Tour Manager for Three Days Grace Speaks Out On Concert Photography

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Two days ago, controversy was bred after a clash over social media between photographer Rohan Anderson and the pop-punk band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus; the band began a crusade of defamation against Rohan after being called out for posting his picture up without permission or credit. In return, Rohan sparked a wave of protest from the online community by posting the entire story online, and publicity for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus expectedly took a plunge.

Now that the story’s been gaining widespread coverage over the online photography and music community, the tour manager for the band Three Days Grace decided to weigh in on the topic.

Shawn Hamm, a tour manager for Three Days Grace since back in 2008 before Life Starts Now was released, took to Facebook and Twitter to make the following post concerning concert photographers:

“If you’re a concert photographer listen up! Its BS all these ‘photogrpahers’ trying to sue bands these days….a photographer takes a photo of the band (they LET YOU take it, its a privlage) and YOU want to be paid if the post it on social networks leaving your watermark on it lol they can FUCK OFF. IF the band were to use it for financial gain (i.e. on a t-shirt, poster, cd etc) I can see paying a fee. BUT if all you are doing is posting their work they took of YOU on your social networks promoting HIS WORK to millions of people who have no clue who the fuck he is then he can get lost.

ATTN: ALL BANDS make sure nowadays you make all photographers you approve sign a waver stating you can use the photos of YOURSELF however you want before you approve them to shoot YOUR SHOW!

Thats all….”

The words come off heavy, but he also made a few statements in the comments on the post as well, where he addresses that there should be watermarks and credits given if a band decided to post another person’s photo. The post did get put up within two days of the controversy with the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, but Shawn Hamm claims that a photographer messaged Three Days Grace confronting them about a photo by him posted up without permission; the credit and watermark, however, were still there. So it’s at least clear that Shawn is coming from a more reasonable side than whoever was writing for RJA.

Where he really hits hard is in declaring that photographers should feel honored and privileged if a band ever uses their photography, with or without payment.

He reasons this through arguing that when photographers come to the band and ask to take concert photos, the band does them a favor by “giving them tickets and a photopass to shoot a national act for their resume.”

When countered against with the argument of whether Three Days Grace’s music should be free, Shawn had this to say:

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This comment pointed out two things. The first is that Shawn doesn’t know much about copyright law. Just because a photo is taken of someone doesn’t mean they’re legally entitled to use it however they want. If that was the case, then wedding, senior portrait, and event photographers are out of the business.

The second is that he doesn’t understand photography in general. Music is an art form, and you have to create it. Photography is the same exact way. Your subject is the instrument. Not every way you shoot him or her is going to come out the same way. In music, you have to play a set of notes for your guitar to matter; in photography, you have to do the same thing with the person in the photo. That’s where the difference comes between someone being photographed artistically, and someone being photographed for a county jail mugshot. You’re creating the image you’re seeing with the scenery you have. The way Stanley Kubrick photographs a person is completely different from the way David Fincher photographs a person.

And that kind of creation deserves just as much royalty as any music record does.

After going through everything he said, I think it’s important to say that we shouldn’t outright dismiss Shawn’s post. As a guy who manages bands for a living, he’s going to defend them. The problem is how he presented his arguments.

I absolutely agree that photographers shouldn’t expect much of a payment if they were given permission to shoot those shows with benefits like free passes. In a sign of mutual respect, letting the band use the photos with credit would definitely be the good thing to do. But if a photographer’s there on professional terms, meaning someone from their company had to pay for the passes for them to be able to shoot, then Shawn can’t use that argument at all.

As for bands posting photos, even with watermarks, and getting backlash, Shawn needs to understand that most of the time those people are just looking for respect at the end of the day. It doesn’t come down to legality at that point; it comes down to courtesy. If you’re using someone’s photo, you at least let them know of what’s happening before you do it. It’s the professional thing to do, and it saves a lot of trouble in the end. But telling those photographers to “FUCK OFF” isn’t the right way to approach them either.

[Via The Phoblographer]

  • https://www.facebook.com/jordan.stanhopedean Jordan Stanhope Dean

    Deluded arsehole.

  • https://www.facebook.com/nishantc Nishant Chaudhary

    So they don’t want to hire a photographer but hope that if they allow photographers to shoot at gig then they SHOULD let them use the pics? Wow.

  • https://www.facebook.com/john.woodhead.319 John Woodhead

    What a tool!

  • https://www.facebook.com/john.woodhead.319 John Woodhead

    It would be different if a photographer used a song to soundtrack a slide show. What if Hollywood used their song in a film and not pay using the same argument? Should they just say thanks and be grateful!

