NPPA

Who is that big dude down front?

One of the hallmarks of a photographer is to be bold, and let no thing or person stand in your way of taking that great picture. Right? Or not? That depends. How important is that picture? That is a topic that I have debated many times in the past with other practitioners. The National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics claims that professionals should “treat all subjects with respect and dignity.” Really? Anyone see a lot of that at events?

Most news videographers I have seen in practice could care less about anyone when they walk in front of live audiences, obstruct views, disrupt paid events, and generally make jerks of themselves to get the 30 seconds of film for whatever broadcast. That is their business, and that is their product. But I personally find their behavior the absolute worst. I have seen my fair share of photographers demonstrate the same winner-take-all mentality. I am not sure if professionals and especially many more amateurs care about these guidelines. Most individuals likely adhere to personal ethics and standards. How important is your need to prioritize yourself over others, just for a picture of a cultural performance, or sporting event? That seems very subjective.

These days, it seems there is always that “big dude” down front, completely destroying the moment onstage so he (or she) can take something away and leave nothing in return. Today, I saw that in full play at the Iranian Festival at the Seattle Center. There was the proverbial big dude, and also big woman, and family members and friends, and many more. Lots of people were filming and running up to the stage and leaning on the stage with their filming device, including monster zoom lenses, camcorders, smart phones, pads, and more. So, I turned the lens on them from my seat.

Hey, big dude, would you please just get out the way, just this once? Thanks.

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