As a photographer, I’m very grateful for the existence of phone cameras. However, when I go to concerts, I can’t get over the fact that so many people watch them through their teeny tiny displays. They not only miss the show, but they block the view for all of us behind them.
While I received lots of hate for my rant on this topic, I’m not the only one who detests all those phones up in the air during concerts. In fact, performers hate them too, and Biran Molko and Stefan Olsdalof Placebo recently expressed it quite clearly.
While scrolling through Facebook earlier today, I stumbled upon a post from Placebo asking fans to enjoy the show rather than shooting it with their phones. Brian and Stefan cite precisely the same problems I have with concert-goers who spend most of the concerts with phones up in the air.
Dear Placebo fans,
We would like to kindly ask you NOT to spend the concert filming or taking photos with your mobile phones. It makes Placebo’s performance so much more difficult. More difficult to connect with you and to communicate effectively the emotions of the songs. It is also disrespectful to your fellow concert-goers who want to watch the show, not the back of your phone. Please be here and now in the present and enjoy the moment. Because this exact moment will never ever happen again. Our purpose is to create communion & transcendence. Please help us on our mission. With respect and love.
Brian and Stefan
Dear Placebo fans, We would like to kindly ask you NOT to spend the concert filming or taking photos with your mobile…
Posted by Placebo on Thursday, November 17, 2022
Reading this post, I thought to myself – heck yeah! I remembered a guy at Roger Water’s concert who started filming with his tablet. I also thought of this 6’7” dude at The Cure’s concert who spent the entire time with the phone in his hand… Although he was blocking the view for the shorter ones among us anyway. :)
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against taking a few photos and video clips as a keepsake, especially if the light is good. Serbian singer-songwriter Nikola Vranjković comes to mind here as the lighting at his performances is just perfect! I’m usually in the first row when I listen to him and his band, so I tend to take a few snaps because I just can’t resist the fantastic lighting. But I don’t take videos and don’t spend the majority of my time at concerts with the phone in my hands. It would be a shame with music like this, and I’m also not a fan of being a nuisance for those behind me.
As I mentioned in the introduction, many performers don’t like it when fans shoot their concerts with phones and there are different reasons for that. Like Placebo, some don’t enjoy the lack of connection this produces. Others hate the phone camera flash many people still don’t know how to turn off. Nikola is one of them, by the way, and he has no problem calling you out if you shine your phone light into his eyes. Some musicians don’t want the concert material to be published without a license. And yet the others are… well, just annoyed, without telling us why.
Whatever the reason may be, I think that we should respect the performers and the code of conduct they set for their shows. If they don’t want you to shoot concerts or it’s downright forbidden – respect that. And even if it’s allowed, I recommend taking a few photos as keepsakes and enjoying the music with all your heart for the rest of the night.
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