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In this world, if you stand still, you are left behind. It’s with this thought that I continually try to push myself and cover varied types of events, although usually staying fairly local. Last year it was Goodwood and this year I have a few other local alternative events lined up. I think this is one good way of advancing yourself. After all, I have moved from just working with buildings to covering the entertainment industry fairly successfully – who would have though that were possible.

This week I applied for a press pass to a local (but well large and well known) event that I have fancied shooting at for a couple of years. I exchanged a couple of emails with the press officer and read all the media accreditation information and I now feel I no longer want to work with them. Why?

Before I go into details I do not want to name or shame the event or the press officer. Nor do I assume that I am a great photographer or worthy of any special treatment. I just feel hughly at odds with the sentiments expressed in the communications. The following are excerpts from the communications with my thoughts following;

With the current economic situation and our wishes at xxxxx to keep the accreditations to bona-fide members of the Media”

Perfect. I attached my press card to my email.

This is not to say that we do not wish to encourage new participants as they are our future but we need to remove those that have been using our events for their own gains.”

First question; “own gains”. Everybody that gets into photography as a career does so for a reason. It may be to create art, document wrongs, show social injustice but the bottom line is all members of the (freelance photographic) media sell our work for self gain. After all, we have families to support, food to buy. I actually think that this is just a case of semantics and what is meant is that they need to protect their “brand” or “image”. This aspect I totally agree with as it also occurs in heavily in the entertainment industry (music etc.) and I think any self respecting freelancer would be happy to sign a contract that limits the use of the images to editorial use.

I know what it is like to start and it is not easy – there are a lot out there now.”

and

P.S. If you shoot ‘Film’ and use Nikon F5s you will get an hon media membership!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) There are a few Non digital types there me included.”

Well I ditched my film and darkroom years ago and there is the obvious assumption here that I am “Finger Happy Snapper” who would not know one end of a film canister from an enlarger. Digital is the future, it enables images to be delivered to clients within seconds, however to achieve you still need a complete and thorough knowledge of the photographic medium.

All of the above sentiments I can understand and agree with (to some extent), but here is the killer for me;

I can assure you any thing that is different has been tr
ied over 21 years”

A single sentence that I find odious and hugely arrogant. How can anyone say that it has all been done in the field of event coverage photography. That is dismissing the possibility of any of todays or tomorrows photographers contributing to the history of photography.

If you place 2 photographers side by side, shooting the same scene, the personal feeling, the view of the photographers will vary, different angles will be used, timing, different images will result. Bresson was a master. I have no doubt that if another photographer was alongside him as he worked, only Bresson will have created the images he created.

I cover lots of music events alongside other photographers. How often do we produce identical images? Never.

At the premiere this week I delivered 5 images of Jennifer Lopez. Other photographers for my agency delivered far more. However, It’s one of my images on the front page of their site (one of the other photographers was actually standing in front of me with a better view and took probably treble the frames that I did).

So, do the older generation of press photographers do feel that this younger generation have nothing to offer? I hope not, but until this arrogance subsides, until the current crop retire and leave more room for the up and coming, I wonder at the ability of possible stars to get the access they require to break in….