I’m in a peeved off state, so I’m ranting at the moment:
Ever get the feeling at times that there’s treachery afoot? There are different kinds of conspiracies going on, and it’s up to you the reader to either buy into it or not. For example, many believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. I do not. Mathamaticians will concur with Pythagoras’ theory. Personally, I couldn’t care less. (I flunked maths, anyway!) Or how about the theory that Aliens walk amoung us? Actually, that’s not a theory..I’m a walking testament of aliens infiltrating the Human Race.
Which brings me to my own Theory: The Lack of Black Photographers at Gigs. As long as I have been taking pictures, it has been a nightmare and a half to get accreditation for gigs. Understandably, everyone wants to take pictures of said performer/actor/musician. I can appreciate that. What I can’t seem to get my head around is this: Why does it have to be flipping near impossible as a black photographer in London (thats right! I’m using the Race Card! You don’t like it, don’t continue reading!) to get photopasses for gigs that you would assume, without the stereotyping, a black photographer might cover. Now, before you all get all ‘P.C’ (politically correct!) on me, I’m not claiming for a second that black photographers should have exclusivity to black artists.
Yet, that’s not my argument. My argument is why black photograhers who are not with any of the ‘Big Boys’ (Reuters, Getty, PA, APF, ) but are freelancers, have so much problems getting passes. I’ve spoken to other Black/other Ethnic photographers, and they feel the same way as I do. And it’s not that these photographers are not good at what they do. You think I’m lying? Ok, if you happen to be in a press pit or part of the crowd in front of the stage, try and pick out at least 4 Black photographers. You’ll struggle to even count that many, and it’s not that there are not many black photographers out there. Classic example: Last year’s LIVE 8. Most of the black photographers’ had to make their way to alternative LIVE 8 at Cornwall (which was actually better!) Or how about B.B King’s farewell tour. I was the only black photographer there (and I was fortunate to get that pass from another contact, not from the main source!) and I know of about 10 black photographers who wanted to cover that gig for their local papers.
It will always be that record labels and PR companies give precedence to the Big Photography Agencies over Small ones, but at least give consideration to ethnic photographers. I feel that ‘The Powers That Be’ can make things happen for ethnic photographers, but refuse to. I’m fortunate that I have a contact who is established whom gets me gigs that I have tried aquiring solo. This blog is about highlighting an issue that needs to be addressed by Media Powers. Understandably, Ethnic groups, espcially Blacks, within London are in the minority. And you don’t want to know how many are actually within a controlling position to make things happen. (actually, not that many!)
Actually, the same could also be said about job hunting within the media. I’ll use myself as an example: Apart from freelancing as a photographer, I’ve worked as a Picture Researcher/Editor for over 8 years. I can tell you now: you have more of a chance if your name sounds ‘right’ in London. Trust me on this: I have more responses whenever I’ve used ‘dud’ CVs than my real CV. This one time, I changed my name to ‘Atkin Sinclair-Philips’, and changed names of uni/places i worked.Can you actually believe I got a phone call to come in for an interview. Hah!
So, if you happen to be reading this, and don’t buy my theory, fair enough. If you happen to be one of the media types that gives accreditations, and believes my claims to be unfounded, then proof me wrong. And if you happen to be a black photographer (or of any other ethnic group) and understands exactly want I’m on about, then give me a buzz.
Right, Rant over.