  • https://www.facebook.com/drecart Derek Byrne

    I’m guessing this guy shot for FasterLouder. FasterLouder make money by getting people to shoot bands for free(think advertising clicks nation wide)So getting fucked over by the band and getting fucked over by the people he was shooting for, he’s totally fucked.

    • https://www.facebook.com/maazcon Maaz Khan

      That guy actually lives in Australia.

    • https://www.facebook.com/moses.rodriguez.165 Moses Rodriguez

      That tour manager is clearly wrong….

  • Charlie Bucher

    How is it a privilege to work with egotistical douchebags? I think the bigger issue was in RJA’s response to the photographer who initially handled it very well, responsibly and maturely. This is just as immature as the band’s response.

    • Maaz Khan

      Having a superiority complex is a given in most of the music industry. Because everyone sucks up to the famous guys and all their connections, those guys end up feeling entitled to it.

      In the case of both RJA and this tour manager, it comes off as absolutely ridiculous to them that someone’s not sucking up to them for once in their lives.

  • ScorpionGeorge

    Couldn’t agree more with this article. I appreciate your ability to think about the situation and reactions in a logical manner. Being that he’s a professional, I believe Shawn could and should have put out his opinion in a less aggressive way. Photographers also pay to take photos by purchasing gear probably just as often as musicians pay to record. I think the reason why people, including artists in other fields, don’t value photography as important of an art form as music is because anyone can pick up a camera and take pictures without looking like an idiot. On the other hand, a lot of people will look dumb trying to play an instrument because they would most likely be unable to play a few decent notes right away. Nonetheless, photography is just as much of an art form and takes just as much practice as music.

  • Sandro

    I think I’ll go find the latest Three Days Grace album on piratebay, after all they do not expect me to pay for it do they?

    • Cedric

      Of course not ! You let their music reach your ears, what a privilage ! What I see here is an impressive lack of respect and totally uncontrolled communications.

  • http://wilcfry.com/ Wil Fry

    Having tried both (music and photography), I can say it’s much harder to do music — at least w/o looking stupid. But copyright is copyright. This guy is essentially saying that if he mentions me in a song, then I can use his song without his permission? What an idiot.

  • Robert

    As Rohan even said. Had RJA simply asked to use the photo he probably would have asked for credit and nothing more. What Shawn doesn’t seem to understand is that if it weren’t for photographers his bands might not get the lime light they need to become international rock stars.

  • Hbluecheese

    #MCONPHOTOG

    But you’re right, give credit where it’s due. It’s cool though, I don’t think many people will be illegally downloading Three Days Grace these days anymore . They should be trying to leach money in other ways. I know Shawn is the one who said it, just a thought though

  • https://www.facebook.com/sakari.nylund Sakari Nylund

    Weirdest thing is that this guys job is art-related. He should know how copyright works. As far as I know, there’s difference between hiring a photographer to shoot you and letting photographer to shoot you [while working for a magazine, for example].

    • C Sab

      That’s why it’s so stupid. He clearly has no idea how copyright works and yet he works in an industry that creates art but he seems to think it works completely different than other forms of art. How did this guy get that kind of job anyway? I’ll never understand.

  • Sam Dickinson

    Easy solution. Photographer has to ask the band to be there, band has to ask the photographer to use the photos. It’s a two way street.

  • Alex_L_H

    “Hey, we really like this picture, would you mind if we use it?”… how hard is that, exactly? if they say no, don’t use it, that’s the end of it, if they ask for a fee and you’re willing to pay for it, pay it then use it, if you’re not, don’t, that’s the end of it.

  • Ivan Myring

    I’d say the camera was your instrument, the subject was your sheet music, and post processing was post processing

    • Andy

      Yeah. I think everyone at Fender (guitars), Marshall (amps), Zildjian (cymbals), Tama (drums), Roland (synths and effects), and so on have the right to download music made with their equipment for free. For example, the Fender Stratocaster has a very distinct shape and sound, so really any band that uses Fender equipment owes it to Fender, beyond what they paid for the instrument because you can’t put a price on something so legendary as a Fender guitar. PERIOD THE END MISSPELLING RUN ON SENTENCE

  • Katie

    The most baffling thing to me is they’re saying “This photo is good enough to use to promote our band/put on a tshirt that will sell for money, but we don’t think that means YOU should get any money or credit for providing the photo.”

  • Robert C. Gammon

    So… what if I took an audio or video recorder to the concert? I’m still “capturing” them. What if they even said I could, free tickets and the like? What then? What would be the difference?

  • J

    If you people read his comments on the post, that would be great. You’re blowing this out of proportion.

  • whinnnie

    The bigger issue here is people are still paying to see Three Days Grace.

  • C Sab

    I think Three Days Grace officially has the dumbest manager in the industry.