Many people have responded (but almost no publicists). Here are excerpts from some of the responses:
From Mark Pucci Mark Pucci Media
Great to hear from you! Thanks for sending your story in the new issue of Elmore. Your pix accompanying the story perfectly illustrate what great live concert photography is all about – capturing the moment. It is sad when controlling managers/labels/artists/publicists dictate what you have to go through these days to work your art; and I certainly agree with your assessment as to where things have gotten. It’s weird that professional photographers are put through such restrictions, yet the deluge of crappy YouTube video shot from fans in the audience that proliferates these days on the web is some of the worst stuff I’ve ever seen.
I’m fortunate as a publicist to have worked with a label such as Capricorn Records in the ’70s, and again in the ’90s when we didn’t subscribe to that form of censorship fro the most part. I’m equally fortunate in that now all the artists my company works with are in the non-mainstream music genres such as blues, folk, alternative country, roots and soul, where creative photo coverage is encouraged and restrictions for photographers at concerts are pretty much non-existent, even at the big festivals where these artists perform.
From Jean-Christophe Swiss photographer
A good thing is that the sun is actually shining outside my window, as I try recovering from so much accurate bitterness and longing for a time when stage photographers were allowed to make their job with passion, and their work was praised and cherished. From my little experience it’s hard today, but having not lived in the “golden times”, I continue to be fed (intellectually only, most of the time) by the unique expression sometimes offered to my eye. To live from stage pictures is hard, even in a small country like mine (switzerland), but I will continue up to just before the moment when I would not love my subjects any more. I hope that I will give you a bit of my young+crazy optimism with this comment
From Richard Derk / Picture Editor, Los Angeles Times
It’s sad to see the good old days recede as fast as our hairlines. You are correct that people who work for a non-living wage only destroy their own futures. It’s also true that there is a lack of quality in much of the digital flotsam about today. It’s always been about relationships that develop over time, over multiple assignments. The only time I’m OK with getting older is when I realize that the time I came up in, newspaper wars in Chicago, access to do good work etc. were thrilling times. Good work and people are still about but there’s a lot of undergrowth to cut through.
From Rick Gould West coast photographer
I walked into a show by some “legendary” artists a couple weeks ago. I was told we would not be shooting in the pit (it bothered the performers) but we would be “reasonably close”. When myself and several other photographers were ushered into this very nice venue, we were placed up against the wall at the very back of the hall. I looked at the publicist and said nicely, “I wasn’t prepared to be so far away.” She said, “Well this is all the promoter is giving us.” I took off my photo pass and handed it to her, thanked her kindly and left. As I was walking out she said, “Don’t you even want to stay for the show?” “No, thanks” I said, “I drove three hours to get here on a day I could have been with my kids, or working on another project at my studio…and if I can’t do my job properly, I’d rather just make it an early night.”
I remember having the same chat with Jim Marshall and a lot of other guys. We all agree that if we can’t work the way we need to work and are given the courtesy we deserve to do our job properly, then we’d rather just stay at home and leave it to the digital point-and-shooters. We got into this because of the music, the freedom and the ability to creatively express ourselves and document/archive for generations to come. Now it has been reduced to something crass and common and uninteresting in many cases. There are some great new photographers that have come out of this era, too…but most of them would agree with me about the way things are headed.
From Janet Macoska Cleveland based photographer
Andy Leach, who runs the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, read your article in ELMORE magazine and sent me a PDF to read. FABULOUS!!! Wish everyone in the music biz, publicists, magazines, etc….could read this.
I pretty much have taken the same path as you in that I spend a lot of time marketing my archives. I do shoot for the Rock Hall.
More to come next week.