Hi! My name is Jason, and I’m a St. Louis based graphic designer, regular live music attendee and professional concert photographer.
I have a couple observations about your article that may help you as a live music attendee, and concert photographer critic.
1. It sounds like you’re interacting with a few inconsiderate photographers; please don’t lump us all together. I personally do my best to be as non-invasive as possible, and if I know I’ll be roaming through the crowd throughout part of the set, I make it clear to the people I’m likely to encounter that I’ll be out of their way in short order. If I know that I’m shooting a tiny club show, I get there early and stake out a spot up front, and get out of the way once I’ve finished shooting. I’ve learned this behavior from interactions with other concert photographers combined with common courtesy, and If the photographers you’re encountering aren’t acting courteously, tap them on the shoulder and ask them.
2. As a photographer, I usually shoot bands and events on assignment for a publication. It’s a career. It’s a responsibility. My shots may or may not look different from the previous nights’ shows, but that’s not always the concern – providing accurate and varied visuals to accompany a written review or similar piece is most important. As a writer, you should be able to sympathize – if you’ve ever done freelance work, that is.
3. What most people do for a job is stupid to someone else. Deal with it, we all do.
4. Contacting a bands’ PR or management team and obtaining permission to shoot a show is a common occurrence. They know we’re there, they approved the photography and press passes. If the artist has time to do a portrait, that’s great – but live shots are, to many people, equally interesting.
5. Shooting restrictions are a way of life for us. Often, we’re restricted to the first three songs of a set, no flash photography allowed. Plus, live music photography is some of the most technically challenging photography there is – uncontrollable and often incredibly dim lighting, fast moving subjects, and – you guessed it – occasionally rowdy crowds and tight venues.
6. For the record, plenty of my live music shots have gained traction from Google Images.
7. Photography isn’t a dying profession – it’s content creation. Just like writing.
8. Most concert photographers get into the profession due to a love of live music, and a desire to share something they love with more people.
Am I saying photographers aren’t annoying at times? Nope. I know we can be, I’m a live music addict. But I know they’re doing their job, and I respect that. Some douche that stands in front of me for no reason? Less forgivable. A chain of people pushing towards the front of the floor, going to meet up with their “friend, who’s right up there!” gets me riled up more than some photographer that hasn’t learned how to be courteous.