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| p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · So the Referee wants you outside the fence... |
Good story Matt which i can totally relate to. My little experience doing football for my son's team was great thanks to this one coach who eventually took on league presidency. Each season he would sign me as a trainer/coach this meant i was allowed on every field for every game local or abroad. More interestingly he explained i was covered by the team's insurances if i ever got injured. Of course i had to respect the rules i.e. remain 5 or 10 ft away from the side lines etc but at least i could never be kicked out for taking pictures. Once in another city where every body there seemed to be against us from the get go including the home announcer who would blast funeral music through the speakers each time one of our players was down (if you can believe this unsportingly attitude) a ref came to me clearly aggravated for some reason and when he saw my ID card with picture he made an about turn and looked even more pissed. Because of my authorization i was the only photog left every body else having been kicked off the field back into the stands. I savoured that moment let me tell ya.
On the other hand last year i was asked to volunteer as a photographer for the world games that were held in the same city (Sherbrooke) again i had problems this time on a soccer field. The day was full of promises Nikon had an NPS booth up there and providing we were authorized volunteer we could get any lens or body we wanted (for free) It was a good occasion for me to shoot sports i never have the chance to do namely track and field events. So i picked up a 400mm f2.8 and took the reserved bus towards the field (parking was a real nightmare so the bus was the better solution). Once i got there i realized the whole field was cordoned off. Ropes were installed a good 30 feet outside the field, my partner who had picked up the 600mm could barely make out the players on the field just to tell you how far the action was. So i moved to a corner on the other side of the field which got me a little closer to the action. It only took 5 minutes before a security volunteer came to me although i was sill outside the defined perimeter. She also looked pissed and yelled at me i had to move back and wear an orange dinky. I politely asked why and she said: "well you can be confused with players on the field" I laughed so hard i almost wet myself, players on the field were in red/blue and orange/white (shorts) they were 15 and 16 y.o. old girls. I am 5'11", 235 pds , i'm bald as a cue ball and i was wearing a grey shirt with beige bermudas (neutral colours exactly to avoid this). I pointed this out to her very calmly but it only made her more mad. When she handed me the dinky (but didn't ask the other 4 photogs there to put one on) i simply said: I don't think so and left.
I brought the lens back and explained what had happened to the photographer's team leader who didn't seem to believe my story at that time. I drove back home ( a 2 1/2 hour drive mind you) and later that night the leader called home and apologized promising the situation would be resolved the next day and begged me to go back the next morning. I told him it was the 2nd time i had problems in Sherbrooke and that i would never go there again. At 53 y.o. i don't need this, i was ready to give a few days of voluntary work but i certainly didn't expect to be treated like a moron.
Had it been a paying gig i would have gone back the next day but in a voluntary work context i really didn't feel obligated to put up with this kind of childish attitude. When you're a passionate photographer or a professional one it is hard sometimes to understand why some people treat us like they do. I suppose we ended up having a bad reputation because of all the paparazzis out there that just can't take no for an answer or don't bother to ask permission to shoot but it is certainly not our reality for the vast majority of us. We just want to make an honest living or shoot for the passion of our craft. The only good thing about all of this is that as you get older and more independent in life there comes a point where you don't have to take it anymore, and that's exactly what i did. I'm perhaps not the best sport photographer out there but i can hold my end, i'm always polite, friendly and understanding when all this is just not enough i have the luxury now to simply say no and move on. If i wanted to i could shoot almost every day sports, portraits or whatever. I simply choose the best more relaxing ventures for me, it keeps my blood pressure down :-)