News with Richard Bleil
About four decades ago, a hilarious but excessively offensive movie was released containing a series of mini comedy sketches. One of these sketches centered around a court case and featured two people watching from the public area that were supposed to be Beaver and his brother Walley. Actually, I think that Walley was the actual actor from the television show. Be that as it may, of course they were antsy and making noise. Sure enough, they got shushed, and Walley says, “see? I told ya we’d get hollered at.”
Yes, I got hollered at, and as I write that, I’m hearing that line in my head. My friend was competing in a body-building competition. It’s not the kind of event that I like, but I respect the competitors and their efforts and dedication, and I wanted to support her, so there I was. As long as I was there, I wanted to take photos for practice so I can learn about photographing such events, and especially hoped to get pictures of her to share with her. I stood at the back of the audience so I wouldn’t block anybody’s view and turned off my flash so as not to be distracting and started taking photos. The official photographer must have worked with this organization as he won an award from them at the start of the show. An hour into the show, the official photographer came up to me (missing photos to do so) and informed me that photography equipment was not allowed at the show.
This kind of surprised me. You would think they’d want photographers there, but apparently not. Cell phone photography was allowed (but not live streaming, although how they could tell I have no idea), and I asked what the difference was. All he said was, “actually, there are a lot of differences.”
I’m nothing if not polite, so, fine, I returned to my seat, and begrudgingly put my camera into its case, my view blocked by all of the cell phones in the air and people blocking the isle for better angles. I think they may have wanted to throw me out as well, as I felt like somebody was standing over me, and sure enough somebody was standing just behind me with a walkie-talkie. I think I “lost” them because, I suspect, he was looking for the guy with the camera.
We have an odd habit as humans to focus on one thing. In college, during friendly dorm sporting events, there was one guy who would show up in a very loud flashy shirt. During important plays, he’d quickly change to a more low-tone shirt, and sure enough, the guy that was supposed to cover him lost him. I wasn’t trying to hide, but I think it might have turned out that way.
Now, let’s be fair. This might have been my fault. I didn’t see any signs about no photographic equipment, and I didn’t hear the speaker mention this at the start of the event, but on the other hand, I am not as observant as perhaps I should be considering my history. I’ve missed glaring signs before, but as I sat there, not really caring what was happening since my friend was not on stage, I looked at the ticket and the website for rules on photography and found none. An hour or so after I stopped, the announcer made the comment, “As another reminder, photographic equipment is not allowed…” and went on from there. But I really don’t remember the first reminder. I looked inside the event and saw no signs. Leaving, I did see a small sign on the wall that was clearly printed out taped to the wall at the entrance to the event, but the announcer looked rather surprised when asked to make the announcement, so I wonder if it was there when I walked in, carrying a bag that, at least to me, looked very much like a camera bag.
I’ve been at events before where photography of any kind was forbidden. They explained why (and it was a good reason), they had it on the front, they told everybody as they entered the event, and reminded them about the rule, several times, by the event MC. I distinctly remember him saying it, loud and proud, at least three or four times throughout the event.
So, yeah, I’ve been a bad boy. Apparently. But I also have a few hundred photos that I took, so yeah, plenty of material to study and assess for learning purposes. Insert grin here.