Happy (Staged) New Year
Well... we can say so long to 2016! I again welcomed the New Year in the city of New Orleans just like I did to kick to 2014, 2016 and 2017. (2015 I was ringing it in in Cuba) Apparently I like getting a head start on the new year so I prefer to welcome it in a time zone ahead of the one I generally live in ;)
This new year is a little different because with the 1st being on a Sunday, the Sugar Bowl doesn't compete with NFL and the game will be hosted on the 2nd as opposed to the usual 1st. This means I can't be drinking too much on NYE because I have to be up for an 8:30am press conference, but truth is, I don't really enjoy having more than 2 drinks, 4 if I'm going "big", so I'm not too disappointed to now have an excuse of why I don't "party". Especially if this how kids party these days ;)
This year I am without Colin and Lindsay and while I still have John, Sylvia and Patrick to hang out with, they are pretty busy keeping things running smoothly and I made a new friend, photographer Tyler Kaufman.
It's always fun to meet photographers in new areas, talk photography, see who we know in common, grunt about the industry while also inspiring each other about what we're doing and what we can do to find the kind of success we didn't know we were looking for. Just like musician Jason Derulo promoting his shoe line. Hey, maybe I should do that... except I don't QUITE have the star power.
Tyler is covering the Sugar Bowl for the marketing group that represents Allstate. Pro tip: it's not just newspapers and teams that need coverage... go after that CORPORATE rate. The argument that it's selling your soul could be valid, but sports ARE corporate these days, and if someone is making money, it might as well be you! Anyway since NYE has the threat of lighting (have you seen the stage? It's basically multiple lightning rods, and people dying at a Fan Fest is NOT good PR) they did a pre-tapping of NYE on the 30th.
Yes, that's right, every image above is from December 30th. Including the scripted banter with Ryan Seacrest. Now, in the age of reality television, I'm not surprised or even appalled that they would do a pre-taping, that just makes sense. But here's the crazy part. I walked in with Tyler and no one gave me any trouble. No credential, no nothing (taking a page out of Z's book). As we set up between the barricade and the stage.
Near the forklift that was used simply as a curtain holder
And the portable cell phone tower
But just before Jason Derulo was about to perform (two hours later than scheduled), a person working with the promotion team asked who I was shooting for. When I said the Sugar Bowl, they said that it would be ok if I photographed if a) they had written note from my Sugar Bowl contact that they needed coverage, fair b) I got approval from his management team to cover it, fair c) that any image I took first went to Derulo's management for individual image approval, um... you GOT me there!
Now this woman was very non-aggressive about it and just doing her job so I didn't want to hassle her too much. I know many musicians seek this kind of agreement. So I politely asked, "ok, but if I walk outside the barricade and enter as fan, and take pictures, then Sugar Bowl and myself can theoretically do anything we want with the photos?" and she responded "I can't tell you yes, but as long as I'm not giving you access, then I can't say what you can and cannot do with the photos.
The absurdity to me is people without any credentials have more rights to photos than those with access. So effectively non-media members have more freedom than the press. I can understand that an organization might limit the USE of those images per credential (can't sell the photos fro profit) or if the event was a private event or if fans were not allowed to bring cameras or take pictures. But if cameras are allowed to the public than a media member shouldn't be restricted in what kind of images they run. Can you imagine the warriors needing approval and if Stephen Curry slipped on a play they could say "you can't run that image". Actually wait a minute, that kind of did happen!! What is the world coming to?! This is also probably related to why the term "media" is so vague. Anyone can post to social media... and it is effectively media! Myself included!
In better news, NYE celebrations were postponed but not cancelled. I didn't bother photographing Derulo's "real" performance and I only stopped by for a few frames of Panic at the Disco.
Then I went about wandering the streets of New Orleans. While Annie Leibovitz is not the photographer I strive to be, she is the source of a quote that rings SO true to me
“As a young person, and I know it’s hard to believe that I was shy, but you could take your camera, and it would take you to places: it was like having a friend, like having someone to go out with and look at the world. I would do things with a camera I wouldn’t do normally if I was just by myself.” - Annie Leibovitz
Though I may have had some additional "spirit" friends along the way... this is New Orleans after all! I walked 4+ miles in downpour and unavoidable puddles that were deep enough water came in the TOP of my boots, for this shot and it was totally NOT worth it visually (especially after discovering there was a closer cemetery), but definitely worth it spiritually ;)
Then I met up with some human friends and happily welcomed in the New Year on a parking garage overlooking the fireworks. Rabbit Rabbit!
Oh also, I had started drafting a blog to reflects on 2016 (covering NBA Finals and Superbowl, though it was mostly the year of waffling whether I want to instagram my "real" photos instead of only using instagram for photos of my feet - let's see if those links are even active by the time you click on them ;)) and what I'm looking forward to 2017 (shooting with Olympus mirrorless cameras, scaling up [and streamlining] KLC fotos, and as always striving to be the best, if not at least slightly better, version of myself) but it got too sentimental, self-serving, and felt just as staged as fake New Year's Eve, so instead, you get photos of Jason Derulo, Panic at the Disco and a parking garage while I vent about what a weird state the photo industry is in. Happy New Year!!!
Keywords: New Orleans
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