Last weekend was the big extravaganza for the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll hall. A friend of mine and I were talking and both of us agreed that is wasn’t even worth the phone call to try to get photo access. Sure enough, they gave a photo agency exclusive rights to the concert, and unless you were the New York Times- forget about it!
This reminded me of a few stories:
A few months before the hall opened, a photo researcher started calling around to all of the well known music photographers working at that time. They were putting together an interactive touch screen exhibit and wanted many photos from us. Of course, because this was such a great honor for us, we would not get paid for the photos, but would get access to the concert on opening day and would be able to go in a side door a few hours before the museum opened for the first time. Of course, many of us agreed to this. So, I found my way to Cleveland the day before, got myself a room and woke up to a beautiful day on opening day. Walked over to the museum with another photographer and went around to the side door. Standing there were two gentlemen trying to get in. (their names weren’t on the list). No one in the museum knew who they were and they were about to be turned away, so my friend and I let them use our second tickets. (Their names were Iggy Pop and Lou Reed). After we viewed the museum, we got our equipment and proceeded to the stadium next door, where we were told that we would have to shoot from the sound board- at the 50 yard line! I got one usable photo from that event, and that took a lot of cropping and Photoshop work. The photo is more usable for the subject matter than the actual quality
Flash forward to 2005. My friend Buddy Guy was being inducted, and I asked if I could shoot the ceremony. Many of my friends in New York told me that I was crazy to try, but I figured it was worth a shot. Called the rock hall and I was given credentials as one of the 16 photographers lucky enough to shoot the event. The day of the show we were told to arrive around 5PM and bring a long lens. When we were all gathered together we were escorted to our seats in the balcony at the back of the ballroom and given our instructions:
We couldn’t leave our seats with our cameras
If we wanted to use the facilities, we had to leave our equipment at our seats and be escorted to the bathrooms
I asked if we could ask the waiters for a glass of water once in a while (we were seated between tables of audience members). I was told ABSOLUTELY NOT!! If we wanted water, a press person would get bottles of water from the press room for us. At that point I suggested that she bring up a bunch of bottles for us so that she wouldn’t have to be running back and forth. She thought that was a great idea and left to get the water. That was the last time we saw her that evening. Half way through the evening, I started begging for water from the O’Jay’s who were sitting next to us. They were drinking champagne and weren’t drinking their water.
By the way, when the show started, I found that I was placed behind the camera boom, so I only got one fairly good shot from that whole evening! Seems to be a theme here.
Oh well, guess the Rock and Roll Hall is scratched off my list .