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No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers" UPDATE

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Postby pod on 01 Aug 2013 16:47

No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers" UPDATE

http://www.thedailyswarm.com/headlines/ ... ographers/

And no, I'm not an EDM photographer.
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Postby apotheosis on 01 Aug 2013 16:57

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

you set the bar, mate.
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Postby trogers on 01 Aug 2013 20:18

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

Cool video... saw a cameo by someone Dan and I knows in there.
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Postby pod on 01 Aug 2013 20:54

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

Aw thanks!

That being said, I just watched it, and yes, I have a few things to say.

First of all, let's get this out of the way.

- This seems staged. Swagger and "looking the part" go a long way of course, but at the end of the day, music festivals, especially Ultra, are generally a high-security affair and there's usually several layers of access as well as multiple forms of credentialing. The last time I shot Ultra was 2010, and at that point it was a cloth wristband specific to the day I was covering it, as well as a lanyard/laminate. Sure, you could fake the lanyard/laminate, but unless you had a sewing machine handy, you couldn't fake the wristband easily. So, yeah, this seems staged and maybe primed to go viral. The shit thing is that now you'll get imitators trying to pull the stunt off and hitting a huge brick wall.

- Along the same lines, I don't see Rukes lending his name to something that's as "underground" as this video pretends to be. Rukes, if you're reading, feel free to to tell me to shut up if I'm wrong.

- Also, nightlife photography didn't start with that guy in New York in 2000. It didn't even start with me. Seth (Red Eye) was doing it as early as 1997 and was partially an inspiration of mine even. I started in earnest in 1998. And before that, you had people like Patrick McMullan doing it in the 1970s and 1980s, in that "style" of being part of the party rather than fly-on-the-wall documentarian. Tina Paul chronicled the glory days of the Paradise Garage in the early-to-mid 1980s. And I'm sure there's innumerable others I'm missing. So no, it didn't magically start in 2000 with some hipster in New York. Not even close. Do you research kids.

- The writer for the Daily Swarm actually kind of got it right when he reviewed this piece, in that the producers seem to be the very camera-toting famewhores they criticize. Which actually plays into this being a setup.

- Disregarding the strong possibility this is a setup, the one takeaway of the piece is that the whole role of "nightlife photographer" or "EDM photographer" has definitely gone from a rarified part in the party pantheon to one of ubiquity. Rukes stated that it just used to be him at a party, now it isn't. The clubs I frequent seem to be a little insulated from it, since, for example, at Space it is usually just me, someone from At-Night, and someone from Red Eye, and the same idea carries over to other venues, but I've been in some nightclubs in this country where when it is a big event, the venue is awash with guys and girls with cameras.

Listen, everyone has to get their start somewhere, but it does really seem a lot of people have gotten into it for the wrong reason, which seems to be wherein they treat their camera and their access as a VIP pass for an event. That being said, there's plenty of other more cost-effective ways to party for free.

Now, as it stands, I've cut way back on my club shooting schedule for a few reasons. First of all, very few people can meet my price, even when I cut a deal with them. Secondly, it's a tough gig to do all the time. You're in a smoky, noisy environment for hours on end, and then you have to deliver the material on time, regardless of how hungover you are. But every night I go out to shoot, I still nail some images I'm absolutely thrilled about. If I didn't, to be honest, I wouldn't bother. If the thrill is gone, so am I.

Should I have been interviewed for this piece? Yeah totally. I'm enough of a narcissistic prick to know I could have definitely filled in the blanks in their little tale. However, since I've taken the unique path of not making Herculean efforts to market myself, my name factors little in the crowded ranks of nightlife photography. I accept that, that's fine. I have people that appreciate what I do, and pay for it. I put gas in the car and pay the rent.

I'm the guy in the corner the real veterans know and speak to, whereas the kids are clueless. It's like having a DJ convention with all these new-jack Swedes, and then there's a corner off to the side where, for some weird reason, DJ Harvey and a few people that look vaguely familiar are hanging out and ignoring everyone else.

The one thing I'm seeing though is that a lot of these guys' careers are tied to the EDM bubble itself. Unfortunately when there's a crash, they will have problems since they haven't diversified their photo skill set, or their media skill set in general. Shit, it's why I take the time to shoot landscapes and am dusting off the old architectural photography skills as well. And, I haven't anchored myself to "EDM". EDM might very well be gone next year. But there's always gonna be nightclubs. And barring that, there's always gonna be pretty sunrises and buildings.
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Postby pod on 01 Aug 2013 21:53

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

I copied and posted this to my blog.

http://www.dan-vidal.com/blog/2013/08/0 ... t-dot-dot/
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Postby coach on 01 Aug 2013 23:10

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Now, I'm no pro, and I never claim to be. And I do roll with a point-and-shoot. But I have been photographing ALL my life. And I have been busting my ass to build a website that actually has significant traffic. Then some dickweed drops $2K and sets up http://www.ishootshit.blogspot.com and has an Alexa rank of about 12 billion, and then applies for media passes to get in everywhere for free. I really wish these places would vet their media passes harder. Yes, I know I'm 2nd string, but when you are letting in 4th, 5th and 12th string players just because you hope to get a couple more impressions, it just looks pathetic. Anybody ever heard of paying your dues?

