Easter Sunday. Everybody comes out in their best “Sunday Go To Church Clothes.” They gathered round to see the Original Men & Ladies Pigeon Town Steppers Easter Sunday 20th Annual Second Line Parade. They want to see the gang’s new bright spring colored suits. They want to dance a little. They want to celebrate.
They want to take pictures.
I don’t know when this became such a thing. But it has.
I was reading in some photo trade publication that sales of DSLR cameras have dropped from just over 1,600,000 units shipped in July 2012 to a little over 600,000 in January 2015. For the little tiny pocket cameras sales are even worse. Hmmm… anyone care to guess why?
All you have to do is look at these pictures and well, umm, you can see it pretty clearly. How many iPhones were sold for the release of the new iPhone 6 and 6 plus? Well, 4,000,000 in the first day alone. Total sales to date? Or, at least as close as I can get? 144.5 million. That’s just iPhones. What about Android products? Other products?
And, camera manufacturers are wondering why traditional camera sales are tanking.
For those who say photography is dead, I say nonsense. It’s just changing. Radically.
Then there’s this. My issue. Or, just about any working photographers issue.
You can see it.
Let’s be clear about a couple of things. These are public streets. Anybody can do what they’d like. As long as it’s somewhat legal. And, some things that are borderline legal. Working photographers have no more right to the street than anybody. We are not entitled. But, we do play by some rules. And, as aggressive as we can be, we aren’t as aggressive as some of these people. We move in and out of the crowd never really blocking anybody’s view for more than a few seconds.
Sheesh, these “new” photographers even managed to collapse the short yellow crowd control ropes just a few feet from the doorway where the paraders came out. The poor grand marshal pushed me back three times. That never happens. We are pals on the scene. He knows that I know. Every time that he pushed me back, the crowd pushed me in. On the third go, I looked at him and raised my hands in the classic, “what do you want from me?” pose. He just nodded back to me.
Still, I ask the question, why? Has the saying become true? “It didn’t happen if you didn’t take a picture.” Is that it? Has it become like catching beads during Mardi Gras? A mostly meaningless task that you’ll forget about in a few weeks. Or, is it something else? Is it trying to connect with somebody without actually getting too close? Without actually touching them? You know, post the picture about two seconds after you take it on some social site like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook as if too say, “Look, look. I was there. I have this picture to prove it.” I have no idea.
All I know is that it’s getting damn hard to do my job. I also know that if was someplace to “just” hangout and celebrate, I’d rather be on the scene eating a sausage and drinking a beer than fighting this crowd.
I dodged a bullet. Literally. Well, seven bullets. Two people were shot, one killed on the very corner where I had parked. Just about 15-20 minutes later.
Seems like everybody was shooting.