As I said in the Shane Ritchie post a while back it is always nice to work with fellow professionals. Ms Patsy Kensit was photographed yesterday in West London, and it was a refreshing change from some of the tantrum throwing celebrity wannabes, to work with an actress that was professional, courteous and completely charming. Completely cheered me up 🙂
It’s not always nice to go to a celebrity wedding, however, when it is attended by professional old hands such as many of the cast of East-Enders it makes life a lot easier. Despite Shane Ritchie doing a buy up deal with a magazine, myself and two snappers from the News of the World, were surprised to find ourselves the only photographers present. I managed, just to get a smudge of him arriving at church, a big pull up, on a 70-200
Usually such events are widely known about in the media, especially since the date had been published in the Sun a short while ago. So we had the job to ourselves, except for the security staff, a couple of whom behaved like the sort of twats that get the industry a bad name.
The British Media has been in the spotlight for several reasons over the past few days, many of them related, so here is a summary of my thoughts, reasons and possible solutions to the problems. The reason for this posting is that there have been quite a few posts on the F8andbethere.com Press Photographers Forum that I administrate, mostly saying that Jay Kaycappa is a twat and it will have further ramifications.
Firstly, there is the court case that concluded that Jay Kaycappa was guilty of assaulting Heather Mills McCartney. Whether or not she is a gold digging, publicity whore is neither here nor there, the main issue is that Jay Kaycappa: (is that his real name, after all he has used numerous identities in the past, it certainly sounds made up to me***, taking a pop-stars name, (Jay Kay)and adding a mis-spelt war photographer’s name to it (Robert Capa) ), was on a shift for the News of the World at the time that he assaulted her. This means that the News of the Screws paid for this idiot to be chasing Heather M-M. Whilst I am sure that they are the last ones to want their photographers to assault a celebrity (or a member of public) they should surely carry out some rudimentary checks on the photographers that they are sending out in the name of their publication.
Secondly, the Kate Middleton Harassment allegations, a select committee in the House of Commons mildly rebuked the Press Complaints commission over the delay to police the Newspaper Industry. When the PCC did, the Newspaper Editors vowed not to use “paparazzi” photographs of Kate Middleton. The problem here is that people have a different idea of what a paparazzi is:
Joe Public thinks that any press photographer is paparazzi, and trust me it is true, people who knew me used it as a pejorative term, even when I only did hard news. The Press-Photographers generally consider it to be a “sub-set” of press photography, that tends to attract the “fast buck”, “anything goes” poorly trained, low ethic thugs that will not stop to think through the ramifications of their actions, the newspapers seem to consider a paparazzi as someone that doesn’t work for them or get paid directly by them, so if their stringers are mobbing celebs because the picture desk have ordered them to, they are not paparazzi.
The biggest issue with the Kate Middleton Paparazzi video shown by BBC News24 and Sky News who vilified the Press Photographers, and whilst taking this holier than tho’ attitude completely failed to mention that they had their news crews there filming, Don’t Believe Me? See here, which makes them two-faced.
However, the majority of the photographers on the scene, were covering newspaper shifts for specific titles, both here in the UK and Abroad. They had been ordered there by the publications picture desks, and were doing their job.
Now the newspapers saying that it was the paparazzi that caused the problems is typical of the printed media, burying their heads in the sand saying that it wasn’t their problem. Them being told not to use paparazzi photographs of Kate, isn’t going to make the problem go away, since they were sending their own photographers anyway.
The newspaper industry has got to clean up it’s act, it has to face that it is at the root of most of the problems. Newspaper reporters in a recent survey of the public came out less trusted than politicians, I wonder why that is? Could it possibly be that members of the public are not as gullible as those who run the newspapers believe? Could be possible that members of the public can see through the ‘non-attributable’ quotes (those that the journalist made up, and so cannot give the name of the source?)
A typical example of the sort of standards that are applied to news stories was revealed by the BBC, over a film that they had commissioned, about HM Queen in her 80th year. I can pretty much guarantee how the story came about. The BBC received the footage from the production company, it was forwarded to a BBC reporter, who was probably told to try and get an interesting angle so that we can use it on News24.
He did his bit, then the rest of the news media picked up on it, started attributing quotes to non existent individuals and generally over egging it, as a result, Buck House get annoyed, BBC get egg on their faces and apologise. The BBC are unlikely to get another inside look at the Royal Family for a while, they won’t care because neither will anyone else. Not only that it is 10 years before a significant birthday for the Queen, assuming that she is still about, everyone will have forgotten the debacle.
So apart from some rambling and bitching, what is that I am trying to say. Simple really: One. Like with every industry there are some twats who spoil it for the many.
