Kerri Bartup Photography

Some Memories Never Fade

'Professional' cameras at licensed events

Last weekend I went to a UCMMA match, which was being staged in London. Living in Brighton, the group of friends I went with had decided to make a day of it. We were all excited going to see a friend fight that evening, leaving Sussex at 11:30 in the scorching heat. I thought twice about taking the 5D because of the heat, with record temperatures set to be hit that day. In the vain hopes that I would get a couple of good shots at some point of the group and maybe some arty ones of London at a push I decided to persevere. blogEntryTopper
Last weekend I went to a UCMMA match, which was being staged in London. Living in Brighton, the group of friends I went with had decided to make a day of it. We were all excited going to see a friend fight that evening, leaving Sussex at 11:30 in the scorching heat. I thought twice about taking the 5D because of the heat, with record temperatures set to be hit that day. In the vain hopes that I would get a couple of good shots at some point of the group and maybe some arty ones of London at a push I decided to persevere.

Things were going swimmingly we arrived in London managed to arrive at the pub where a table had been booked, took a few snaps, wandered the tube for a while fighting the heat.
We arrived at the venue an hour early so spent the best part of that in the local pub, soft drinks only for me!

The time eventually came for the doors to open, having VIP tickets to the ‘Silver area’ of the venue we got in the correct queue and went in.

What is the reason for ‘big’ cameras not being allowed in to venues.

I walked through the door and was immediately nabbed by the head security man. Who said YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT IN WITH YOU and took hold of my camera with one hand.

The lady searching bags, as we went through made herself perfectly at home with my belongings, handing me the lens cap for my camera. I didn’t have time to worry about this, my biggest concern was the security guard with his mitts on my camera.

I was a little miffed at having carried the weight around all day only to be told you can’t take it in, on the other hand it’s not the first time it happened and it probably wont be the last.

There are two things that annoyed me about the situation.

The first being, the camera and lens together are worth in the region of £1800, which is no small price and probably more than the security guard who’s mitts were on my camera earns in a month.
I was very polite and asked the security guard if I could have some sort of receipt for as he was taking my camera. He declined my offer stating that all I needed to do was to come up to the desk at the end of the night and ask for him and he would bring me my camera.

It was at this point that I pointed out the cost of the camera. He still was not fazed and looked at me as if to say, why are you questioning me. This was backed up by his following comments. ‘Madame I am a security guard, you have my word.’ At this point I almost said, ‘you write me a cheque for £1800 and you have my word I wont cash it. Alternately provide me with your car keys, and I will give them back after the event, without so much as my name.’

But I bit my tongue and repeated. ‘I do not have a problem with not being able to take my camera in, however I have a problem with the potential for someone else to have overheard this conversation (we were standing write next to the door where at least 20 others had now passed through) and could come along and take my camera without any ID or any receipt and I would be left with no comeback at the end of the evening.
Puffing as if he had been slapped across the face, he eventually caved in and handed me a piece of paper to write my name on to attach it to the camera before it was removed.

I then made the mistake of asking for a pen, security guard number 1 did not have one, so asked security guard number 2 who decided it would be funny to respond with ‘my pen cost me £2000 so I can’t let anyone use it.’
He then laughed at his own joke, surprisingly nobody else did. I couldn’t stop the ‘back-chat’ any longer and responded with ‘the difference being I’m not asking you to give it up am I? Just to use it in front of you.’

Realising he had touched a sore point he then said to Security Guard Number 1, ‘why don’t you just take the battery, then let her keep the camera,’ he then turned to me and said ‘if you have a spare and you get caught using it, we will kick you out’. I nodded was handed back my camera and asked for the battery, I handed over the battery which was placed into an envelope with a ticket and I was handed the other stub.

Security Guard Number 1 still looked a little wounded, although I was now not sure if it was having to back down to me, or his number two having a better idea than him which solved the problem.
It put a dampener on the evening, as I was now wound up, and all I had done was made a reasonable request which had seemed like the most comical and hardest thing that he had ever been asked.
I don’t have a spare £1800 to replace the equipment which I use to earn money.

As if to prove the point at the end of the evening, when I went to collect my battery, nobody had any idea where it was, I was asked where it had been put, like I had any idea. It was found soon enough but goes to show, that something in an envelope with my name and ticket stub attached wasn’t well looked after.

The second thing that annoyed me was, I hadn’t particularly wanted to take pictures of the fight, it was more for a friends thing and to take some snaps at the end with the friend who was fighting, just for laughs and giggles really.

The lighting in the arena was never going to be brilliant and bearing in mind I hadn’t bought my tripod, I would be limited on the light, space etc, they were never going to be pieces of art, there is so much smoke thrown across the arena during the entrance videos that all of the pictures are going to be hazy even with a flash.

In relation to my seat, I was a good 25 meters away from the cage they fight in, the key word being ‘cage’ this suggests a mesh that stops any photos of great quality from any distance, without a tripod or huge lens.

The guys who were officially photographing the event were climbing ladders to take pictures over the cage. And were allowed in during the round breaks and before and after the matches.

What now constitutes as a professional camera? They’re many a compact cameras with the ability to act like an SLR and fit in a handbag.

Those who had gold VIP tickets were feet from the cage, all with point and shoots, a much closer range than I would have been able to achieve, what is the difference between me taking in my camera, and them taking in theirs?

All of them have taken pictures of the fighters, and I know for a fact those images are up on the social media websites and videos on YouTube. Not one of them was asked not to film or take pictures, the show hasn’t even aired on National Television yet, it is not due to go out until next week on sky sports.

Why then am I told I can’t use my camera? Just because it looks bigger than the others. The pro’s taking the photographs at the ringside were using either 500d’s or a 600d, I didn’t see anything bigger.

Most tourists have something that looks similar to these, without closer inspection and a knowledge of the model system that Canon, Sony and Nikon to name a few use, I doubt many security guards can tell the difference between a Canon 1000 and a D5, or in fact know what the difference is.

I didn’t use my camera for the evening as I had paid good money to see the fighters, I didn’t want to get thrown out, I did have a spare battery in my bag.

My point being, without me being ringside, which I couldn’t afford, I wouldn’t have been able to produce anything better than what the official photographers took. I do not see a problem with wanting to take some decent pictures of the group I was with.

Perhaps instead of the confiscation of cameras they could get us to sign disclaimers, to sign to say we wont use the pictures for commercial/advertising usages etc. Then if they get used they can sue if they feel that way inclined.  

As I had already stated, I took the D5 for the other bits throughout the day, but taking two cameras is excessive, I don’t see a problem with wanting to take some pictures of the group during the course of the evening.

Who decided what constituted as a professional camera?
Someone with a lot of money who likes to have the best of everything can buy the ‘professional camera’ but doesn’t necessarily now how to use it, or puts it on manual with no career surrounding it gets the camera taken away in events/locations. Someone with a compact can take a decent picture and use it how they wish?