Advice and help on becoming a world class photographer by Sports Photographer Vince Rush

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What is America?

 

I can hear the fireworks off in the distance tonight as July 4th winds down and I can pause a few minutes to reflect on the history of this great nation on this Independence Day. For some, this day is truly a celebration of the birth of this nation and a remembrance of our Founding Fathers’ vision of a nation free from tyranny and the recognition that Liberty and Freedom are rights whose source is Divine Providence and can never be taken away by man or government. For the majority of Americans this is just another day off from their jobs. There are BBQ’s and picnics, parades and carnivals, sparklers and fireworks. Yet the majority fail to reflect on the Declaration of Independence as the greatest document ever in the history of mankind apart from the Bible followed by the ratification of the US Constitution which established the role of government and the rule of law in this Democratic Republic.

As Thomas Jefferson authored…

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

 The founders penned their vision of a government that derives it’s powers from the governed. It is also the Right of the People to abolish or alter it IF the government becomes destructive to these rights endowed by our Creator. The Declaration reminds us of the limited role that government should have. The Constitution defines that role. The goverment does not guarantee HAPPINESS (nor can they ever) but rather ensure our God-given right to PURSUE HAPPINESS. So what is America? Is the America we live in today the same that the Founders signed their death warrants for? What about all those patriots who gave their lives from the Revolutionary War to present day defending our liberty and our way of life? Is this the same America? Is America that “shining light on the hill” to a dark world anymore? Is America still exceptional?

Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

 

 

John Adams’ famous letter of July 3, 1776, in which he wrote to his wife Abigail what his thoughts were about celebrating the Fourth of July is found on various web sites but is usually incorrectly quoted. Following is the exact text from his letter with his original spellings:

 

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

 

There was no illusion to those present in Philadelphia that this journey would not be easy.

 

Upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence Ben Franklin responded to a comment by John Hancock that they will all hang for this. He was the eldest signer of the Declaration of Independence, and when he finished signing the document, he joked, “Gentlemen, we must now all hang together, or we shall most assuredly all hang separately.”

 

The members of the Continental Congress committed to each other and their country:

 

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

 

Were these just words? Did they really “walk the walk” as we say today?

 

We tend to forget that to sign the Declaration of Independence was to commit an act of treason — and the punishment for treason was death. To publicly accuse George III of “repeated injuries and usurpations,” to announce that Americans were therefore “Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,” was a move fraught with danger — so much so that the names of the signers were kept secret for six months.

 

Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.

Five were captured by the British.

Eighteen had their homes — great estates, some of them – looted or burnt by the enemy.

Some lost everything they owned.

Two were wounded in battle.

Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.

 

“…our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

 

We all recognize John Hancock’s signature, but who ever notices the names beneath his? William Ellery, Thomas Nelson, Richard Stockton, Button Gwinnett, Francis Lewis — to most of us, these are names without meaning. But each represents a real human being, some of whom paid dearly “for the support of this Declaration” and American independence.

 

Lewis Morris of New York, for example, must have known when he signed the Declaration that he was signing away his fortune. Within weeks, the British ravaged his estate, destroyed his vast woodlands, butchered his cattle, and sent his family fleeing for their lives. Another New Yorker,William Floyd, was also forced to flee when the British plundered his property. He and his family lived as refugees for seven years without income. The strain told on his wife; she died two years before the war ended. Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper. The home of William Ellery, a Rhode Island delegate, was burned to the ground during the occupation of Newport. Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton, three members of the South Carolina delegation, all suffered the destruction or vandalizing of their homes at the hands of enemy troops. All three were captured when Charleston fell in 1780, and spent a year in a British prison. Thomas Nelson Jr. of Virginia raised $2 million for the patriots’ cause on his own personal credit. The government never reimbursed him, and repaying the loans wiped out his entire estate. During the battle of Yorktown, his house, which had been seized by the British, was occupied by General Cornwallis. Nelson quietly urged the gunners to fire on his own home. They did so, destroying it. He was never again a man of wealth. He died bankrupt and was buried in an unmarked grave. Richard Stockton, a judge on New Jersey’s supreme court, was betrayed by loyalist neighbors. He was dragged from his bed and thrown in prison, where he was brutally beaten and starved. His lands were devastated, his horses stolen, his library burnt. He was freed in 1777, but his health had so deteriorated that he died within five years. His family lived on charity for the rest of their lives. In the British assault on New York, Francis Lewis’s home and property were pillaged. His wife was captured and imprisoned; so harshly was she treated that she died soon after her release. Lewis spent the remainder of his days in relative poverty. And then there was John Hart. The speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, he was forced to flee in the winter of 1776, at the age of 65, from his dying wife’s bedside. While he hid in forests and caves, his home was demolished, his fields and mill laid waste, and his 13 children put to flight. When it was finally safe for him to return, he found his wife dead, his children missing, and his property decimated. He never saw any of his family again and died, a shattered man, in 1779.

