Walking through my favorite used book store last week, I saw a picture that I recognized starring up at me. It was Johnny Cash standing in front of Folsom Prison, taken by my friend Jim Marshall. The book was a kind of biography of Cash with the emphasis on his journey to Folsom Prison to record “Live at Folsom Prison.”
Jim was the photographer on the trip, shooting the 2 days of rehearsals and the 2 shows on the day of recording. I don’t think anyone I know has ever gotten better access to a major event, and produced so many great pictures as what Jim did those 3 days. The story is amazing, and Jim’s pictures are unbelievable in their honesty and composition. To be put into that situation with unlimited access is astounding, based on today’s restrictions. Imagine Beyonce letting a photographer within 50 feet of her anywhere!
Speaking of Beyonce, she has decided that on her currant world tour, she will ban all photographers. She has hired someone to follow her tour and photograph her shows, and he will put three to five images up on a download site each night for the publications to use, to make sure that no “Unflattering” photos, such as the ones that cropped up after her Super Bowl performance in January.
So this leaves the process wide open for all cell phone users and point and shoot camera users to sell their images to the wire services. Think of the quality we will be seeing!
From the Huffington Post:
Beyoncé Bans All Pro Photographers From Her Concerts
Last week, exactly 2 months after the Superbowl ‘Unflattering photos’ fiasco, Beyoncé started her ‘Mrs. Carter Show’ world tour. As someone who followed the ‘Unflattering’ story very closely, and as someone who is a big fan of hers, I had no doubt Beyoncé and her publicist will learn from their mistakes on how to deal with bad pictures taken of her, and wont make horrible mistakes again. I was wrong. Beyoncé banned all professional photographers from her shows, hoping this way no unflattering photos will make it to mainstream media. She was wrong. What happened is that media outlets purchased low-quality and not-so-flattering images taken by her fans.
Beyoncé’s publicist, the same one who emailed and asked websites to remove images she didn’t like few months back, decided that this time they wouldn’t allow photographers to shoot her shows. Instead, they would provide 3-5 pre-approved images their own photographer shot for the media to use after each show. They wanted to control what images the media had access to. But we all know how media works – they will do anything possible to get images that other publications don’t have. If they can’t send a photographer to give them original photos, the next best thing they can do is buy photos from fans in the front rows in the arena (cameras were not allowed, but no one can take away phones). It’s the next best thing for them, and a huge nightmare for Beyoncé and her publicist.
Beyoncé The Mrs. Carter Show 2013 World Tour guidelines for Photographers (via Music Photographers):
There are no photo credentials for this show. Local news outlets, including print and online will be given a link to download photos from every show. They will need to register to access the photos.