Steam of consciousness thoughts as I watch it:

Once again, we have idiots with no clue getting press from other idiots with no clue. Nightlife photography started in the early 2000s? Fuck, I have stuff dating back to 2002 or before, and I'm just some dude with a camera. I know there were plenty of pros doing it well before that. Pod has been doing it a lot longer and there were people before him. Dallasraves.org was doing it from probably early-mid 90s.

"You kind of make nightlife look like a joke"? Hello, it's people getting drunk and acting stupid, and dudes begging to get laid. Um...

What is up with the symphony?

I'm going to meet with the woman who owns the Seafair to see if she will fund some of our stuff. Really cool lady.

I don't understand why Ultra is so strict about having (legit) photogs and videogs backstage. Is it really such a shitstorm that they are embarrassed to show it?

But, honestly, some of these photographers are a little full of themselves.

I dunno, the video was pretty much suck. We didn't even get to the point where they got kicked out or anything. Their big point was that some people try to use photography to get in free? This is news? Total waste of their and our time.

Oh yeah, and the problem is WAY worse in the fashion scene. Holy shit. If I end up in the pokey for killing some fuck with an iPad blocking my shot, you'll know why.
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Postby P.L.U.R. <3 on 02 Aug 2013 00:33

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

pod wrote:Aw thanks!

That being said, I just watched it, and yes, I have a few things to say.

First of all, let's get this out of the way.

- This seems staged. Swagger and "looking the part" go a long way of course, but at the end of the day, music festivals, especially Ultra, are generally a high-security affair and there's usually several layers of access as well as multiple forms of credentialing. The last time I shot Ultra was 2010, and at that point it was a cloth wristband specific to the day I was covering it, as well as a lanyard/laminate. Sure, you could fake the lanyard/laminate, but unless you had a sewing machine handy, you couldn't fake the wristband easily. So, yeah, this seems staged and maybe primed to go viral. The shit thing is that now you'll get imitators trying to pull the stunt off and hitting a huge brick wall.

- Along the same lines, I don't see Rukes lending his name to something that's as "underground" as this video pretends to be. Rukes, if you're reading, feel free to to tell me to shut up if I'm wrong.

- Also, nightlife photography didn't start with that guy in New York in 2000. It didn't even start with me. Seth (Red Eye) was doing it as early as 1997 and was partially an inspiration of mine even. I started in earnest in 1998. And before that, you had people like Patrick McMullan doing it in the 1970s and 1980s, in that "style" of being part of the party rather than fly-on-the-wall documentarian. Tina Paul chronicled the glory days of the Paradise Garage in the early-to-mid 1980s. And I'm sure there's innumerable others I'm missing. So no, it didn't magically start in 2000 with some hipster in New York. Not even close. Do you research kids.

- The writer for the Daily Swarm actually kind of got it right when he reviewed this piece, in that the producers seem to be the very camera-toting famewhores they criticize. Which actually plays into this being a setup.

- Disregarding the strong possibility this is a setup, the one takeaway of the piece is that the whole role of "nightlife photographer" or "EDM photographer" has definitely gone from a rarified part in the party pantheon to one of ubiquity. Rukes stated that it just used to be him at a party, now it isn't. The clubs I frequent seem to be a little insulated from it, since, for example, at Space it is usually just me, someone from At-Night, and someone from Red Eye, and the same idea carries over to other venues, but I've been in some nightclubs in this country where when it is a big event, the venue is awash with guys and girls with cameras.

Listen, everyone has to get their start somewhere, but it does really seem a lot of people have gotten into it for the wrong reason, which seems to be wherein they treat their camera and their access as a VIP pass for an event. That being said, there's plenty of other more cost-effective ways to party for free.

Now, as it stands, I've cut way back on my club shooting schedule for a few reasons. First of all, very few people can meet my price, even when I cut a deal with them. Secondly, it's a tough gig to do all the time. You're in a smoky, noisy environment for hours on end, and then you have to deliver the material on time, regardless of how hungover you are. But every night I go out to shoot, I still nail some images I'm absolutely thrilled about. If I didn't, to be honest, I wouldn't bother. If the thrill is gone, so am I.

Should I have been interviewed for this piece? Yeah totally. I'm enough of a narcissistic prick to know I could have definitely filled in the blanks in their little tale. However, since I've taken the unique path of not making Herculean efforts to market myself, my name factors little in the crowded ranks of nightlife photography. I accept that, that's fine. I have people that appreciate what I do, and pay for it. I put gas in the car and pay the rent.

