Last week, I talked about the article that I wrote for Elmore Magazine. It opened the floodgates. Many emails, many responses (posted on last weeks blog post) and many phone calls. Next week I will start excerpting some of the emails. Several issues seem to be consistent:
1. Almost all of the photographers of my generation that contacted me are not shooting very much any more, if at all (I realized earlier in the week that this might be the biggest week of music in Chicago’s history, and I am not picking up a camera at all this week, except to shoot some pictures of a friend’s 12 year old daughter busking at a farmers market this Saturday morning- NO RESTRICTIONS AND NO CONTRACT!!!) Meanwhile, I am skipping U2, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, The Van’s Warped Tour, and 38 bands at the Dave Matthews Caravan.
2. Most people blame the problems of these times on the introduction of digital photography. I think they are only partially right. Photography is photography- it doesn’t matter what the medium is. The same skills apply. The big difference is that digital makes it much cheaper to be an entry lever photographer. $400.00 buys you a professional quality camera, and there is no film or processing expenses. So…. Rather than a magazine hiring a photographer, they just go out and buy a camera and give it to a writer to take along and get some photos! Or, the amateur with a small DSLR finds out that he or she can get a photo pass and be in the front row, AND see their name next to a picture in a magazine or on a website, and presto- they are a professional. Many problems with this- the biggest one being that they don’t care if they get paid, basically devaluing photography down to zero. More to come in the following weeks
Talking about the aforementioned U2, who were in town earlier this week, someone forwarded me an email with instructions for photographing the show. Here are a few interesting points:
· Located in secondary barricade.
· First three songs, no flash.
· Suggested lens size between 75-200 (no larger).
· Equipment: no tripods or monopods permitted.
So, here is how I see it. They first tell you that you will shooting from a distance. Then they tell you what lens you can bring (one that is not long enough to shoot from that distance and get anything good) Then they tell you that even if you bring a lens longer than what the require, you can’t bring a tripod or monopod. I for one cannot hand hold a 300mm lens, especially under low light conditions in a crowd. I was told that the light during the first three songs sucked. So, maybe they should have just told everyone to stay home. Would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.
My question would be: If U2 were invited to play the Grammy’s live on TV, and they received an email the day before the show, telling them that The Edge had to play a Fender guitar and that Larry could not play with cymbals on his kit, how would they respond. So where do they get off telling photographers what equipment they could use. Pretty soon there will be no Nikon or no Canon rules. Where will this stop?