Last weekend I was playing for a cocktail hour at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Miami when it happened.
Everything was going well. The hotel had self-parking (I’ll pay $30 not to have to deal with valet any day), the event was moved inside due to rain (not to mention the unbearable Miami summer heat), and the bride had invited me to play whatever I wanted during the hour. Pretty much the best situation I can hope for at a gig where I had to come down $100 on my fee.
You know those moments when you are out playing somewhere and a patron of the establishment or guest of the event comes up and starts snapping selfies. Or worse, when someone saddles right up to the harp and stands awkwardly while their friend takes a photo; never asking the performers consent for those photos to be taken.
Have you ever thought about how many people have photos of you stored in their phones, computers, and maybe even hung on their walls???
I don’t know why this irritates me so much, and I know I can’t be alone in these feelings. As a staunch feminist and humanist, being objectified in this manner makes me feel all sorts of icky. Not only that… but… I mean, come on. No one wants a photo of them taken when they aren’t ready. I shudder to think of the hundreds of terrible photos of me out in the world. How’s a girl supposed to create an image in a world where so few people seemingly understand the concept of respect for individuals other than themselves (sorry that was pretty cynical…)??
This is not a new problem…
And it doesn’t always bother me this much… but this last weekend it just really irked me!
I came home and began my traditional post gig complaint session with my fiancée Dannel, and he said something to me that began to soothe the angry tiger of rage inside of me. He said: we (meaning musicians) are celebrities in a sense, and are treated thusly.
I laughed… thats ridiculous. If that were true I wouldn’t be fretting over wether its more cost effective to hire a photographer or a videographer for my wedding, I’d be able to pay all my bills no problem, and I wouldn’t constantly have to worry about creating the next side hustle. But then we talked a little more and I started to see his point.
Think about the way people treat celebrities. For every 10 bad pictures of me playing my harp on someones cellphone there are probably 1000 terrible pictures of Jennifer Lawrence in a bikini at the beach. That puts things a little more into perspective for me, at least.
… maybe we are celebrities on a VERY small scale. But, with the irritation of that reality there is also the joy of bringing our gifts into peoples lives. People take pictures because they want to remember an experience that was impactful to them. Not everyone is socially adept enough to understand that the right thing to do is ask a persons permission before taking a picture and it is with those people that we have to remember how lucky we are not to be Jennifer Lawrence.
How does it make you feel when people take your photo without asking? Have you ever considered putting a photo clause in your contract?? Comment below with your experiences and have a great week!