We are their guests, sometimes we forget to act like it
A professional photographer writing on the Clinton High Athletics fan site has called out the teachers who organized CHS Homecoming for making his life, what he called, “a total nightmare.” His comments are highly inappropriate and here’s why.
Photographers on the sidelines must remember we are guests in a house. We talk among ourselves about “getting the shot” and having the correct angles. I imagine the talk can degenerate into something commonly discussed in today’s political world - so-called “locker room talk” - but, hopefully, that’s rare. We can ask that certain things be changed, but we need to ask as guests.
I’m not really sure how the photographer’s comments made it on to the fan site. It is a site, as it stated many times, designed for encouragement and uplifting of athletes, coaches and fans. I guess teachers who organize events are fair game.
The athletic director responded that the teachers did a great job organizing the Homecoming Court. The photographer said he hopes some things can be done differently next year.
His concern was, he did not get a good (as in, sellable) photo of each young woman in the court and her escort. The way the walking onto the field is arranged, one young woman and her escort walk the 50 yard line and turn one way, the next couple turns the other way, until the field is full. Presbyterian College does it the same way.
That means, you’re not going to get a “good” - standing still, posed and smiling - shot unless you run from one end of the field to the other. For my photographer friends out there, DO NOT ever do this - it would be extraordinarily distracting to the people watching Homecoming.
Just as it would if you walked out onto the field and stood in front of the young woman and her escort and posed a photo. It could be that this complaining photographer had never shot Homecoming before, saw what was happening and got frustrated. Don’t ever write something public when you’re frustrated - another brutal lesson of this business we are in.
We are their guests. Ever when the parents are standing behind the fence telling us to “kneel down,” “move yourself” and worse, so they can get the photo they want, we are still guests. We are not in charge. We should not want to be in charge. The night is for them, not us.
There is a simple protocol. We don’t ram a camera in their face and capitalize on their grief for that “great shot,” we don’t photograph and publish their gruesome injuries.
A small suggestion. A professional photographer who wants that good, posed shot at Homecoming can get it - on the other side of the field. The parade of Homecoming Court contestants, who represent campus organizations and senior players, is a straight line on the visitors’ sideline. Have the first couple walk to you at the 50, stop them (very briefly), take their photo and let them go. As the first couple is walking onto the field, you have time to photograph the second couple, then the third (while the second is walking), then the fourth and so on. You post the photos, you sell the photos - Homecoming is saved, and everybody is happy.
All you had to do was walk to the other side, and not even stay there. But you better scurry back, they’re not going to wait on announcing the Homecoming Queen, which will be done as the court is facing the home side. You don’t want to get caught on the visitors’ side. You can move (hopefully, in a way that doesn’t cause a distraction), or you can complain - your choice.
Just so you know, I have been guilty of being a distraction on a football sideline. Not my finest moment, and sometimes I slip up. On the back of the PC press badge it says photographers on the sideline must not cheer. Sometimes, on the PC sideline and on the CHS sideline, I do left words fly. I don’t really mean anything by it, and I generally don’t make a spectacle of myself. Notice, I said generally. We have a job to do, we are supposed to do it stoically (I guess), but we are humans - not Photo Robots.
So, if my team’s defense has the opponent backed up to the two-foot line, and you hear me tell them - and by “them” I mean the Red Devils and the Blue Hose - “hey, go get you some” that means points. Go get you some defensive points - push them back into the end zone, strip the ball and fall on it, run the quarterback or punter out of the back of the end zone. Be aggressive, bebe aggressive, AGGR... - OK, I’ll stop now.
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. Reach him at 833-1900 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. His commentaries appear in Blogs at MyClintonNews.com.)