 

We owe these patriots a debt of gratitude! Do our children know about these people? Do our Public Schools teach these truths regarding the birth of our nation? I am starting to doubt whether many in Congress or even the White House appreciate and honor these heroes or even care. To some, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution is “just a paper”. What is America?

 

I will not forget a speech by Ronald Reagan that warned us about the fragility of our Liberty:

 

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” ~ Ronald Reagan, from his first inaugural speech as governor of California, January 5, 1967

 

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are knitted together and that many of the members of the Continental Congress were influemtial in the writing of our ageless Constitution and Bill of Rights. The recognition that our rights are endowed by our Creator extends into the first Amendment of our Constitution where there is protection of the free exercise of religion. It does NOT say anything about freedom FROM religion or the exercise of it. Our First Amendment begins by limiting the scope of governmental authority over religious matters: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  

 

John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

 

To deny America’s Judeo-Christian heritage is to walk away to what has blessed our nation for so many years. Many progressives and those on the left profess to say the US Constitution and the importance of religious liberty does not apply today.  “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure,” Thomas Jefferson once asked, “when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?” Today, unfortunately, rather than seeing religious liberty as a human right, many, especially among our intellectual and cultural elites, think religious truth is the enemy of human freedom and that pluralism means relativism, a claim increasingly pushed by an ever more central and bureaucratic government—witness the recent regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Not only is the Constitution being threatened with irrelevance but the very role of government as a massive burden and intrusion into the very personal liberty of every American citizen may very well push to the history books what once was that “shining light on a hill”. With government becoming so massive under this administration and Congress we may never be able to recover from a $17T debt and now with the new massive government take-over of the health care system which was passed AGAINST THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE, the IRS and the US Government will consume more power over it’s citizenry than ever in the history of our nation.

 

So, on this Independence Day in America as people go about their picnics and fireworks we should ask ourselves “What is America?” Are we going to do something about our departure from the vision of our Founding Fathers that formed this great nation, concieved in liberty, as ONE NATION UNDER GOD?

 

I echo the words of Ronald Reagan in a speech he made called “What the Fourth of July means to me”:

 

“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.”

I am thankful for our nation and the Founding Fathers and many friends I have and mentors who exemplify the virtues of America’s Founders, and promote the independent and entrepreneurial spirit of American citizenship. Let us, the modern day patriots get to the ballot box in November and exercise our right as American citizens to elect God-fearing Constitutionalists to fight for the restoration of our liberty!

 

Happy Independence Day!

“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” – Leviticus 25:10

Written by a Great American…..Joe Markiewicz

 

 

Sports Photography Trends: Summer – The Best Time For Booking High School Sports!

 

