Note: I was planning to write this a long time ago. But each time I was going to, sadness took over. But it is time now.
In 2005, I was a fast-track student in photojournalism at the Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario. All of us but one, a local student, where living in the residence, in two separates apartment side by side.
We where living together, going to school together, shooting together, sharing together, hoping together, and going out together. In those 7 weeks, we formed a bound that will last forever.
Out of the bunch, Ryan Jackson was the youngest. The kid. A great guy that now works staff at the Edmonton Journal.
It was earlier this year. I was on assignment for The Gazette in Thetford Mines. Between two appointments with people that I add to photograph for a story, I took some time to read my Facebook on my iPhone.
And « bang! » came the news.
Ashley, his wife, updated her status with something like « for those who don’t know yet, Ryan’s parents where killed in car accident yesterday ».
I sat back in my car for many long minutes, shocked.
Why does street photography make people paranoid? Stand Your Ground, a 15 minute documentary made for the London Street Festival, answers this question by getting a group of photographers to stand their ground over a period of time in a public place in London to see the objections raised by local security officials, police and the public.
It is amazing how photography in public space seems to be problematic in big UK cities these days and, to a lesser extend, in the United States. What you can do with your photo might be different in Quebec than the rest of the world, but the rule of « if you are in a public place, you can photograph everything you want » is the same so the video is relevant for photographer, wherever they live.
It used to be that you could photograph the whole show. That you could go on stage and take some amazing photos. But concert photography has changed and now the norm is that you can photograph three songs and then your out. Sometimes only two. Or one. Or only 30 seconds.
Usually, after three songs, you have some good keepers and you can tell the story of the show. And if you are working on a deadline, you have to leave and transmit anyway.
But sometime, you really miss a piece of history with that rule. Metallica was playing in front of 130,000 in Quebec city, a place that the band have a particular relationship with, dating from a very long time. The crowd was still chanting their name during the main event when they where the opener in their early years.
It was their last show of the summer. In front of a HUGE crowd that they thanked for a good ten minutes. Then they lined up, holding each other’s by the shoulder, smiling and waving, genuinely amazed by the reaction of the crowd. I think I even saw James Hetfiel swiped a tear. This is a photo you will never see.