It’s always a good idea to follow the laws established by governing bodies. Even if not strictly enforced, laws were made to allow the preservation of peace. How about rules requested by organizations? They’re usually more codes of conduct that range from specific requests that keep areas safe and sound to suggestions that keep polite society comfortable. How about strictly prohibited photography policies at shows? Is there any situation when it’s acceptable to be disobedient?
Venues are usually fairly relaxed when it comes to photography. Tapers and video recorders do get more hassle, though usually asking will be alright. So when I saw this sign at the recent Robin Trower concert, I took a photo of it in a hurry, and figured at least I’d have that shot for the upcoming review.
I don’t have professional camera equipment other than my smartphone, though I do enjoy politely practicing photography when I go to concerts. I’ve taken some really cool shots, especially when I got up close like I did with Wednesday 13 and Lordi or when I can find a unique angle like I did with Crack Sabbath and Daikaiju.
I’m proud that twelve-thousand people have seen one of my photos of the Video Game Pianist’s performance at PAX. I might also practice photography during a somewhat boring band to maybe engage me more. If there’s a no photography policy though, which has only happened with Glenn Danzig and the aforementioned show, then I mostly respect that…
Except when no one else does!
If the venue staff are policing the audience and throwing out dirty photographers or tapers, then that sends a clear message: follow venue policies or get out! If the staff are just watching the audience, like the audience is watching the performers, then who’s watching the staff?
No, really. If there’s a firm policy, police it!
Instead, I saw at least three people blatantly take photographs before I decided I wanted to attempt a stealth shot. I’d already dimmed my display before getting there so I covered my smartphone with my hand, and when the guards weren’t looking as though I were a spy in an action thriller, took the shot.
As the night went on, I got more bold, along with the other rulebreakers. One patron even took multiple photos with the flash on! The audacity! That was worse than when I saw Death and this photographer got up close for a few minutes, took a barrage of photos with a strobing flash, and most weren’t even any good!
I wouldn’t have been terribly offended by the no photography policy, even if there weren’t stock photos that I could edit with credit for the upcoming concert review. What I do mind is when the rules aren’t enforced, so people can bend the rules, like speeding or other seemingly victimless crimes. All or nothing.
Don’t have policies if you’re not going to enforce them!