Tip towards the pit – Press connections

Excluding concert photographers, very few people are aware of the difficult procedure to get to the legendary photo-pass, a sticker that allows you to be 10 sweaty minutes in the pit:
“First three songs no flash”.

To start, we battle few days by means of endless e-mails and phone calls to get to the right contact. I will never figure out how many hundreds are the people working behind a tour!
Then a second round of innumerable e-mails follows; to be okayed for the pass, to be put on the press-list and, very important, to have a confirmation message to print out, ready to be shown at the venue.
It sounds hard to believe but, after all of this procedure, quite often we and our cameras arrive at the gig to discover that our name is missing from any list left at the box office!

I have to acknowledge that, to my UK experience, 98% of times PRs, Managers and Bands are nice, professional and helpful guys who work hard to help and support photographers to get in.

The 2% left it is the pain in the ass.

One option. We sort the pass out, we then arrive at the gig to discover that to be allowed to the pit we must sign a weird and, very likely, unlawful agreement.
In it we have to declare that we are shooting for specific publications (that we have to write name after name on the agreement sheet) and we are not allowed to use our images for any further use. Heaven for freelance, isn’t it?

I talked about one of these in the Queens of the Stone Age photo tip.
That was my last time. I have chosen myself to give a miss to any gig with such a policy and I know many photographers sympathetic with this decision.
Reason is that if this became the standard procedure, live music photography would be threatened to death.
The next time I am offered one, I’ll keep it, walk off and publish it in its entirety in this place and online forums.

The final 1% can be even worse. Sporadically it happens that you stumble upon an eccentric manager and have to deal with the most outrageous requests. In the first of these pages I am reporting the e-mail exchange between myself and the manager of an important American band.
You can read in its entirety dreamlike pretense that turned out to be a not well hidden blackmail.
You may believe what you are reading is a bit inflated, trust me it is all absolutely true, I just omitted private names and trackable references.

One Response to “Tip towards the pit – Press connections”

  1. I totally agree with you about the 2%. I keep telling people that thinking live music photography is easy is seriously mistaken. I’ve reached that point now that if trying to get a pass will be an epic struggle, I just move on. Don’t even get me started on the model release forms…

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