Freelance Chronicles Episode 10 – Celebrity Status

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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???

photographerCreepy.

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.

Celebrities?

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 Paparazzihis 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.

So yeah…

Jennifer Lawrence

Actress Jennifer Lawrence

… 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!

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About Author

Miami based Dr. of harp, gown-addict, lover of bulldogs, and fitness enthusiast.

4 Comments

  1. Candace Lark-Masucci on

    I do feel awkward when people take pics like that but I just tell myself its because they like it, its neat its different. I do wander how many pics people have me it must be hundreds that I have never seen before.

  2. Vincent M. Titara on

    Kristina- that’s exactly how I used to feel when I was a headlining drag queen in Ybor City. There are so many bad pics of me, I am sure. As performers, we are like local celebrities.

  3. erica-messer on

    It’s even worse when you are busking! I had a woman come right up about 6 inches from my hand to take a picture of it and it scared me and I messed up–I’m always getting caught by surprise and having a hard time focusing when people get really close to me when I’m performing. Velvet ropes would be great!

  4. mary-keller--2 on

    Many courtesies are on the wane, so it’s not surprising that fewer people ask if the harpist (or whoever) is ok with having her photo taken. And of course with all the self-interest in selfies, more and more people seem to need to take photos of themselves with performing musicians. But how much of a problem is this really?? Isn’t it nice to play an instrument that attracts and delights others? And many of the “bad” photos are actually pretty accurate images of how musicians look! It’s not the photographers’ fault if they catch you squinting, or frowning, or playing with a bit of a double chin showing. The next time you see someone about to take a photo, sit up straight and look like you’re enjoying yourself!

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