RIGHT NOW is the BEST TIME to book high school sports…do you have your marketing kits ready?  The grads have thrown their hats in the air, and the coaches are taking a sigh of relief, FOR THE MOMENT.
Many schools require staff and personnel to work for a week, or several days, past the last day of the classes for students, so NOW is the time to act!  These couple of weeks following classes are PRIME TIME for speaking with any high school coach.  During these weeks most coaches are more accessible and more willing to meet – and listen – to what you have to offer.
Take advantage of this calm time, as a lot of coaches are hard to locate during the school year.  When they are busy it is tricky to find a “best time” to speak with them, and finding the “best time” that they are willing to listen can be even trickier!  Very often they are busy, and will only give you a few minutes of their time, if that.  You want to approach them at a time when they have more time to listen to you.
Plan ahead.  Do you have your marketing kits together and ready to go?  Be sure to have samples of unique products that will make you stand out among your competitors.  Have a calendar with you for scheduling.  Have testimonial letters from other schools and coaches.  Be prepared to leave detailed information with the coach/decision maker so they can refer back to what you discussed.
One HUGE advantage to approaching school coaches now is that more than likely there areMANY coaches there at the same time.  Once you’re in the school, track down other coaches of other sports.  Now is also the best time to show up unannounced and visit with as many coaches as possible.  Make the most of YOUR time and the coaches availability.  Don’t miss these lucrative couple of weeks…the BEST TIME FOR BOOKING SCHOOL SPORTS!

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!

The Importance of Image and Presentation for Youth Sports Photography Businesses

 

Regardless of what business you’re in, first impressions are everything. A great first impression and a professional look can help a youth sports photography business book more business, and increase its sales on every job.

Presentation when booking the shoot

You will need to adapt your dress and presentation for different situations.

If you’re approaching a coach before a practice, you’ll want to dress more casually (khaki pants or shorts and polo shirts) than you would if you were meeting with league or school officials.

 

It’s also a necessity that you have professional looking business cards on hand to leave with the person/people that you’re meeting.

Business cards should look professional, not printed at home on card stock, and have a simple layout with all your relevant information clearly visible (address, phone number, email address).

 

Also, try putting your picture, preferably a nice business portrait, on your business cards. It’s much harder for someone to throw away a business card with a picture on it and it also reminds that person of you.

 

One mistake that youth sports photographers make when trying to book new business is that they put down their competition. Never be negative about a competitor. This makes you look unprofessional and can cost you the shoot in the end.

 

Don’t assume that the coach/organization is unhappy with their current photographer. You want to expand upon what your competition is doing and present yourself as a better solution to their needs.

 

Some other important things to consider:

* Continuity is important. Everything should be branded with your company name and logo.

* No tobacco use in or around school property or the meeting area. Also, no visible tattoos or unacceptable piercings should be showing.

* Smile! Be a cheerleader for your business.

* Have a professional way to show samples.

* Presenting your samples electronically, on an iPad or Laptop, perhaps even with projector, will help you save money on physical samples.

* However, you will want to have physical samples of any specialty products that you offer.

* When making your presentation to a group of people be sure to have copies of your presentation to pass out. For a one on one meeting, having a single page flyer that outlines your services will suffice.

* Know your products and offers thoroughly. Have pricing available that will fit people and areas from all walks of life.

* Have a calendar and scheduling agreements with you, in case they want to book with you on the spot.

* Everything is about expectations.

* Make sure that your expectations regarding a shoot line up with theirs

* Do what you say you’re going to do when you’re going to do it.

 

Your professional image says a lot about you and your business and it can mean the difference between booking a shoot or watching your competition collect the sales.

One Sports Photographers Pipe Dream to Fix Major League Baseball

 

This is the time of year, I like to post my meaningless diatribe about the “State of Major League Baseball” and my plan to…”FIX the game”. Oh sure, winning the powerball lottery has a much better chnce for me than this ever being taken seriously

Now, I posted this last year and got comments such as, “baseball doesn’t need fixing”, “The season is the perfect length” and “Fan attendance is fine”, These were, I assume…”PURISTS”.

Meanwhile, attendance and revenues were in fact down, weather at the beginning of April still sucks, fuel and transportation costs continue to rise and we had a very good chance of having a late October World Series in…Minnesota!

Oh and yes…the All star Home Run hitting contest is still boring.

Oh, and now there is talk of adding more teams to the playoffs and a slight re-alignment by MLB.

Apparently MLB does not think is fine to remain “status quo”.

So here is my annual “shout into the black hole” for 2012.

Opening Day at Yankee Stadium

I was watching the opening game of the 2009 World Series last night and watching the mist and the cold of the night at Yankee Stadium, while simultaneously the NBA opening night game was on another channel and some college football game on another.

