Singer and photographer fight over use of flash at Gasparilla Music Festival

Mar 14, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Singer and photographer fight over use of flash at Gasparilla Music Festival

Mar 14, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Ryan Adams’ performance at Gasparilla Music Festival had good music and good vibe, but also one unpleasant event. the singer and photographer Joe Sale fell out over the use of flash.

Sale took photos of the concert using a flash, while it was strictly prohibited. It’s not a caprice – it’s because the singer has a Meniere’s disease. Flashing lights can cause him to have vertigo-like symptoms, ocular migraines, and seizures.

When Adams saw the photographer using the flash, he called him out by improvising a song. He also reminded security to issue a reminder that the flashes are forbidden. And Sale responded in the rudest way possible – he flipped him a bird. This was just a beginning, and the argument continued on Twitter.

Sale wrote that he used the flash “from 2000 feet away,” as he was standing on an elevator lift platform behind the soundboard, and not in front of the band. “I shot the 12 other bands over 2 days w/o flash. You lived…write a sob story about it.”

As I said, the use of flash was not forbidden because Adams is a whimsical dude, but because he has a serious condition. So, he replied: “No, asshole. It says NO FLASH! Because I have MENIERES DISEASE and have SEIZURES!!!! Ok, Ansel Adams?”

Sale and Adams blocked each other shortly after, but angry Adams’ fans were not ready to let the thing go that easily. After backlash from them, Sale deleted his Twitter profile entirely.

A day later, he said he understood the situation, and he kinda apologized, but actually didn’t. He stayed with his story that he was far from the stage and he knew the flash couldn’t have the effect on Adams from that far. According to him, it was unfair to assume that he should have known of the Adams’ condition in advance.

Michelle Gutenstein, the spokeswoman of GMF, pointed out that all the photographers were warned about Adams’ condition in advance, which includes Sale, too. She also said that Sale was shooting for the festival itself, but like most festival workers he was an unpaid volunteer.

I am a photographer, and I love seeing and taking concert photos, but I just can’t go along with Sale here. I don’t understand his need to be such a smartass and estimate if the flash could or couldn’t harm Adams from that far. If the use of flash is prohibited, especially if you know the reason – then just don’t use it. Nobody will judge you for poorly lit photos because everyone knew you couldn’t use flash. And even if they don’t, be a human and respect someone’s condition and plea – even from “2000 feet away”.

[via Tampa Bay Times; image credits 6tee-zeven]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

36 responses to “Singer and photographer fight over use of flash at Gasparilla Music Festival”

  1. Nikolay Abadjiev Avatar
    Nikolay Abadjiev

    There are now “sides” on the matter of not respecting people’s health conditions despite of being warned about them?! Really?

  2. JDavid Avatar
    JDavid

    The few concerts I have shot have been no flash regardless of a band members medical condition. I have no sympathy for Sale. Burning the bridges for everyone and making it harder on the rest of us.

    1. Vanitas Foto Avatar
      Vanitas Foto

      That’s the sad thing, in the end this kind of photographers give bad rep to the ones respecting the rules, regardless if a singer has a medical problem or not, if they say “No flash” then it should be NO EFFING FLASH!

  3. Lis Thomsen Avatar
    Lis Thomsen

    If he was that far away the the flash were of no use anyway, not very professional. I hope the festival bans him. I know quite a few concert-photographers, not one of them use flash.

    1. Shelly Lloyd Avatar
      Shelly Lloyd

      That is what I was thinking. I only use the speed light when my subject is close and I need a bit of light. And I rarely point it directly at a person’s face cause that is just rude.

  4. Rik Martens Avatar
    Rik Martens

    The photographers that shoot during a concert of Ryan Adams are kindly warned before, so don’t use flash at his concerts. I never use flash during concerts. It’s more pleasing for the eyes. Flash only makes the pictures more “flat” and boring anyway…

  5. Ron Packer II Avatar
    Ron Packer II

    Everyone who picks up a DSLR these days is an instant “professional”. You see them advertising all over Facebook. Someone who knows their craft wouldn’t use a flash for concerts.

  6. Lee Sainsbury Avatar
    Lee Sainsbury

    I’m not a professional but I have shot a few bands and particularly one high profile artist who I’m a huge fan of at some very large well know arenas in the photographers pit, and I would never use flash as it kills the image, atmosphere…and it’s unprofessional.

  7. Wendy Page Avatar
    Wendy Page

    I would only use flash where the ‘stage lighting’ involved three leds and a torch battery – some small venues are completely neglectful of lighting. On a good stage with proper lighting, the last thing you need is a flash.

    1. Matthew Nehrling Avatar
      Matthew Nehrling

      If you are close enough to the stage to illuminate the musicians with a flash, you should never use the flash. It is probably one of the biggest “Never Do” rules of concert photography. It is distracting to the musicians. I’ve shot completely dark halls with poor stage lighting many times, you just need a fast lens and a camera that can handle high ISOs.

  8. Walter White Avatar
    Walter White

    I call bullish&t. A flash from that distance will have no effect on the quality of light on the subject so why use it anyway?

    1. Brendan Avatar
      Brendan

      This is my question as well. It would be very easy for the photographer to back up his claim even a little if he showed the photos from his pov.

      1. Sarah Ashley Avatar
        Sarah Ashley

        He did share the photo on his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JSalePhotography/photos/p.615542041984361/615542041984361/?type=3&theater Flash was not necessary IMO.

