Last week I had an hour long phone conversation with a long time friend, one of the legendary publicists in the business. The conversation started with her asking me to photograph one of her clients (imagine that, a publicist asking a photographer to work with one of their bands). It continued with (as usually happens with me these days) a discussion of the state of the music business as it relates to photographers.
We were in agreement about most issues, all of which I have talked about here in the past. Then she brought up a great point that I have always been loath to discuss. “You know,” she said, “some photographers are real assholes.” YIKES, she is so correct.
We went on to discuss that sometimes (most of the time) it is easier to just eliminate the whole problem by restricting all photographers than to single out and eliminate the Aholes. Can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to scream when a photographer walks into the pit and puts his bag on the front of the stage. That stage belongs to the band- not the photographers!! The photo pit is a work are- if you are not working, move to the side. Just had a conversation this week with the head of publicity for a number of festivals in Chicago. We are discussing a plan where only working photographers are allowed into the photo pit. Another big problem is the fact that we are standing between the band and the paying customers (usually the ones that have paid the most money for their tickets). Every time there is a complaint from a fan that photographers are blocking the view of the fans by standing on the barricade, that is one more strike against us, and one more step toward the day when we will no longer have any access to do our jobs.
There is already a venue in Chicago (named after the city in fact) that makes all photographers shoot from the wall on the far right hand side of the venue, because they had too many complaints from paying customers. I now have to go through a half hour process every time I go there to get the access I need to take the pictures that I am getting paid to take!