At most concerts these days, when the houselights go down, the tiny glowing screens go up. As more fans mark the moments with smartphones, cameras and pocket-sized video recorders, a new kind of digital divide is emerging. Music lovers who try to document and share the essence of concerts are squaring off against those who think that just defeats the purpose. The debate is drawing participants from both sides of the stage. [WSJ]
John Jurgensen's recent WSJ article touches on an interesting debate that I've had with myself on a number of occasions. I love concerts and I love photography, so yes, I'm often one of the 100 people at your show taking pictures and some video of your band up on stage. Am I the guy that takes a thousand images of the same basic shot? No. Am I the guy that takes pictures of himself in front of the band as they play to prove to his friends that he was there? Definitely not. Nor am I the guy that takes a picture and then has to show it to all the people around them. Each of those things is FRIGGIN' annoying...everyone agrees. But beyond the affect on the people around you, if you are too busy with your camera, you are missing out on enjoying the show. Mind you, at least in LA, I'd say there are about a good 40+% that aren't there to listen to the band...but that's another post for another time.
In the past, I've found myself so consumed with capturing the moment (for my own memory) that I was no longer enjoying the show for the show itself. I wasn't living in the moment, I was living in the 10 moments in the future when I'd look at those pictures. I now realize that's not worth it. So what I do now...and what I propose to all amateur concert photographers...let's do what the pro's do. You always see professional photographers for music mags or music blogs (like Sung from LosAnjealous or MySugarSpun) taking their shots for the first 3 songs or so...then they are escorted out of the photographer's pit. I now limit myself to pics from the first few songs...and maybe 1 video. Then I put the camera away, and focus on building my own memory of the band, the music and the people and not the aperture of my Canon s90.