Friday, May 11, 2007

The Trials of Uncool

While putting together the source material (aka, "watching the show") for my latest review (review here, photos here), I had my second-ever encounter with what I like to call the "my publication's not cool enough" syndrome. To be honest, the syndrome is an underlying current in all of my comped tickets because I tend to get attached to the guest lists of opening bands - in the case of this show, I enjoyed myself courtesy of Kataklysm - but it really expresses itself when it comes to photographing headliners. As it turns out, not every band is as psyched to have someone from take pictures of them as I would hope, so twice in the past seven months - first with Megadeth and now with Dimmu Borgir, I had the pleasure of being barred from the photographer's well by the main act. As I result, every time I pack up my camera, I think, "will tonight be another night where I won't get to shoot the whole show because we're not cool enough? Will I chose to take pictures from the audience like every other fan, or just cut my losses?" Tough dilemmas, my friends, tough dilemmas indeed.

"Not being cool enough" is an odd feeling because after six shows, I'm starting to recognize certain photographers by sight; guys who clearly work for major metal publications because of their large cameras and consistent photo access. Even though I've never talked to any of these guys, the cool guys who can take pictures of any on they want, I feel a little intimidated: do they notice? Will they somehow take advantage of my lesser status by blocking me out of a key shot in a (sometimes over-) crowded well? Does it really matter, because they're professionals and I'm just an amateur exploring a hobby? The rational consciousness shrugs off, the irrational subconscious thinks about a little too much to be healthy.

The other half of the story is that the "not cool enough" syndrome is a little irrational. is the biggest website you've started to hear of, with millions of visitors each month; so why doesn't it get the respect of major metal magazine when it comes to photo passes? The problem is perception, I'm sure; those millions of visitors tend not to be in the right demographic, so doesn't have the same presence in the metal landscape as a Kerrang! or Metal Maniacs despite having many, many more readers as a whole. Fixing that perception will take a lot of work and isn't really something I can control, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming - and fearing - every time I pick up a camera.

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