Access

My biggest problem- access is continually being cut (soon there will be none at all).

This week, Rick Morrissey, writing in the Chicago Sun Times, discusses access for sports reporters. He describes a scene before Super Bowl 3 when Joe Namath sat poolside at a Fort Lauderdale hotel, surrounded by writers, three days before the game. There are no Jets personnel trying to stop him. He and the writers are just chatting. As Rick asked:

Was Namath worse for the experience?

Were the Jets?

Did the world fall apart because the big, bad media talked with him?

Namath and the Jets won the Super Bowl, Sports Illustrated got a great photograph, and those reporters gave their readers what they couldn’t have gotten from a formal press conference.

As he finished, his last line said it all:

“If sports writers tried getting that close to an NFL player today, he would probably get tased.

So it seems that sports writers are getting a taste of what we have been getting for years!! Without access, we cannot do our jobs. This is the point that managers and publicists do not seem to understand. I have spent the last year scanning photos from my archives, and I am astounded as I look at them how much access I had. This from the same artists that now restrict photographers. The most interesting part of the conversation is that the artists either don’t even know it is going on, or do now but don’t understand why!

A few years ago, I went to photograph a band called Young the Giant. I was standing backstage talking to the road manager, who was telling me that I could only shoot the first three songs. There was a guy (obviously a member of the band), standing with us, who asked “Why do we only let people shoot three songs? We are proud of our show. We like people to see it in pictures.” The road manager then sighed, and said, OK- I guess you can shoot the whole show. The next day, I sent a few JPEGS to their manager (from the end of the show). He called me and said: “These pictures are great. How did you get them?” When I told him, there was silence on the other side of the phone. Finally, he said, “Well, I guess we should let people shoot the whole show.”

One small victory- not enough to get me out of the house these days

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