional Photographer and Nikon selected him for a reason. Let him speak and continue as a Nikon sponsored professuonal teaching others a this art.

  • peaceetc

    It’s well know Thomas uses an alias, like a lot of artists out there. He’s been completely upfront about it, and his real name is easily found. I’ve known Thomas online for many years, and I’ve seen him reference his real name many times.

    Does Bob Dylan have to constantly use a disclaimer that Robert Zimmerman is his real name? Of course not.

    What Doug Gordon did is entirely different. He outright stole from many others, and lied about it and covered it up for years. That you would equate them is… odd.

  • Mathyou

    I don’t understand why people are so cruel about this… We are all human and we all make mistakes… It’s not how one stumbles but rather how they rise from the ashes. Doug is a very inspirational person from his photography to all the facets of his life. Everyone is so fixed on making sure he is crucified and I ask why? He has earned all of his success and has built his following… He is one of the best, and still a great man for taking ownership of his mistakes.. People hope that this is the end of the infamous Doug Gordon but in fact this is just the beginning. People need to look beyond the mistakes and realize that he is in fact saving this industry.

  • David Seaton

    Can’t wait to see Doug at Nikon. He is not presenting for WPPI to ban him from that would be like saying sorry people used a Nikon for bad photos and we should not allow Nikon to be at WPPI. People make mistakes, bad decisions take bad advise. Doug is a true professional he gives of his time, talent, whether your new to the business or been there for a long time Doug will be there to answer your questions and offer advise. I believe that if you stand up for something you should put your name to it. Life is easy to complain, criticize others if you never make a mistake that means you have never done anything life is about making mistakes learning from them and show others how to avoid making the same mistakes.

  • Mds

    15 engagement sessions in one hour? Puhlease.

  • Melissa

    You seem too quick to come to this dudes rescue. Makes me wonder why.

  • Radley Muller

    Over 10 years ago I experienced Doug. He was an inspiration at first, then became a mentor to me and my photography. He has been a mentor to me and my photography. I now call him a friend. He has been by my “photographic side” thru all my trials and tribulations – as I will stand by him. Things happen. Look past the trivial stuff and see the peron and all that he has contributed to our profession.

  • Mds

    I really don’t understand the appeal of the dudes work, so I’m not sure how he got so big, other than being able to manipulate and sell to desperate people. Extreme extreme tilt, unnatural colors, awkward poses…just weird.

  • Heather

    In all my 25+ years in the photography industry Doug Gordon stands out among a handful as one of the most upstanding, honest, kind people I know. Anyone saying negative things clearly doesnt know him personally, nor the details of the situation, or they couldnt possibly petition against him in this regard. In addition to having one of the biggest hearts, he is passionate about sharing and helping photographers succeed. He made a mistake, and has taken responsibility for it. Why punish those who can still learn from him, not only technical skills, but also how to treat people and move through this world with kindness and compassion. I say let he who is without sin cast the first stone… and let DG do what he does best, sharing his knowledge, expertise, wisdom and JOY.

  • Rick G

    Why was my comment marked as spam?