Photographers Have Become Like Pigeons

An historic building in South Florida burned to the ground recently because in the dark of night, a trio of photographers set it ablaze while trying to “paint with light.” Click HERE to read more:

While trying to take a selfie last week, two tourists climbed onto Hercules, a 13th century statue at Loggia dei Militi palace in Cremona, Italy. Under their weight, the statue’s crown broke off, fell to the floor, and shattered. Click HERE to read more.

A gorgeous plantation in Louisville, Kentucky had to issue this statement via its Facebook page about a year or so ago because people with cameras could not manage to respect the property.
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These are but a small sampling in a long line of “photographers who ruined it for the rest of us” stories.

And it needs to stop.

You are a photographer and you love to create. You see opportunity all around you and want to make the entire world your studio.

But, the thing is…it’s not.

What you hold in your hands is a camera- a wonderful creation of metal and glass and plastic. It is not a license, however, to go wherever you please in the name of Art, disobeying site rules as you “push boundaries.”

I’ve seen popular workshop givers even teach that rules mean nothing:
“They tell you that you can’t shoot at National Monuments, so sneak in.”

Or this:
“Sneak into abandoned buildings with your clients/models and pay off the homeless with alcohol.”

Really? REALLY? Yeah, that’s just the advice we want new photographers to hear. That advice could easily result in a session that goes spectacularly wrong you could sell tickets.

We are a big industry, and some of you are out there ruining it for the rest of us, causing gorgeous locations to be “off limits” ‘cause you can’t stay out of the flower beds. We’ve got photographers setting up shop and taking over areas frequented by the public; we’ve got photographers trespassing on private land; we’ve got photographers who assume a camera entitles them to do as they please wherever they please.

Dear Baby Jesus in a Manger, we’ve become like pigeons: annoying, showing up everywhere and crapping on everything.

And I get it. I do.

How many of us look at a spot and think, “Dang, I wish I could shoot there.” And, indeed, maybe you can-if you get in touch with the right person and follow the guidelines and do it the right way. But sneaking in or taking over once you’re there is only going to give the rest of us a bad name and then no one is going to be able to shoot anywhere and then we’ll all be shooting against one of those green screens and reminiscing about the good ol’ days when we go could anywhere without the fear of being ushered out by Security.

You want photography to be a respected profession? Well, you gotta give it to get it.

The CAMERA should be the “tool,” not the PHOTOGRAPHER.

Missy Out.



2 Comments on Photographers Have Become Like Pigeons

  1. Sadly it is becoming epidemic. Everyone has a “studio” in the dining room where they should be offering their kids a nice evening family meal and a safe place to do their homework or in their garage with their cars parked on the street. Every freaking person who owns a camera is self anointed a professional craftsperson and learned photographer with no education and absolutely no ethics or manners. 20 years ago who would have thought of standing in front of other people at an event and hold up a phone and block the view of others who also spent $75.00 and who also wanted to enjoy a once in a life experience. Who destroys public and private property in the effort to make just another freaking snapshot. Who are these people who make life miserable “pretending” ? I personally know who they are but since this is not my site I will not use the vocabulary which comes as a knee jerk reaction.

  2. Here in the Denver area there is a wonderful historical area (well, we have hundreds) that is temporarily closed for landscape repair and upgrade. The sign actually had to read, “Closed to the public and photographers.” Now why would they have to specifically call out photographers? Because of all the newbies who are giving us a bad name. No experienced professional will trample flower beds just for a picture – or walk the wedding party out on to the live golf course for a better background. I love it that many areas are now requiring proof of insurance before allowing photographers access.

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