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John Perriment

Photographer's Responsibilities

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We've discussed photographer's rights a lot just lately, but there is another side of the coin photographer's responsibilities.

Yesterday I went to a show put on by a local dancing school and very professional and entertaining it was, too. Before the show started the audience were asked to refrain from flash photography as it could annoy others in the audience and also interfere with the filming that was taking place to produce a DVD of the performance. I didn't have my camera anyway, but it seemed a reasonable request and I was pleased to note the implication that available light photography was O.K. In my view flash kills the atmosphere of this type of event anyway and the stage lighting was more than sufficient.

I was sitting in the front row of the balcony, at least eighty feet from the stage. Halfway through the performance two people in the same row started shooting with P&S compacts and flash. Quite apart from it being jolly annoying, using a built in flash at that distance was both a mind boggling leap of faith and a visual admission of total photographic incompetence. I have more chance of throwing a pebble and hitting Mars than they had of illuminating the stage.

One of the organisers came up to have a polite word, asking them to turn off the flash as it could affect the video recording. This was also wrong; we were well away from the cameraman who was below and in front of us and no doubt focusing on the stage anyway it's astonishing how much power people attribute to what is, quite frankly, a pathetic excuse for a flash gun. However, like everyone else in the vicinity I was glad of his intervention. Even after he had gone, however, they still continued to flash a few times.

With all the increasing pressures and hostilities that photographers are facing, the last thing we need is idiots like that who give photography a bad name.

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  1. Ians Tata's Avatar
    Very rude despite the ignorance. But speaking of the ignorance factor I'm sure that we have all seen the multitude of flashes in the crowd at night-time sporting events. Not only won't the flash light the subject but the camera thinks that it will and auto sets the exposure for a well lit scene.
  2. John Perriment's Avatar
    Very true, Jeff!
  3. Howi's Avatar
    Unfortunately it is more to do with user ignorance/ failure to read instructions more than anything.
    There are plenty of museums/churches etc that allow photography, but not flash photography, there are always some numpties who continue to flash away despite being told to turn the flash off, because they quite simply don't know how to.
    The down side is that non flash photography may eventually be banned.
    It may also explain why we have 12mpix crammed onto a 1/4 inch square sensor....