Monday, March 02, 2009

This story isn't going to go in the direction you think it will.

I've pretty much given up on predicting what I will find entertaining. So I find myself in places I'd have otherwise never have given a chance. Sometimes you find a gem. Sometimes you get a funny story. At any rate. This is how I wound up at a knitting show this weekend. All the crafty stuff is back in style. So, why not?

But, this is not what I'm going to blog about.

Since my thing is really taking photos, I'm always gauging the venue etiquette. Do I see a posted photo policy? Does everyone have their cell phone out taking pictures? If the answer is yes - I feel free to take any photos I want. However, if I don't - the obvious rule is to ask before I do.

Previously this hasn't bothered me that much. However I've seen an interesting change in vendors attitudes lately. Especially in the non tech arena. They all expect you to ask. Which sounds like no big deal. Right? Now imagine going to an event where you needed to ask 100 vendors if you can take pictures. It actually has turned into something really exhausting in itself. And in my opinion pretty ridiculous.

You see in the tech world, we live with the understanding that anyone can reproduce your idea at any time. If your product is unique, you protect it through the legal system. If not - you accept there will be reproduction. The craft world apparently doesn't understand this concept yet.

Now, I sound like I'm unfairly stereotyping this group. Which is not my intention. The vast majority have been so extremely kind and gracious in letting me take pictures. More kind than I can ever imagine. There is a small segment however that are really irritating. Take this weekend for example.

I'd walked in and decided this was an event I needed to ask before shooting. Everything was fine. I'd gotten 3/4 of the way through the vendors when I stopped and wanted to take a photo of a person who was tending a booth. I was patiently waiting for them to stop talking to someone - so I could ask. When out of the corner of the booth I hear "you can't take photos in here - they will escort you out". I didn't even have my camera cocked or anything.

Which immediately took me aback. I'd already been taking photos and met with zero resistance. All the vendors had been happy to let me take photos. So this whole interaction made me laugh. I replied to the woman that not one person had mentioned it before her. And BTW - I was waiting for the other person in the booth to finish their conversation so I could ask if I could take a photo. The photographic target in question actually agreed to let me take my shots. They were completely fine with it.

After I took my shots I went to look through something like the last 20 booths. This "policy" was obviously negotiable. All the rest of the booths were completely fine with me taking photos. At the very last booth there was actually something I found really interesting. The person manning the booth was happy to give me a demonstration and let me take all the pictures I wanted. I liked the product so much I wanted to buy one of the kits. That booth didn't have the kits, but sent us to another who might have them.

It was absolutely the last place we were stopping. I was done. But, when I got there I asked the vendor if I could take photos. She declined. I was completely fine with that. I was done anyway. End of story. I thought. Mr S. was paying the vendor for the kit - and I decided to review some of my shots. My camera is pointed down at the ground. I'm looking down into my LCD. When I hear "you can't take photos here". Which quite honestly - irritated me. There was no way this woman could have mistaken my posture for anything except what I was doing. Reviewing shots. So I shot back "well - I'm not taking photos".

Then she went on to say the venue has a policy. Bla bla bla. They'd announced it yesterday over the loudspeaker. Which BTW is not a policy. A policy is something you post so people can see it. And besides. I'd had a little conversation with a wonderful gentleman at the gift show last month(where there was also an un-posted picture policy - which most everyone didn't abide by) and I gotten the distinct impression that these "policies" existed so that if someone got mad, they could escort you out. However, if you asked them most were really happy to have you take photos.

Still I was tired, and really wanted the thing I was buying. Yet I couldn't believe I was giving money to the only vendor who wouldn't let me take photos. If the person manning the previous booth hadn't have been so nice - I would have walked. I kind of feel like "you mean I want to give you free advertising (as minimal as it is) and buy the items you are selling - and you are getting all bunchy about me taking photos? Irritating.

I know these people like to think they are protecting some kind of intellectual property. But, all that crap looked the same to me. And, I find it hard to believe someone else on the internet isn't displaying exactly what they are trying to protect.

Yarn from the knitted animals at the top of the page brought to you by Malabrigo. Who were immensely gracious about letting me take photos.


MdG said...

My opinion on the whole no picture thing at a craft fest is that reverse engeneering a craft project is much easier than with a laser.
Some crafters are very proprietary when it comes to their product. As you said earlier the craft thing is really back in style now. People are out to make their money. And for some poeple it's easy to look at a picture and figure out how to make something. Then they don't have to purchase the kit or whatever.

This would be me. Someone who rarely has an original idea of their own.

I still want to come and live with you.

she said: said...

Well okay. When you find me annoying I am going to point you straight to my blog.

I'm all on board with the theory behind it. Anyone could use my pictures and I'd never know.

The whole thing just amuses me because the ones that give me resistance - are never the vendors I even remember later. Just that they gave me a hassle. They just never have anything that seems "that" interesting or remarkable.

I don't even care if they don't want me to take pictures. I always have too much content anyway. I really just want them to own the decision - instead of "blaming management". Just stick a sign up for f's sake. Problem solved. It makes life easier for everyone.

I wonder if they hate that all the other vendors sell them out. But waaaa.. we all agreed that you can't take pictures! Then those vendors completely flip the script.

MdG said...

Sorry, but it's THE RUUUULES!!!