Camera Phones At Gigs - A moody rant from a moody photographer.

I’ll start this post off with a small, yet powerful illustration with regards to the use of camera phones at gigs. This image is aimed specifically at the usual 14 year old culprits watching the ENTIRE show on their phone screen.

Imagine the black box to be an average size stage (around 170sq ft)…now look at that little dot in the centre…thats the size of your phone screen in comparison! Scary right? You're watching the WHOLE show on that screen when theres a gigantic stage in front of you! WHY?
Rewind as little as ten years, the only thing that would be in your way would be the masses of hand gestures being thrown by the crowd. Fast forward to today, and if you're unfortunate enough to be anywhere behind the front row, its a dead certain that at some point you’ll be fighting to look through a crowd of camera phones.
Why venues are letting people do this is beyond me, practically nobody wins! People behind the front row cant see, and the people filming aren’t getting a ‘true’gig experience, leaving with nothing to show but some grainy, out of focus, underexposed videos with horrific sounding audio (usually with some annoying bitch screaming right into the microphone anyway!
Why people pay sometimes up to £40 to just sit and play with their phones is beyond me…THERE ARE PROFESSIONALS TO TAKE PHOTOS AND VIDEO FOR YOU! You know, those people with the big flashy cameras and proper credentials? They're payed to go there and take photographs so that you can watch the gig yourself, and not have to worry about missing anything because your phone froze! Professional photographers spend stupid amounts of time and money honing their craft, so you can bet your bottom dollar that they can produce better photos than your phone can…As shown below.

Take these two photos taken by myself from identical positions, theres a fairly big difference, right? Put simply, left = crap, right = good. Phones have physically TINY sensors in comparison to DSLR cameras…what does this mean? Grainy, motion blurred, distorted, poorly exposed, often pixelated, messy pictures. This alone shouts "LEAVE IT TO THE PHOTOGRAPHERS!"
For those wanting to get into music photography, starting out photographing big shows on your phone is not the way to go! Get down to a smaller more local venue, invest in the cheapest DSLR you can find (they go for under £100 on eBay) and shoot to your hearts content, Then spend countless hours learning how to edit the photos properly, that’s how to do it.
I’m going off on a tangent now, but want to know what makes it worse? In decent venues, photographers are only allowed three songs with no flash and thats it, whereas the crowd has none of these rules, pretty fucked huh? I suppose theres worse things happen at gigs though to be fair, don’t get me started on crowdkilling!
Having ranted to my hearts extent, what do I propose from all of this? Venues get strict on cameraphones! Allow 3 songs for fans to shoot then the phones go away! To make things even better, giving links to the actual photographers websites on social media sites wouldn’t go a miss for any of us! Also, fuck the phone manufacturers advertising the quality of their cameras for gig shooting! Im talking to you, Nokia! 

Rob Ellis