I have always wondered why baseball has to extend into November to finish the season. I love baseball and at least this year there seems to be a marquee match up, but it’s not always like that. Here is a plan that I’ve had in my own mind for fixing Major League Baseball, or should I say, enhancing MLB to cater to the fans and benefit the game it’s self. Bud Selig, if you read my blog, feel free to call me and discuss. I have more ideas than just this, but lets start with re aligning the divisions and creating a Regional plan that works.

I will also state that I am fully aware that the rating for THIS (2009) post season have been very good. But lets not forget that there is the benefit of a marquee match up and any time the Yankees are in the post season there is going to be a huge ratings boost. I will guarantee that if the series was being played right now, between the Rockies and the Twins, you would have a hard time giving advertising away and there more empty seats than a Vanilla Ice reunion tour.

I know baseball went through re-alignment a few years ago, but that means it can be done again, for the better of the game, by being better for the fans.

I also know that this is not the first time the idea has been approached by columnists, bloggers and various sources. But while google searching the realignment arguments, I have yet to find a posting during the first three pages that either 1) Makes Sense or 2) Presents a valid reason behind their plan.

And while there are those who scream that my ideas mess with tradition, I state back that the definition of stupidity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, simply because you’ve always done it like that, even if it doesn’t work.

Here’s a thought; Lets not change anything and re-address the issue in ten years when there are less fans and less revenue and we start caring about the health and the future game and less about upsetting the ghosts of the past. There isn’t really a corn field in Iowa where Shoeless Joe will walk out of the tall stalks to pass with you if you make him happy. It was a movie.

Baseball needs to make a radical shift in the way it does business and markets its self if it wants to continue to grow and develop a generation of fans from the ranks of the youth. Today’s kids have more alternatives than ever baseball has more competition than ever before.

Look no matter how much the old “traditionalists” with hair growing from their ears want to believe that the spirits of Jolting Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, The Babe and Ted Williams are going to re-appear and curse the game if Major League Baseball breaks from tradition, the fact is that interest in the game, fueled by a weakening economy and and alternatives to going to the park such as High Def TV and 300 cable channels with several games on per night.

The Vincent Rush / Cincinnati Sports Photography Plan for Fixing Major League Baseball

Lets create 3 Divisions of 10 teams each in a way that makes sense regionally;

Eastern Division:
Boston Redsox
NY Yankees
NY Mets
Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia Phillies
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays
Florida Marlins

Central Division:
Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals

Western Division:
Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants
Oakland A’s
LA Angles
LA Dodgers
SD Padres
Arizona D Backs
Colorado Rockies
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers

At the end of the season, top 8 teams in baseball advance to a seeded bracketed playoff system based on record. The winners of each division are in. If the winner of a division has the 9th best record, then a 1 game playoff or shall we say a “Play In” game would exist between number 8 and number 9, but only if that was the unlikely case.

First round best 3/5 next two rounds best of seven. This, although it does not guarantee, it does create a better probability of the two best teams meeting at the end.

Start the regular season on the 15th of April and end on the 15th of September.

Either reduce the regular season schedule by the 25 games lost or make up a portion of them in more double headers throughout the season as a way of enticing fans to come to the park knowing that they can get a full day of baseball for the money. Double headers were and are still great for families on a Saturday or Sunday. It does not matter if the players like them or not. The fans are the ones who buy the tickets. Hey, if I just paid Albert 27 mill a year…he’ll play 2 when I want him to play 2.

Baseball will make it up on the increased revenue from concessions, better weather and the laws of supply and demand. If there is any doubt as to this theory, ask yourself how many teams sold out the season in the current schedule?

Regional divisions will help foster closer rivalries, and encourage more fans to attend more away games because of the closeness. There will be less time difference conflicts that lose TV viewers.

Baseball as a whole and teams in general will save money on travel throughout the course of the season and can promote it as a environmentally conscious step to help reduce carbon emissions through decreased fuel consumption. Do you realize for example that the Yankees made 10 road trips to Chicago or further. The average team made about 10 long distance road trips. What if all the coastal teams could eliminate the cross country treks?. If MLB wanted to maintain some form of inter league play, they could work coordinate cross country match ups. The savings on travel would be into the millions for baseball and the teams.

As a result of the new start and finish dates of the season, there will be less chance of snow games, rain outs, temperatures in the 30’s and re-schedules. Baseball will also not be starting the World Series and competing with the beginning of the NBA season. The Series will end in October with only the NFL to compete with.

One conflict will be how to determine who plays in an All Star Game, or if it will be necessary to continue.

Or what if a team moves, folds or MLB wants to expand? What if Florida moves to Indianapolis? Then simply tweak the division by moving a team or two. The key is to be progressive and decisive and not wait 10 years to make up your mind.

Another obstacle, as I’ve said before, is the always strong opposition of so the called “Baseball Purists”. What is purity in the game any more? If these “Pure-ists” were committed to their mantra, all players would be wearing baggy flannels and using the old mitts of yester-year, there would be no designated hitter and there would only be two teams that played it out at the end of the season. And lets do away with all domes and field turf, and the middle relief pitchers.

I think it would also, at this stage of the game become a big part of the Bud Selig legacy. The game is in better shape than when he found it, That doesn’t mean that he can’t set it up to be even better 20 years after he leaves.

Chances of this becoming anything more than a pipe dream????? About the same as my dream of seeing the All Star Home Run Hitting Contest done with Aluminum and Composite bats.

As an adult, I would actually sit through a HR contest if I thought there was a chance of seeing a 600 foot shot or a light busted out of the tower. As a kid, I would run out to Dicks and buy whatever bat A-Rod or Josh Hamilton just hit one out of Yankee Stadium with.

Think of the advertising dollars baseball would draw or endorsement money players would pull down from the likes of Easton, TPX, DeMarini, Rawlings or Miken! And don’t cry about tradition again. Since when does a batter stand at the plate and hit off of a batting practice pitcher during a traditional game? The Home Run hitting contest should be the same type of freak show the NBA Slam Dunk contest is.

A 7-15 year kid knows nothing about tradition! Baseball has to quit marketing to the “wing tips” and start marketing to the flip fops, to continue to grow it’s fan base.

 

Vincent Rush is an award winning Professional Sports Photographer and owner of Cincinnati Sports Photography. Based in Ohio, Vince Rush has covered Bob Hope, Oliver North, Chris Gardner, The Cincinnati Reds, University of Cincinnati Bearcats, NFL Pro Camps, NCAA Track Championships and various professional sporting events throughout Ohio.

You’re Charging Too Much For Your Photography!!!!

Little League Sports Photography by Sports Photographer  Vincent Rush of  Ohio

Batters Eye by Award Winning Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Dayton Sports Photographers

Well not really – but I needed a catchy headline. Chances are you are charging too little. Let me explain.

(Please note this post is written from the perspective of a professional photographer. If you want to do photography for charity or use it to provide social outreach or pure art, this post may not be something you’ll care to read. Thank you.)

Every time – every single time – someone says – “Your price is too high,” it means that you have the wrong prospect. You don’t have the wrong product or price. You have the wrong prospect.
A man with $2000 in his pocket out to buy a car walks into a Jaguar dealership, sees a lovely XJL sedan and says, “I like that. How much is it?” The salesman replies, “$120,000 sir.” The man says, “That’s too much.” Is it? Obviously the problem here is not that the Jaguar isn’t a nice car or that it costs too much. The problem is that the man simply can’t afford a car in this price range. He’s not the right prospect. There will never be a meeting of the minds here.

So this illustrates part one of this problem. Wrong prospect always leads to no sale.

What is the solution? Is the solution to sell a different product or reduce the price? Absolutely not. The solution is to find the person who can afford that price and wants that product.

Photographers often charge too little because they have an “opinion” based on their own experience about what the market will stand for. But that’s the core problem. The photographer isn’t the buyer. The photographer doesn’t necessarily represent the market. You should be aiming higher than your own income bracket if you want to grow your business so find clients who CAN afford your higher prices and sell to them.

Most often it’s your opinion that is the problem. It’s not the price. It’s not the product. It’s your opinion about what the market will stand for.

