Thursday, 12 July 2012

Boy George doesn't like my pictures

I spent most of Saturday taking pictures of Pride London - World Pride, having been commisstioned to do so by VisitBritain.

Boy George at World Pride

They had arranged a press pass for me, which gave me access to the press pit at the front of the crowds on Trafalgar Square, just next to the main stage.

At first all was going pretty well, though I had to fight with the light that was forever changing, but when the turn of Boy George to get on stage arrived, we (the assembled togs) were asked to sit down by a member of the security team. This was in my view unjustified and unpractical. This also meant we had to shoot the artists at difficult angles.

After spending many hours sorting out the results of my day of shooting and editing a selection of the 1000 or so images I had taken, I posted some on flickr as I usually do and tweeted some of them. One of my tweets was about the pictures of Boy George I had taken and included his tweeter name.

Not long after, I received a response from him. And not a positive one! Without really saying what, in his view, was wrong with them, he made it clear that he didn't like my images.
“You should edit with more consideration! I did not give you permission to shoot me and then put them online?”
When I answered that I had a press pass, he asked, rather cryptically, if this was akin to being in the Territorial Army. An information I could unfortunately not provide, having only been in the French army and being totally new at the press thing.

Soon after that he blocked me and as he kept ranting about the situation, eventually made his tweets private so that journalists could not read them.
“If you are shit photographer keep your work to yourself or get a fucking ladder!"

“Twitter should have heat gages [sic] so that I can prove I actually don’t give a flying ming vase about unimportant stuff!”

“I might be in full war paint with a big glittery hat cocked to one side but that don’t mean I am ready for my close up! F**K off!

“I don’t like photographers, well, maybe about 5. I’ve said it now – fuck off! Some people hate spiders I hate cameras! Except polaroid!

“I reserve the right to [sic] ugly in private and in public! Lol! Mousecake!”
Unimportant stuff, indeed!

It was too late however, the Streisand effect had kicked in. The editor of PinkNews saw my tweets and retweets and decided to write it up as a story.

The reactions I have seen have been unanymously supportive of me and, to the exception of a couple of people, condemning of Boy George. My flickr photostream got over 14000 hits yesterday and over 2700 today, as I write. Only a few hundreds at most would normally have seen those pictures. I have also gained several followers on Twitter. I would like to thank Mr O'Dowd for all that.

And for another lesson on how not to use social media.

I am sorry he didn't like my work. I enjoyed taking the pictures and watching his performance on the day. My advice to him, however, if I may be so bold, would be not to stand on a stage in front of several thousand people if he doesn't want unauthorised pictures of him to be taken.

I also can't help wondering what he will think of those pics of him at the same event, if he didn't like mine.

You can view my pictures of Pride London 2012 in this flickr set, including those at the source of this controversy. More images will be added in the coming days.