Friday, March 16, 2012

From the Silly to the Sublime

Yep, more musings on the Photog Wars over at PBN. Well over 500 posts. Never too much of a good thing? Oh yes there is and that point was reached long ago. Even I am no longer amused and I have a notoriously high (or is it low?) tolerance threshold for the absurd. I'm sticking by my 'Photographers Gone Wild!' suggestions but there is one more suggestion that needs to be considered; individual release forms when the work product is intended for commercial use. That should have occurred to me before but I can't ever recollect anyone in the paintball (photography) industry bothering. [With the exception of Jerry Braun at the Smart Parts Championships filming where he also wanted right of first refusal on your first born child and droit du seigneur.] The assumption is, I presume, that everyone getting their picture taken is thrilled by the prospect of showing up in a magazine ad or website promo or catalog or whatever but since we're being sticklers for rights that one best be included too. With so many legally well-versed photogs in paintball I'm kinda surprised that has slipped through the cracks. And while magazines can normally count on editorial allowances precluding the need for model (or similar) releases it's hardly a universal standard and with e-zines being the new standard and available anywhere the internet reaches I can see potential future liability issues there too. (tsk, tsk)
I also thought it might be interesting to check out the mastery and artistry of the offended so I followed links to about a dozen websites purporting to represent professional photographers. Now I suppose if you have a camera and get somebody else to pay you money for your photographs you are a professional--but as we see in paintball that is frequently a mighty low standard. A couple were reasonably good, most were technically proficient and none of them displayed hidden talents that will take them to the top of the photographer's heap--unless it's the heap of long forgotten photographers. In fact the majority demonstrated a proclivity for hanging around events with young boys, be it pee wee soccer, hockey, baseball or football. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that.
Some may ask, why come down so hard on the photogs, Baca? Because it's fun and because they invite it. Nobody cares or should care what it cost them to meet the minimum standard of so-called professional photographer. Nor what it cost them to get to the venue or the time away from school or work. Or that there are so many of them around almost none of them can make a decent return or that when 30 or 40 photogs take a thousand or more pics over a weekend that their collective work product is so diluted most any random pic is nearly worthless. And we already know that for the handful of better than competent photographers (and there are a few) out there the market doesn't reward superior images because the buyers can't tell the difference as a general rule and bargain over basement pricing.
If the lot of you were really all that professional you would have been lobbying the PSP long ago to institute well defined professional guidelines & standards that would have served everyone's interests.


Don Saavedra said...

You had me up to the last sentence. In fact, any photographer worth his salt turned his back on paintball a long time ago.

Baca Loco said...

Put down the pitchforks, Photomob, it was Don. That's spelled S-A-A-V ...

Anonymous said...

Ok maybe it's cause I'm "noob" to paintball and have yet to become aware of some unspoken hierarchy that exists but if someone enjoys taking photos at an event why is the quality of said picture up for discussion. If someone wants to buy a picture of themselves or their team and they think the picture looks good than that person is the only one that it matters to. Photography just like paintball takes practice in order to get better and the best practice is actually doing it. No player has ever picked up a paintball gun and on the first day could compete on a pro-level. Both are hobbies and both can be very expensive. Maybe I'm missing something here but I'm not understanding why players are looking down their noses at these photographers.

Anonymous said...

Dude this is awesome! Now I know how to make the largest paintball league in the world bend to my will:

Post on PbN and start a flame war.


Rule changes!

Now that's what I call professional! :facepalm:

Baca Loco said...

Anon #1
If the issue was friends taking pictures of friends playing paintball I could understand your dilemma but that isn't the issue. The issue is an overabundance of self-proclaimed professional photographers descending on events like a swarm of locust who spend every other waking hour whining and complaining about one thing or another--when they aren't insisting the game couldn't survive without their 10K action shots an event.

Anon #2
The PBN thread is utterly irrelevant to whatever course of action the PSP decides to take--nor will it have any impact other than perhaps to self-select some photogrpahers who won't be welcome in the future.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, I see one gap in your reasoning:

If the photograph that started the whole debacle had no value, this would never have become an issue.

Now, I ofcourse understand value is a very subjective thing in this connection - but it would be a hard sell to say it has zero value... especially as a legal matter (if anyone was silly enough to let it get to that).

As I am not privy to whatever email correspondance has been going on, beside that Facebook dialogue, I cannot say if I think the photographer overreacted and jumped the conclusions.... but my guess is he did... otherwise we would be hearing stories of PSP refusing his claims.... and they did remove the picture, so it stands to reason the photographer has displayed a lack of patience and timing.

However, I also think some blame has to go to the league, for never thinking they needed a real media policy (preferably one that media has to sign) for their events, until it in fact became a problem that they had none.

Baca Loco said...

I didn't say the photo in question had or has no value. What I said was that any random photo from the 10K taken at an event has virtually no value. Two different things. And of course any photo has a value of whatever somebody will pay for it.
While it's easy for us to second guess a lack of PSP policy--and it's clearly something that needs to be dealt with--for a lot of years it wasn't really an issue and if were prioritizing the essentials of running an event there's quite a lengthy list before we get to "pro" photographers.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I agree on the list of priorities, but, it's not like the PSP started operating yesterday - they have had a lot of years to think up a media policy and put it into effect.

Chris (fomerly Pbstar) said...

As long as you remember that when you asked this photographer for a picture of your son years back, he gave you the hi-res for free.

Baca Loco said...

Hi Chris
That was his mother--who would have happily paid for that picture. :)

Chris said...

Crap! I left $5 on the table? Or based on the usage rights and my usual contract fees, licensing, travel expenses, artistic vision, etc. I think it's more like $10,000!

Anonymous said...

'Artistic Vision' - love it!

I just think that Photogs should have to buy a Photog pass, and these should be limited, but people can buy a season-pass up front.
Make money off these people. Put up the price of the pass until you have the amount of Photogs you actually want - problem goes away. Bunch of photogs complain about the price of the new pass, sure, but they have the opportunity to buy them, same as everyone else.