The equestrian Instagram world is a bit abuzz right now with a topic that is very interesting to me.
A popular instagram account Meg_at_ (formerly Meg_at_wef) has been prohibited from doing any photography at the Old Salem horse show. Meg has a little under 10,000 instagram followers, and posts photo journalistic style images from popular hunter/jumper shows. I follow her, and enjoy her work a lot.
You can read the full account of the situation on her blog (I suggest you do, the explanation of the situation is better than mine), but the short story seems to be that she originally arranged some for compensation private shoots off grounds and possibly on the show grounds. The official photographer got wind of this, so she cancelled her for pay shoots… which in my opinion is the right thing to do. However, then show management changed their minds about letting her shoot editorial content at the show for her blog. They told her she’s welcome to come to the show, but can’t shoot any photographs at all.
That’s where I get pretty irked.
I understand the plight of the horse show photography and I’ve written about it pretty extensively here on this blog. I’ve completely given up any hope of making money taking photographs of horses, and at this point consider all of my work 100% editorial. In my opinion, it’s not a good idea to arrange private shoots at a horse show with an official photographer. If you do so, you better plan on getting approval from the show office ahead of time… especially at a large show.
However, I think it’s completely insane to limit editorial photography at a public event.
When I shot at Pin Oak this year, a representative/photographer from Shawn McMillen Photography came up to me pretty much immediately and asked who I was shooting for. I told them that I just do it for fun and write a horse blog with my photos. As soon as I gave this information, any possible hostility melted away and we chatted photos and horse shows. She asked for my blog name and information, and we basically wished each other a good day.
That was a positive interaction.
If I was at a horse show and was told I couldn’t take photos for my personal blog, I’d probably have a minor freak out. I just can’t find any valid reason in the world to restrict that.
Even if Meg managed to ruffle the wrong feathers in the wrong way, I don’t see this ‘punishment’ as justified. With the livelihood of the show photographer at high risk these days, it’s a pretty heated topic. I’m very curious of your thoughts – photographers and non-photographers alike.
Do you think the show management was right or wrong in this situation with Meg_at_?