Two. More often than not, it isn’t the individuals that deserve the criticism for going about their jobs, but the newspapers that put them there. Three. The news media industry needs a shake-up, from the top down. Four. Editors and Picture Editors need to think about their responsibilities to the public and their stringers and shifters.
Five. What is the point of having Met Police vet Press Cards if papers don’t care if their photographers have them.
Six. The TV news Media, which rely on the Newspapers for much of their content need to realise their relationship is symbiotic, they are both in the same game. Without a good newspaper industry, their content will dwindle, so don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
SevenThere is no number seven.
Eight Joe Public needs to know that the Media are chasing stories that the editors think that they want to read, the fact that they are wrong, isn’t really their fault. If you keep buying OK, Hello and Heat magazines they are going to think that you are celebrity obsessed.
Seven. Ahh there it is.
Nine. If you don’t like what the paper are doing in your name (public interest is a much abused reason for Newspaper intrusion) don’t buy the newspaper. Ten. Don’t buy the same newspaper, just because it is habit, or because your father did, try others, see if any of them are more ideally matched to your needs, if none use the internet.
Enough for now other than to say, Jay Kaycappa is extended the right to reply on this blog should he wish to do so. However, if he feels that my name-calling is un-warranted, I shall just say that a great many other Professional Press Photographers have been saying the same thing.
*** I think I might change my name to Purple Helmut (from Deep Purple and Helmut Newton) I think that will work, Purple Helmut, I am calling the printers as we speak for new business cards!
Bloody good job too, we need to get these chavs out of the industry. As I posted a little while ago it is these sorts of arseholes that contribute to the very poor reputation that proper press photographers have, I for one will be pleased if the twat never works again. Now in the eyes of the public we will be tarred with the same brush, so all press togs will be the undeserving victims of even more abuse and spite.
I had a little rant about dust on image sensors a little while back, and that some photographers should just learn to deal with it, then today whilst trawling the “What the Duck” website I saw this image which made me chuckle. Original Rant Here ‘,
So Jessops are to spend £3,000,000 squid to boost their standing by using an advertising agency to boost it’s brand. Seeing as the Olympic Committee spend £400,000 on their branding, I am wondering what Jessops expect to achieve. My personal thoughts would be use the £3 million in a more effective way. Recruit and train staff appropriately, Improve customer service, stop printing catalogs that are out of date before they reach the printers, aggressively price products in the shop and on-line.
Their logo could certainly do with refreshing, it seems very dated, but to be honest, most customers don’t really buy because of a logo, they buy because they get Good Advice, Good Choice, Good Pricing, Good After Sales support, and a warm comfortable feeling from doing business. Generally I haven’t heard a bad word about their after-sales support, but then that may not be a good thing, I have heard many stories of customers returning perfectly good equipment and getting refunds or replacements when a reasonably knowledgeable member of staff could have solved the problem without the expense. And in doing so would probably have gained a very loyal customer.
Whilst the Newspapers have received a mild rebuke from the Press Complaints Committee over the Kate Middleton Harassment, most of the criticism has been levelled at the photographers on the ground. Which I find abhorrent, most of the photographers that were at the heart of the criticism were stringers/shifters for national newspapers, specifically ordered there by their respective picture desks.
Whilst some of them didn’t behave in a professional manner and have left themselves open to criticism a great many contented themselves with photographs from the other side of the street and once she had gone put their cameras away/down whatever and went for coffee. A few idiots monstered her and followed her around in cars and on motorbikes, but again most would have been under strict orders from their desks. Trust me it is true in the time that I have worked for the National Newspapers there were numerous occasions that I was asked to go beyond the line of common decency, they were also scared of being caught doing underhand things so would regularly tell me, if questioned you are nothing to do with the XXX Newspaper Group.
So doing something they are not proud of, and not having the gumption to admit it if caught out. What a great industry it is.
According to a select committee report on the PCC and the Newspapers :
“In the case of Ms Middleton, harassment was evident, yet photographs taken by the paparazzi continued to appear in national and regional papers. We see no plausible public interest defence. That is because the paparazzi didn’t take the pictures, most were shifters and stringers in direct pay and control of the newspapers.
“We conclude that editors, in failing to take care not to use pictures of Kate Middleton obtained through harassment and persistent pursuit, breached the Code of Practice. You should be levelling the question, why continue to commission photographers to harass and persistently pursue.
“The PCC appears to have waited for a complaint to materialise: it could and should have intervened sooner. There may be valid reasons why a person who is suffering from media intrusion is reluctant to make a formal complaint. Not likely when the perpetrators are the very same people who run the PCC. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
“The Press Complaints Commission took too long to act to protect Kate Middleton from clear and persistent harassment.” Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? see above‘