I was nearly kicked out of a Glenn Danzig concert years ago for taking a photograph. Just as he has a right to a “no photography policy,” I have a right to push the limit. The show hadn’t started, so I got off with a stern warning, unlike others that were dragged out later on. During yesterday’s Testament concert, I had time to think about concert etiquette, so let’s start with the most controversial one!
My overarching life ethos, if I had one, might be complete autonomy. You have the right to do whatever you want unless it negatively impacts others.
When I see people get upset at shows over photography, it’s because the photographers were rude. I’m no perfect exception. Someone considered me rude after taking this Anti-Flag photo because they hit my shoulder and introduced themselves passive aggressively. The security guard wasn’t happy when I took four quick shots during Аркона [Arkona], which I only noticed later. That aforementioned Danzig lecturer, too. When there’s an opening, you should take it! If you get the shot, great!, and if not, you must accept the consequences of your actions.
I don’t intend to be rude. Part of my justification includes knowing a few things:
My tools: My camera is my cellphone. I’ve taken 2836 photos since January 01 2017, excluding ones I’ve used here or uploaded to Instagram. It’s painful seeing so many people fumble with their cameras as they try to share their experiences. I can pull out my camera, take the shot, and return it within maybe 7 seconds? Get that practice down!
General place: Just by existing you’ve caused general area displacement. I don’t knowingly stand in anyone’s way, tend not to record over a few seconds just catching something like cool lighting, and photograph unobtrusively. If you don’t have a professional camera or haven’t set up your taping gear before the show, get a shot and go.
Respecting audience: Know your audience. Are you sharing your concert experience to an exclusive few or the world? I haven’t seen many photos from the people up front, like this guy’s shot during Powerman 5000, so if you’re not intending to share or archive the experience, maybe keep it to a respectful minimum?
I did take 89 photos last night. Some could have temporarily impeded the views of others. The audience member in the leading photo held out his camera for maybe 20 seconds? I didn’t find it disrespectful. I think it’s better that something exists than not. That we’ve salvaged and documented the experience.
Danzig might be reacting harshly to a problem that could be fixed mildly.
Taking the bleach approach to cleaning a problem that only needs mild soap. Culture should evolve with technology. We’re reaching a point where people are slaves, or addicted “zombies,” to their cellphones. We should take a step back, remember some of those manners that we were taught about respecting others, and apply them to the new tools we have available to us.
Just be polite!