Great question, given that this has been a contentious issue lately. FYI Music News takes a look.
You’ve got to applaud the Quebec newspapers boycott of those goofy photo contracts that seem to appear at every turn from celebrity musicians. We have arrived at a stand-off between bands and event photographers and management teams intent on controlling coverage as music gets to be more about money and power, rather than content.
I’ve been at concert photography a good thirty years and have witnessed the good and bad. The good – most of the marginal hangers-on who shot for sport – are now gone and, mostly, the talented gain front stage access. The over-crowded lens pit has been emptied!
The battle over who owns what and who gets to censor is heating up mostly out of public view as sophisticated “smartphoners” snap away and everyday “selfie” collectors shoot at will and post the most dreadful images.
I’ve endured the Beyonce clamp down. Even had a lens taken away by security who said it was beyond the acceptable size for my camera. I did manage to snap eight to ten concert images. Here’s the keeper, no one cares. The photos that count are those that people have an emotional attachment to. Beyonce is a throw-away, a brief click, look and toss. No one cares anymore.
The magic is gone – the mystique is no longer there. So when a Dave Grohl demands ownership and control – why sign? There’s no value to that photo. There may be value to catching him flee on foot while being chased by a woolly mammoth, but that won’t be displayed in any fine art galleries.
Taylor Swift? There are at least a 150 billion cell phone snaps floating around. Do we need another?
I thought I’d ask a few fabulous photographers who endure the daily bullshit – who with skill and passion make the artist look spectacular — and get their take on the deteriorating state of concert photography in the age of the posturing Kardashians. Here’s what they have to say: