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For some, Saturday night would have been a trip down memory lane at The Brighton Centre as “Bad Company” played.

Before Bad Company though, we were treated to the legend that is Joe Perry (of Aerosmith Fame). A treat it was; as well as his playing, we got 4 songs to photograph him! I think this is the first time where the band is 4 strong but all the focus (and lights) were on the lead guitar.

Both acts have obviously performed thousands of gigs in their time and whilst they were undoubtedly performing for the paying audience (quite rightly), it was clear that they also made sure we (the 4 photographers) got good shots. (In fact a couple of poses were way over-the-top, especially considering the age of the performer, but hey, they were enjoying themselves).

Howard Leese of Bad Company

Howard Leese of Bad Company

Paul Rodgers
Paul Rodgers

Now something I have to get off my chest (a rant)…..

As a photographer, I get a pass to a gig by applying to the PR agent (either for the tour or performer) and it is up to this PR who gets passes.

I know I am not well known, but the agency I work for is and I have shot many of the big acts performing in the UK over the past 12 months.

Last week I applied for a gig that is happening towards the end of April. I sent in my standard request, details, link to portfolio and 99% of the time I get a positive response. This time I did not… fair enough but after a couple of email exchanges, the final response is that “I need a publication to take your shots”.

You would think thats fine and fair but (and here is my issue), this same PR has said the same to me before. (Still fine). I know on that last occasion who shot the show (of a big name) and many were hobbyists, “wana-be’s”, some even with very little experience.

So, how did they get in? Small independent magazines (some web based), none of whom pay for content, some again written in spare time. I wonder what the total circulation of these are? Maybe I am missing the point and this is the future of media but at some point someone has to pay for the investment in time, equipment and experience surely? (For example, Saturday night one of my lenses broke, minimum replacement cost £500.00).

So here is my tip if you are starting out or want to get in to music photography; ally yourself to a local freebie magazine, use this to get access.

Maybe my agency is not big enough? Well my images are distributed to 35 territories world wide and they are cited in one of the industry “must read” books as one of the best agencies with whom to place images. (but are not Getty, the biggest, who I am sure will not have a problem getting a photographer a pass).

What is galling however is I know, come the summer festivals this PR agency will be sending out notes and requests to shot this new act or that new act at each of the festivals to gain coverage (as they did last year) … so they want us to help them to gain the success but once they have it, we can get lost…..