I'm the guy in the corner the real veterans know and speak to, whereas the kids are clueless. It's like having a DJ convention with all these new-jack Swedes, and then there's a corner off to the side where, for some weird reason, DJ Harvey and a few people that look vaguely familiar are hanging out and ignoring everyone else.

The one thing I'm seeing though is that a lot of these guys' careers are tied to the EDM bubble itself. Unfortunately when there's a crash, they will have problems since they haven't diversified their photo skill set, or their media skill set in general. Shit, it's why I take the time to shoot landscapes and am dusting off the old architectural photography skills as well. And, I haven't anchored myself to "EDM". EDM might very well be gone next year. But there's always gonna be nightclubs. And barring that, there's always gonna be pretty sunrises and buildings.
\






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Postby pod on 02 Aug 2013 01:03

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

That's one of the reasons I think it was staged, is that they seemed to have had carte blanche and even though the rules said "no photos" backstage, they are swinging their gear around willy-nilly. You can't get some of those shots clandestine. And most shows regardless of genre rigidly enforce a no-photos-without-prior-permission-per-shot policy when you are backstage. When I toured with Tijs, I either stowed me gear and actually enjoyed myself, or got a few key moments that he was cool with and went about my business.

Now, is it a shitshow backstage? For the most part, no. It's a bunch of guys and girls socializing and having a few drinks. It's a house party with decent booze and shit food. The whole rockstar drugs and bitches motif rarely happens, simply because backstage is usually at some corporate venue that brooks no nonsense. Also because every dick has a cameraphone and it's too easy to snap compromising images without the offending parties noticing. Most touring artists usually have a sober guy or girl hanging around keeping an eye on things. Now it's not to say it can turn into a shitshow, but for the most part no. The rule is back there for "just in case" and also backstage is usually intent on being the home-away-from home for the artists. I wouldn't want squads of photographers in my living room either.

So yeah, the fact that they were just kind of wandering around filming made me think this was all set up.

Though I did laugh when they said Ultra was hard to acquire credentials for. Not really. I never used true industry muscle (i.e. "I know so-and-so") to shoot there. I just contacted their PR, pointed out my broken nightlife photo gallery, and a few weeks later some nice girl always emailed me back telling me to be at some tent to pick up my credentials. And in the past couple of years I've seen pretty much any yahoo with a blog get at least basic access.

If these Cruz + Jacob kids have any Google-sense, I'm sure they are aware we're talking about them. I'll gladly extend an invitation for them to come on here and tell us the deal. I promise we won't bite.
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Postby P.L.U.R. <3 on 02 Aug 2013 10:27

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

coach wrote:This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Now, I'm no pro, and I never claim to be. And I do roll with a point-and-shoot. But I have been photographing ALL my life. And I have been busting my ass to build a website that actually has significant traffic. Then some dickweed drops $2K and sets up http://www.ishootshit.blogspot.com and has an Alexa rank of about 12 billion, and then applies for media passes to get in everywhere for free. I really wish these places would vet their media passes harder. Yes, I know I'm 2nd string, but when you are letting in 4th, 5th and 12th string players just because you hope to get a couple more impressions, it just looks pathetic. Anybody ever heard of paying your dues?

Steam of consciousness thoughts as I watch it:

Once again, we have idiots with no clue getting press from other idiots with no clue. Nightlife photography started in the early 2000s? Fuck, I have stuff dating back to 2002 or before, and I'm just some dude with a camera. I know there were plenty of pros doing it well before that. Pod has been doing it a lot longer and there were people before him. Dallasraves.org was doing it from probably early-mid 90s.

"You kind of make nightlife look like a joke"? Hello, it's people getting drunk and acting stupid, and dudes begging to get laid. Um...

What is up with the symphony?

I'm going to meet with the woman who owns the Seafair to see if she will fund some of our stuff. Really cool lady.

I don't understand why Ultra is so strict about having (legit) photogs and videogs backstage. Is it really such a shitstorm that they are embarrassed to show it?

But, honestly, some of these photographers are a little full of themselves.

I dunno, the video was pretty much suck. We didn't even get to the point where they got kicked out or anything. Their big point was that some people try to use photography to get in free? This is news? Total waste of their and our time.

Oh yeah, and the problem is WAY worse in the fashion scene. Holy shit. If I end up in the pokey for killing some fuck with an iPad blocking my shot, you'll know why.








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Postby Oni on 02 Aug 2013 12:35

Re: No Credentials: The Epidemic Of "EDM Photographers"

I knew nightlife photography REALLY jumped the shark when a promoter friend of mine in NYC posted a status on FB asking if he should become a photographer since he felt it would be so easy since he knew everyone and would naturally take way better photos than the yahoos they already had. :roll:
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