So if you follow me, and what I do, you would know by now I go to a few gigs every now and again.But this week I have been to my fair share of gigs as a "gig goer" and not a "photographer", and thus witnessed this new found obsession of people viewing things through a screen.
It started when I was photographing Ed Sheeran last Saturday night, a large percentage of the people I was speaking to in the front row had camped out for days to be in prime position, but then when I turned around half way through the shoot there was a sea of I-phones behind me!
This then continued when I made my way to my seat that I had forked out $130 odd dollars for! See that hand emerging from the crowd, that’s essentially where I was sitting, all the way up there, where the seagulls perch! None the less, I get to my seat by the end of the 4th song, met my friend and had the quick 2 minute conversation as Ed swapped guitars.
As Ed starts again the girls in front of me (all 3 of them) and I swear the entire friendship group of 10 people in row A all pull out their phone and immediately start filming 10 second clips on their snapchat. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking it was a one off... 5 songs later, phones still out still sending videos/photos/snapchats.
Now I on the other hand, had taken 1 photo on my phone the entire night, now I’m not sure if I just wasn’t compelled to take photos/video of every song because I had been lucky enough to photograph 3 songs on my pro gear or whether I just was too lazy to pull my phone out.
My shot of Ed Sheeran
2 days later, I trek to Melbourne from Geelong, to go see Passenger busking on Southbank, thinking surly everyone has enough photos of him from the 2 sold out Ed shows, but was I wrong, I was stuck behind a girl who again, snapchatted a 45 minute set to her friends.
Honestly someone tell me, If I start snapchatting full sets of gigs I go to will you watch them?
The next show I attend as a patron that I could see this occurring at was the very Facebook status, brag worthy, Taylor Swift. I was purely at this show as a patron, which was unfamiliar territory for me, enjoying some people watching whilst Vance Joy was on I witnessed it all, from girls standing on chairs with iPad, & the age old snapchat the whole set to my friends.
The ultimate test was when Taylor hit the stage, and from the back of the stadium I could see a crowd of very well-lit faces staring into their iPhone or communication devices.
On the way back to the car we even witnessed two women watching a song they had recorded on their iPhone reminding themselves of what they had or hadn't witnessed for themselves.
I have a total of 1 photo from the night I went to Taylor, and it’s of my friend in the crowd!
On the way home to Geelong my friends and I were talking about this new found thing for staring at a screen, and how we feel the need to now document things.
Now days in the age of digital everything is very much out there in the open, and a lot of the time we feel the need to share our notable activities with our social media friends, but by sharing every minute of an entire 60 minute show do we actually enjoy said show or are we just trying to impress our peers?
Here are some points for you to consider.....
Have you ever considered what you look like from the artists point of view? They have probably traveled a really long way to play for you, and granted you have paid to see them, so you can do whatever you like, but gone are the days that artists can see the emotion and passion on your face when they walk out on stage and you hear that first song, because you are covering your face with your giant Iphone 6+.
You know that when you are recording that snapchat the people you are sending it to can hear you singing directly into the mic?
What about the other people around you, they have paid to enjoy the show too, they don’t want to see the whole show from your iPhone screen, put your damn arm down.
Flash kills the shot! Have you ever wondered why the photographers never have a flash, it’s because they suck (and someone made a rule to ban them from the pit), plus your tiny little iPhone flash isn’t going to light up the stage, it’s just going to illuminate the back of someone’s head, or blind someone next to you, just turn it off.
What are you going to do with these photos/video, you are going to be caught up in the moment and post everything to your Instagram, Facebook and twitter, but after that...... Are you going to re watch the video next week, next month? Or is it just going to sit in your iphone's memory taking
Don't bring your IPad to a show, ever!
Watching the whole show through your iphone is the equivalent of being off your face at a show, you’re not going to remember it
because you were too busy snapchatting and uploading to Facebook when something magical happened on stage, be in the moment, buy the concert DVD in 6 months..
And most importantly, why don't you ask a Photographer in the pit to take your photo? nine times out of ten if you ask before the artist comes on stage any photographer will be willing to take your photo and give you their business card, that way your phone can stay in your pocket, and you get to enjoy the show, and the next day not only do you have an awesome photo you and your buddies in the front row, you can also look thru the images the photographer took of your favorite artist rather than your blurry Iphone shots of the back of someone’s head.
I'm all for technology, and I will be the first to admit that I will take a sneaky photo every now and again at a show, but be respectful of others, take your 1 or 2 photos then put your phone away, enjoy the set, you paid to see the show, so be in the moment, sing, dance and enjoy the company of the friends you're with, no one on your Facebook will care if the only photo they see of your concert experience is the maccas drive thru line on the way home from an amazing night out!