          1. Music Pix Avatar
            Music Pix

            I shot 300+ concerts in the past 12 years and i used flash 3 times.

  9. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    Follow the f*cking rules, Sale, or don’t bother showing up. Totally unprofessional, assh*le.

  10. Michael D Zielinski Avatar
    Michael D Zielinski

    I’ve shot exactly one concert. I didn’t have to be told that I shouldn’t use my flash. Nothing about a performance atmosphere lends to the use of it. I kept thinking I wouldn’t want to be the reason the guitarist missed a note out of distraction.

  11. Trevor Lovecross Avatar
    Trevor Lovecross

    2000 feet!? What kind of idiot thinks a flash would be of use over that kind of distance? I’m guessing that must be quite an exaggeration, as I doubt the singer would even notice it from six football fields away.

    1. David Little Avatar
      David Little

      I would, however, love to see a flash that worked at 2,000 ft. My friends and I used to photograph scenes at night across a lake by sticking a flash into the eyepiece of a telescope, essentially using it backwards, to project the flash onto the opposite shoreline, some 2,500 – 3,000 ft. It can be done, but not without an 8″ telescope sitting next to you.

      1. jakecarvey Avatar
        jakecarvey

        YEAH – love that technique – some pretty amazing results

  12. Sally Alden Avatar
    Sally Alden

    Flash would have been ineffective as it would not have travelled that distance. Concerts/festivals are generally lit brilliantly by lighting experts anyway, and as a photographer it’s your job to know all about your subject. Also if a performer actually pulls you up, then have the grace to apologize

    1. Dunja0712 Avatar
      Dunja0712

      Yes, exactly! I didn’t even mention that, and it’s pretty obvious. I get so annoyed at concerts (as a part of the audience) when a persistent dumbass next to me keeps shooting with cellphone + flash, keeps wondering why the photos suck, and then keeps on shooting the same way. I almost feel like giving them a crash course in photography basics, so they don’t get annoyed (and stop annoy everyone else with the flash). :)

    2. Ralph Hightower Avatar
      Ralph Hightower

      Agree. More than likely, he just illuminated the backs of peoples’ heads. I find it funny watching TV broadcasts of the Olympics, Super Bowl, and other stadium performances and seeing flashes go off in the stands; but those smartphone flashes don’t reach very far.
      Adams was right; Sale was wrong.

  13. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
    Chris Hutcheson

    No sympathy for Sale at all. For one, if you’re told not to use flash that should be the end of it right there. Second, if he’s shooting from “2000 feet away” I’m unclear on what flash would add to the image.

  14. Matthew Jackson Avatar
    Matthew Jackson

    He was a total d*ck to be sure, but as an unpaid volunteer he had nothing (of any value to him) to lose by being so lame. Obviously I am including his reputation in that as well.

  15. Adam Sternberg Avatar
    Adam Sternberg

    What an absolute asshole this photographer was. Even aside from the medical condition of Adams, even rookies know that shooting with a flash at a concert is a major distraction to people on stage and is extremely rude. If this fauxtographer was “2000 feet away from the stage” as he claims, then he would know his flash wouldn’t make damn bit of difference in his photo anyway. But the worst part about this story is the massive ego of this photographer. Rather than just admit he was a jerk, he doubled down on this stupidity. Hopefully venues deny this asshat access to future events in the area.

  16. Positive Image Avatar
    Positive Image

    Not professional at all. I shot for Warner Bros., Capital and Solar Records for years and one of the first things that you learn if you want to continue in this business is that you respect the client/artist.

  17. kennyd Avatar
    kennyd

    While I don’t suffer from the same level of sensitivity to flash as Ryan, I do have Meniere’s and know the effect of an attack. I had heard his story and was so impressed that he continues to perform in spite of it. Ryan’s response may sound over dramatic but attacks are the scariest thing I have encountered. Ignorance can be understood, but the photographer’s lack of empathy and further shows that he was not ignorant, just self-centered.

  18. Owen Avatar
    Owen

    “Sale and Adams blocked each other shortly after,”
    That’s where this should have ended. Why did if have to get to the stage where Sale has to delete his account.?

    1. pincherio Avatar
      pincherio

      Because he was a dick about the whole thing and the fans of Adams rightfully called him out on it. Every dick needs to be reminded that “No Means No!”

      1. Michelle Avatar
        Michelle

        Well Said !

  19. Ben Hosking Avatar
    Ben Hosking

    Sometimes it’d be nice to have a flash. So many bands insist on using backlighting primarily… or the venue’s lighting simply sucks. But at the end of the day, three songs/no flash tends to be the rule. Let’s live with it and move on.

    1. jakecarvey Avatar
      jakecarvey

      A great trick for low light band shoots, is to drop a battery powered 20W led flood or spot onto the floor on the floor to one side of the band – nothing in their eyes, they can play into the light as they like (and musicians, like models, tend to know EXACTLY where that light is…)

      prefer to have one or two wireless strobes i various locations behind / below / beneath – but in this case, due to restriction, obviously not an option, so the LEDs work quite well

  20. Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    With the kilowatts of light that are in a concert stage WTF was he using a speedlight from far away.

  21. David Rankin Avatar
    David Rankin

    what an arse ! what is the point of using flash anyway if he was miles away from the stage ?