It's been uttered recently that there are too many "unpaid" photographers in the pit that are taking work from other photographers who are trying to make a living from music photography. Let's just get one thing straight from the off... of the many music photographers I know, very few of them make a living from music photography, some of them make a little and a lot of them make less than that... so take your dreams of fame and fortune and dash them on some cold, wet rock somewhere... (and I don't mean "it goes to eleven" rocks) It's 6:30 am and I've been up an hour trying to get my little boy (above) to go back to sleep, he's not up for it, so I've handed him off to the mothership. I've had these thoughts whirring around my head since the last Podgoat recording... Danny North mentioned that some other bloke, Dan? (from Australia... typical complaining Australians) had penned a well balanced article on gig photography and how there ain't enough room for us all to be involved. I'd suggest there is, and when asked on Podgoat, I said the same but couldn't put my finger on "why"
Why? Well, what I was trying to articulate, and failed, was that there are as many places at gigs as there are publications and webzines that want images - if the PR / Band / Band Management will allow it, which they won't... So, there are places enough for those that are a. from a major publication, b. in with the band, c. good blaggers... Now, Danny North, he's an NME boy amongst many other things - and a damn find music photographer, one whom I've admired for a good while... but I don't see him having trouble getting access to gigs with his credentials - you just need to take a look at his website, the wall full of AAA passes and, his gallery, to know that he's seemingly "The god of Access All Areas" ...so why would Danny complain?
I've been shooting music, just because I like doing it, for a few years now.. I've shot lots of stuff, from Paolo Nutini in my mate's lounge room to U2 at Wembley... Metallica, Prodigy, Alice in Chains, NiN, Counting Crows... look, just lots, they're a couple of the ones you lot may have heard of... and I can recall at every gig seeing someone that was there as a favour / friend of the promoter / for some random web magazine... they were shooting with a compact (on a few occasions) ...with a dSLR on some occasions, and 50% of those asked someone / me / before the gig "what settings should I use" Does Danny North need to be afraid of these people?
No... He doesn't... There's a vast difference between what he's going to capture and what they're ultimately going to produce, but only for a little while... because at some point "baby's going to grow up" and she's going to be thinking "hey, maybe I could make a buck from this" and that is the point where Danny needs to worry, right? No... No? Yeah, no... (did I just do a yeah, nah) because NME already have Danny, the world know's about Danny... and those publications that hire Danny are going to keep hiring Danny as long as he doesn't stuff up... but he needs to keep pushing the envelope doesn't he? Yep... if he drops his game and one of those amateurs with a dSLR, or heaven forbid, a compact! gets good and gets noticed and some random agency approaches said beginner... (with the promise of fame and fortune, right?) well, then we're crossing into the realm of someone potentially stealing / taking... actually, legitimately doing work that Danny could have done...
What's the bottom line? If you're good at your trade and you're constantly pushing to be the best you can be, you're going to keep getting the work until someone better comes along and that, my friends, is life... So Danny, watch your back fella, I'm practising my damn FStops!