Monday, February 15, 2010

Wrong Place

©Michael Grieve

We are living in a time of great control in all aspects of society. I was recently commissioned to photograph on the red carpet at the London Film Festival. The PR company told me that I was one of three in-house photographers. My specific brief was to represent the festival as exciting and vibrant, something other than the stiff photo call standard, the great yawn of nothing photography. Smashing I thought, a well paid job and a free reign to make interesting photographs. I'd shot in this environment before, when I worked for The Independent newspaper in 1999 without any great hinderance. But not this time as I quickly realised that the 'fascists with clipboards' (PR) were not going to let me do my thing even though I was very reasnoble (honest) about it and expained that my brief wanted me to have greater freedom. Oh, no. These women, who disliked me getting close to the talent as it apparently angers the publicist, made life very, very difficult for me. They wanted me to only photograph in three places. One on the red carpet, the other just inside the foyer with the 'talent' pinned up against advertising and then again upstairs getting exactly the same shot as before and exactly the same shot as the other two in-house photographers. In other words, whats the point, where is the spontaniety, where is the difference? The week ended in dispute. I had complaints made against me, even though mine were not heard, or even respected... I had been stopped from doing my job by insensitve souls who really do not care about anything except their pre conditioned rules. By the end of the week I ended up not caring and found it hard to raise any kind of enthusiasm or will to fall into line. My crime.... I cared too much about producing good work. The ridiculous world of PR and celebrity culture has spawned a perverse image control code of conduct, cheapening our culture.
However, I managed to take this photograph of Eva Green with my old Leica M6, stealing the flash from the paparazzi, by being in the wrong place, that is often the only place to be.