Rant & Cartoon – Bloody Photographers

(Originally published in Waxxx magazine, February 2012)


So here’s where we are with gigs at the moment. Small gigs, the type that have about 40 or 50 people who you probably know individually, watching a few bands who you might also know.

And then there’s them.

They’ve been wandering into the side of the frame and spoiling the shot for a while now. Today they’re all too visible, obscuring the band you paid to see. Photographers. Thousands of them. Constantly snapping away at everything that either a) moves, or b) doesn’t.

Once upon a time, dear readers, photographers never bothered with such small fry gigs. Anyone claiming to be professional went to the biggest names. They were limited by how much film they could afford and/or carry and these stars insisted that photos were taken for three songs and then you could very much piss off. And that pass doesn’t get you backstage either, so forget about drinking the rider.

Things changed for one simple reason: digital. Now a few quid can get you a memory card that holds thousands of top quality pictures. Getting into the big shows requires effort so there they now are, snapping away because there’s literally nothing to stop them.

Well, you’d think that spoiling a gig for everyone might stop them. But they genuinely don’t seem to care. And boy do the bands suffer. Having 1,000 flashbulbs (no exaggeration at even the smallest gigs) go off in your face at point blank range is not a nice way to spend an evening.

Yet it doesn’t make sense. They may be toting expensive-looking hardware – big enough to give you a serious clunk on the head – but they’re unlikely to be making money from 200 shots of Squitty And The Blood Boils. I think they genuinely believe they’re artists (like DJing, photography is a ‘no effort’ area of artistic endeavour), who will one day have a hugely admired exhibition of their work on the shitty local bands of their area, despite absolutely no-one wanting to ever see it.

I think we – bands and audiences alike – should stand up to these world class bullies. Audiences, put your hands in front of their lenses at every opportunity. Why not, they’re doing the equivalent to you. And anyone on stage, feel free to use this speech whenever you like:

“Hey you. Yes you. Stop pretending you’re invisible. Although I am now blind, thanks to you.

“Nobody cares about these hundreds of photos you’re taking. Nobody. No magazine or website in the world. No art gallery. Not even your parents, who presumably bought that equipment for you, because no way are you making a living out of this. Nobody cares.

“We all know where these photos are going: Facebook, where they’ll be viewed by fewer people than are in this room. And to get that, you had to ruin it for everyone else didn’t you? For the people who wanted to enjoy this event the way it was supposed to be, live. Not stored on a memory card.

“So please put your camera away and join the rest of the crowd. You can either dance at the front or join the surly bastards at the back. You are not above the crowd, you are beneath it and everybody here hates you.

“And when you next plan to go to a gig like this, why not think about that? Everybody hates you. Now, we’ll play a song.”



About klausjoynson
I'm a writer, editor, musician, DJ and cartoonist. Contact me at: klausjoynson(at)gmail.com or follow me on Twitter: @KlausJoynson

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