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Random Thoughts From A Restless Mind

Random Thoughts From A Restless Mind

Since starting this site, I’ve felt a bit trapped. I’ve been feeling that, to fit the format, I’ve had to write long, informative, illustrated articles. Even the “Quick Focus” pieces can’t be quickly written.

So, I’m going to try adding something new — something that will accommodate my Restless Mind, something that will let me write what I’m thinking while I’m thinking it.

And, something that might stimulate more contemporaneous feedback and help to create a sense of community.

Here’s the plan: I’m going to use this space to post  ”short” entries, random thoughts, whenever and wherever my restless mind takes me. Some will lead to longer articles, later. Some will just pass in the night. But, all will take a load off my mind.

[Special thanks to my very good friend Jim DiVitale for allowing me to use his brilliant creation as the logo for this column.]

16 Dec 2009: Seminar Manners — “Shooting Along” With the Teacher

Last month, I took my own “busman’s holiday”. I attended a seminar taught by a teacher and photographer for whom I have great respect. I won’t name him, here, because these thoughts are not related solely to his seminar but reflect both my experience and those of some of my friends.

These comments have nothing to do with the teacher and everything to do with the audience. He was perfect. The audience was not.

Throughout the two day seminar, a dozen or so of the two hundred students, without being invited to do so,  ”shot along” with the instructor. Some inadvertently set off his lights — right when he was getting ready to shoot. Others, shot bursts — hoping to catch the moment his lights would fire. Even when the instructor gently let it be known that he was not happy, they did not stop.

The rest of the students were not happy with their behavior, either. I sat one seat away from a woman who fired bursts throughout the seminar making it difficult to hear and follow the teacher.

I think this behavior was rude and disruptive — rude to the teacher and disruptive of the class.

At the time I could not imagine why there was so much shooting going on. I can fully understand if people were quietly and quickly shooting the “lighting set ups” for future reference. One click and done.

But, that’s not what they were doing. They were shooting the models. They were shooting the large screen upon which the instructor’s images were being displayed. They were taking pictures of his pictures!

To what end? I had no idea. To me, it seemed silly that someone would pay tuition to attend a class and then spend that class shooting instead of listening.

Then I got an email from a friend who had attended with me. He told me to go up on Flickr and search on the models’ names. Up came a bunch of the “bootleg” images taken at the seminar.

Perhaps, the students shooters do not understand that using those images is wrong.

It’s wrong because the images were the creation of the teacher — not the person who snapped them. Posing the model and lighting her were his creative work. Holding that work out as one’s own is intellectually dishonest.

And, using those pictures without a release from the model is wrong, too. (Some of the images of the models posted were taken when the models thought they were “off camera” or relaxing. They are less than flattering and it is wrong to post them.) The models have a legal right to control the use of their images; they gave the instructor a release; they did not do the same for the students.

Apparently, people do this at other seminars, too.

Sometimes I graze YouTube looking for good instructional videos. More than once I’ve come across low quality, bootleg videos of part of an instructor’s class — posted by someone who was obviously in the audience.

Perhaps, those student shooters don’t understand that this, too, is wrong.

These teachers make a living going around the country holding seminars. If people tape and “broadcast” those seminars, without the instructor’s permission, they destroy part of the market for the class. And, many of the teachers have their own DVD’s they are selling — again to make a living. I’m pretty sure that many of the YouTube videos were put up without the subjects approval, without a release; this, too, violates the legal rights of the teacher.

The better side of me wants to believe that the few students who disrupt seminars with their cameras are simply oblivious — they don’t understand that they are disrupting the class and that, if they use the stuff they shoot, they may be violating the law.

So, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and use this comment to remind them that unless a seminar is advertised and structured to allow us to “shoot along” with the instructor, we should not.

(Copyright: PrairieFire Productions/Stephen J. Herzberg — 2009)

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One Responseto “Random Thoughts From A Restless Mind”

  1. BRAVO! i’ve seen this happen all too often myself and am astounded by these frenzied acts of piracy. i could go on, and on, but i’ll just say i am so disappointed by this repeated scenario and am so sad that photography has been boiled down to acts of desperation. nothing short of insane.

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