It’s Time For a Rant …

It’s time for a rant. It’s been a while since the last one. The subject? You, your iPhone and how you piss me off. I’m a photographer. I go to events, I photograph them and people pay me to use my images. This used to be a much easier and entertaining job. Until the iPhone came along and put a functional camera in your hand, all the time. Of course it’s not the camera that pisses me off, it’s your hand and the brain that controls it.
This camera seems to have one of two effects on you. It either makes you think that with your cell phone, you’re going to take the next iconic image of your generation. Or it makes you forget entirely where you are, what you’re doing there and often who you’re with.
Example of the first effect: A few months back I went to Notre Dame to photograph a muslim woman protesting the new French anti-burqa law. There were the usual group of photojournalists there but mostly what happened was as soon as the tourists waiting to enter the cathedral saw us taking photos of something (in this case, an uninteresting woman in a burqa), out came the cell phones and on came the crowd. We were completely mobbed, not by people trying to get a LOOK at who it might be (Brad Pitt? Kate Middleton? Britney Spears?) but by people armed with their cell phone cameras trying to get a PHOTO of whoever it might turn out to be.
To illustrate the second effect, I want to resort to a description of what I experience and then I want to shame you with photos. I just shot the Cannes Film Festival. I’m in the front row on the red carpet. It’s a great position and I’ve worked hard to get it. Being in that position used to make it much easier to get really good photos, catching that decisive moment. But now, as some famous starlet whirls around and flashes a beaming smile, I keep my focus on her, look through my viewfinder and see this:

Get off the carpet with your iPhone

No. The red carpet is not the time to stop, block all the photographers from getting their photos and take a shitty photo yourself. It’s not that I would begrudge you a souvenir photo, it’s just that your blurry, out-of-focus cell phone souvenir snapshot is not more important than the work the professional photographers are trying to do. Many of the photographers have spent a lot of money to be at these events and they need to nail their one chance at getting their photos. If you and your iPhone are standing in front of what we need to take a photo of, at the moment we need to take that photo, it’s not like we can ask for a do-over. We’ve missed it. And you’ve missed it too because your damn cell phone camera takes way too long to react to catch a moment.
We had small cameras before the iPhone arrived but you didn’t take them everywhere with you and attempt to shoot everything. Clearly there is a huge Facebook effect in play here. But still, it’s hard for me to accept your utter lack of awareness, lack of caring and total obsession with trying to get a terrible image which you’d be much better off downloading with Google. Want a photo of Salma Hayek? Here. A photo of Johnny Depp? Here. You won’t be able to take a photo this good with your wussy little camera. So just download it and tell your Facebook friends you took it.
And this doesn’t just apply to the red carpet; I want you to remember this whenever you see (or should see!) professional photographers trying to work.
Now for the shaming. YOUR photos are not more important than our professional photos. The subject of the photograph is not there for YOU to take a picture. YOU don’t have the right to mess up our photos even if …

... you're on the steps of the Palais des Festivals and stupidly put a plastic film on the back of your iPhone

... you have both an iPhone and a Blackberry

... you think you're James Bond

... you have a Betty Boop fetish

... you look like a fool and point your camera at photographers

... you see a famous tennis player

... you are trying to coax a smile out of someone

... you have 2 iPhones and need an app for ear hair

... you were likely involved in the development of Facebook

... your hair matches your iPhone

... your number of chins is greater than your number of phones

... you think you're making an effort to get out of the way (ok, this is better than nothing)

... you are being photographed during a photo call

... you are David Byrne and are standing between Sean Penn and Judd Hirsch

... your wife asks you to

... you have mastered how to grip your iPhone

... you have the support of your "friends"

... you are part of a film in competition

... you have jeweled your iPhone

... you are taking a picture of nothing in particular

... you are a patriot

Please keep this rant in mind the next time you attempt to take a bad photo of nothing. Thank you for your attention. 😉


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Fred Silpa on June 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Sounds as though you were a little upset…This rant should be published in the Los Angeles Times and papers all over the world…You would be doing your industry a great service if you could get this published in some form or another…Great writing, great shots…


  2. Posted by Flexie Silpa on June 14, 2011 at 3:32 am

    I have never seen you this mad in all the years you have been doing this, but i absolutely agree with you. The captions were appropriate for each picture and some were even funny!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: