I was at the T’ang Quartet‘s 21st anniversary concert last Saturday at the School of the Arts (SOTA) concert hall, and while waiting for the concert to start, I spotted someone taking a photo of the empty stage and chairs using her smart phone. Like most people nowadays, she probably wanted to post it to her social media network announcing that she’s at the concert. Or maybe she found the stage design to be rather interesting and wanted a photo of it.
Not long after she raised her phone to compose a shot, an overzealous usher rushed forward and told her that no photography is allowed. My friend and I who were right behind her as amused as she is by the ban. It’s an empty stage for goodness sake! I understand if the venue management disallows photography during a performance, but this is before the start of the performance. And did I mention that there’s nothing on the stage except for the empty chairs?
During the intermission, I spotted the same usher at a corner, staring over the seats, keeping a watchful eye on patrons who dare raise a camera/phone. But I spotted someone taking selfies and another person using a real camera to shoot the stage. She didn’t seem to mind (or she somehow didn’t notice, I am not sure.) Still feeling incredulous over the photography ban, I decided to try my luck and raised my iPhone to take a picture of the empty stage. Aha! This time, another usher waved to me, gesturing that no photography is allowed (see above pic.)
This is really ridiculous. What’s the problem with shooting an empty stage? And it’s not even during the performance! Even if it’s during a performance, I never quite get why there’s a need to ban (non-flash) photography. Which is why I am pleasantly surprised when LAMC Productions and the Star Theatre allowed photography during the Piano Guys concert which I attended last week.
I discovered another ridiculous photography ban at a food court yesterday. The food court was under renovation, but their rules were still up on a signboard outside. This is what it says:-
Grammar issue aside, once again, what’s the big deal about shooting food in a food court? The only reason I can think of is that the management is afraid that you might find cockroaches, hygiene issues with your food, and the photo you posted might go viral and get them into trouble and possibly lose their license. I can’t think of any other reasons otherwise.
Another weird/ridiculous photography ban happened when I was attending a talk by National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita at the Capital Tower, Singapore. After the talk, I exited the building and spotted a sculpture of a man sitting on a metal bench. I walked towards it, raised my camera and started to compose. The security guard promptly stopped me, saying, “Excuse me, sir. No photography of the building.” I was catching up with my friends ahead of me, so I didn’t really tried to argue with him and walked on. Building? I was not even shooting the building. I was shooting a sculpture for crying out loud! Couldn’t he tell the difference?
The further irony is the talk I attended was organised by CapitaLand Ltd. which had earlier organised a photography competition of their buildings. Capital Tower is one of them. No photography allowed? Ridiculous.
It appears to be that these days, it’s a trend to ban photography for the sake of it. Such bans need to stop. Otherwise, in time to come, the only places we can use our cameras will be at home or in the studio. That’d be a sad day, wouldn’t it?