Drake Concert: Over 20,000 fans but sh!t for a photo journalist.

Drake (June 2, 2012)
The current Drake tour “Club Paradise Tour” most likely sold out or at near capacity at Tinley Park on June 2, 2012. First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre hosted more than 20,000 fans jumping in their seat with the highest excitement for the first show in this venue. It will be hard for LiveNation to outmatch the attendance count from June 2nd for the 2012 summer season.

Although the concert was something not to miss, however from my perspective as a photojournalist you have missed the show. This is another tour, another artist, another record company, and another public relations firm that is taking photos out of the magazine and provides very poor images to the fans and readers. This was what is called a soundboard shoot. For many of you that do not know, majority of the concerts that are covered are photographed from up-front and in-front of the stage. Usually photographers are escorted to the “PIT” area in-front of fans to photographer 1-3 songs. At most times these are the money shots, the great shots you see in magazine, books and televisions, which can make history and be iconic. However at times, (and quite often in the past few years), the powers that be and reasons that don’t make sense, credentialed working press “Journalists” are required to photograph from far distances at the soundboard. Although if you have the right equipment you can get photographs or shots; but that is all that can be said of the photos. These images most likely will never take your breath away…you can complete your assignment… and that is about all that will be said, or SAD.

To visually show you photographing artists from close vs. long distances I want to give you a comparison of Wacka Flocka Flame I photographed in 2010 and from last night, June 2, 2012. The photo on your left was from the Pit area in 2012, the one on the right was from last night, a soundboard shoot. Both photos used professional equipment, even a long extended lens for last night. I tried to choose one of my best images of last night, and it was Waka Flocka Flame, the other artists including Drake (see image above) are more or less very poorly lit with lights.  I am glad that Waka Flocka has some nice spotlights on him. Can you see the difference? How do you feel, what emotion does each image bring? Let UnRated Magazine know? If you believe that images from the Pit area is what you want, let us and the artists know, if you like the further back, we like to hear that too.


Waka Floca Flame 2010 (L) - 2012 (R)
I know that the photos I shot last night will most likely be archived and never distributed. They are all basically garbage, no use for much except a story if no one else has a picture from the event. This was a waste of time and money for me. However I am a working professional photo journalist and will have to deal with this practice of providing photos that just suck. I like to say that I am embarrassed of the images, but who should be embarrassed is the artist (Drake and the rest of the line-up), and everyone involved who created this policy for tonight’s performance. Photojournalists are trying to represent you with the best possible way, but if opportunity is not welcomed we do the best with what is given.

I have not gone into personal opinions of why many major artists are kicking photographers back because I can rap about it nonstop and all day. The practice of kicking working Journalists to the soundboard for very terrible photos can only be changed by you, the fan.


Club Paradise Tour 2012
Drake, J. Cole, Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, ...
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Tinley Park, IL, USA
June 2, 2012
Photos by Adam Bielawski

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