Accidents involving “photographers” are becoming quite common in events nowadays.
When I hear that, the first image that comes to my mind is an accident in a Giro d’Italia a couple years ago where a rider was not able to steer away from the “photographer’s cloud” that gathers after a stage finish, SEVERAL meters after it, to shoot the mass sprint from a vantage point.
But this is not what I’m talking about. Last Giro d’Italia a rider got his arms severely hurt after encountering a camera lens creeping in the road over the barriers. Not a professional photographer, the guy had shot the on-going sprint with a long lens and was checking the shots with his lens still on the way. Couple of weeks ago, a similar thing happened during the English National Championship, knocking the rider on the floor, this time without severe injuries. Not a new thing actually, not many years ago, another rider left the Tour de France due to a crash with an amateur photographer (aka, person in the road with a camera).
I’ve got the inspiration to write about it here because of this last weekend. My family joined the city run and I, of course I took my camera to take some shots! The first to run was my son, small 600 meters run. Early before the start I positioned myself in curb and I had the mind not to obstruct anybody’s view or the race itself. I’m hard to miss, specially with a camera. Of course, as the start approaches, somebody goes right in front of me with a camera or a phone, as if I or anyone else were not there. No attention, no looking back, just the “I don’t care” mode. You try to steer, find a different spot, someone else comes. Closer to the start line, the professionals hired to cover the event, start placing themselves in the middle of the road. Some amateurs try the same spot and are sent away. All you can hear is the organization asking the people NOT TO OBSTRUCT THE ROAD!
Bottom line, I couldn’t get a shot of my kid, though I was one of the first ones to get there. Since I believe respect comes first, I’m OK with that, just frustrated not to have the same treatment.
Last year, for the city parade, something similar happened. I found a nice spot and wanted to shoot low. So I sat on the floor. As the parade approaches, one of the photographers for the local news agreed with my spot choice and decided to stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. After my protesting, the person moved “two steps” to the side, not without a disdain look. Or a kindergarten event where everybody with a camera wants to get the shot, regardless of being on the way of the parents that actually want to SEE the kids playing or receiving the prizes.
I’m pretty sure everybody has a similar story to tell. Anyway, we could start respecting our colleagues and people involved in the events we want to shoot. This could be a good start.