Let me give you another example. If you live in a world where the average income is $50,000 a year, you probably haven’t considered adding a Rolls-Royce Phantom to your garage. This may lead you to believe that since you can’t afford it, nobody can. But that’s wrong-headed thinking. Want proof? Rolls-Royce sells a model called the Phantom. It’s $380,000. Now they also sell a special edition of the Phantom called the “Year of the Dragon” edition. That version of the car costs $1.2 million. Guess what. They completely sold out of those cars – worldwide – in 60 days. So while you may not be able to afford that car, it doesn’t mean someone else can’t.

There are people in this world – in fact in your neighborhood – who can write $100,000 checks without even asking their spouse for permission. There’s plenty of money around, even in a bad economy. You just have to find it.

So study demographics. Which zip code in your area is the most affluent? Where are the country clubs? These are the places where your prospects for high-end photography exist.

Not everyone cares about making a great deal of money in their photography business. Some prefer the social nature of the job or the artistic nature of the job. For them, this isn’t going to resonate. But for those of you who would like to make more money, start thinking about finding the RIGHT prospects – the ones who can value and afford what you do.

An article by Scott Bourne posted on Twitter on Feb 6th, 2012

Re-Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!

The War on Photography

Monroe Civil War Days by Ohio Photographer Vincent Rush

An article by Scott Bourne

It’s a done deal. The war on photography is in full swing. Mindless, mind-numbing attacks on all sorts of photographers and their photography occur world wide. Even here in the USA where we are supposedly a “free” people, we’re not THAT free if we have a camera in our hand.

Whether it’s just badge-heavy cops who want to throw their weight around, or poorly-trained security forces who think that a camera means there is a terrorist nearby, it really doesn’t matter. The consequences are the same. It’s harder than ever to get the picture.

I’ve tried to fight it. I’ve written to politicians, filed civil rights lawsuits, you name it, but the bottom line is that the war is in full swing and it’s going to take extraordinary methods to win.

So I have decided to take the easy road. I don’t like it, and it might not be something everyone can or will want to do, but after a few years of this I know it works. The answer? Good old fashioned grease. I’m not talking bribes mind you, but the reality is, money is the best way to get the access you need and the best way to do it hassle free. The fact that it works also proves that almost none of this madness has anything to do with security and everything to do with power.

Want to get the best shot you can of the Seattle fireworks from the Space Needle, find a Capital Hill resident who will let you use their property for a fee. Need to go shoot pictures of airplanes at the airport? Offer to pay the airport management for access and security so your camera pointed at airplanes doesn’t end up in having you visited by the FBI.

Whether it’s special access in national parks or regular opportunity to shoot in public places, if you have a police escort, nobody will bother you. If you call your local police agency and ask who to speak to about hiring private security, you’ll be put in touch with local police unions who arrange off-duty police security for your event. So while these officers are off-duty, they still have all the power and connections of any cop and having them by your side will eliminate any pesky, nosy, busybody who has nothing better to do than to harass anyone with a “professional-looking camera.”

This works at all levels. Need early access to a park or refuge? A $50 bill given to the guy/gal who works the gate usually allows for early access. Sometimes the answer is just to rent access for a “private event” and make that event your photography.

For example, I wanted to make some stock shots of the Las Vegas strip years ago. I knew which hotel would provide me with the best shot, but the hotel policy regarding photography, combined with overzealous security guards made getting that shot impossible. My solution? I rented the suite with virtually the same view and got the shot. I also paid one of the bouncers at the hotel (er, excuse me “security people”) to come up and run interference for me. What is “impossible” under most circumstances becomes “no problem” with a few bucks placed into the right pocket.

Even if you don’t have the cash, you can save yourself some trouble by sometimes just taking an extra minute to notify authorities of your intentions. When I go to any national park, despite the fact that I have an absolute, complete right to photograph as long as I don’t go off road or cause the park to provide security and staffing for my access, I still stop in the ranger station and let them know who I am and what I am doing. It sometimes even yields free advice on where to find the best wildlife or best scenics.

I hate the fact that my country has become a place where everyone is suspicious of everyone else, but that’s the way it is. So you can either run from it or deal with it. These ideas are how I deal with it. They may not be your cup of tea but they have certainly kept me out of trouble. Hopefully they will help some of you too.