One would think that, what with this being the era of the ever-hoisted cameraphone, musicians and their “people” would encourage professional photographers to spend as much time angling for the perfect–or, at the very least, not pixelated!–shot as they possibly could. But one would be wrong; for example, photogs working Saturday night’s Stevie Wonder show at Madison Square Garden were apparently only allowed to shoot the first five to 10 seconds of Stevie’s entrance and the first 60 seconds of his first song before they had to get up and out. And photographers at other shows have noticed that the time they’re given to shoot shows has gone down, even as restrictions on the masses bringing in their own cameras have been loosened:
Rahav Segev, a photographer who shoots for Rolling Stone, The New York Times and other publications, said he was at a concert with several performers at the Beacon Theater in New York when he was instructed to shoot only the first 30 seconds of each performance. “You’re just getting into a rhythm” when you have to stop, he said.
“I’ve been encountering that more lately,” Mr. Segev said of time restrictions. “Or they put you really far away. More acts are doing that than they used to.”
While I can understand that artists wouldn’t want to be distracted by people snapping away at them incessantly while they’re trying to entertain an audience, it does seem strange to me that they’re clamping down on the time that flattering photos can be taken of them at the same time that the number of amateurs out there who have access to YouTube, Flickr, et al, is spiking. Is it just a question of artists and managers being able to establish some sort of control in an industry where they frequently have less and less of it?
That said, the photo editors and photographers who are in a huff over this have apparently never turned around to see the sea of cameraphone viewfinders held aloft by the people who paid to get into the show.
“It’s harder for me to find that amazing shot,” Michele Romero, a photo editor at Entertainment Weekly, said of shooting only the beginning of a show. “If something happens, it happens at an encore or halfway through a concert. Imagine if Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar and no one saw it. That kind of photography doesn’t happen anymore.”
Rapidfire dissemination of spontaneous moments doesn’t happen anymore? You may want to tell that to Beyonce.