Beyoncé Bans Concert Press Photographers

The pop diva is serving canned concert images to the press instead of allowing live shots.

Beyoncé performs during Super Bowl XLVII halftime on Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
Beyoncé performs during Super Bowl XLVII halftime on Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

News Outlets Urged to Counter Ban on Photographers

The general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association is urging the news media to refuse to run the official publicity photos of Beyoncé’s latest concert tour that the entertainer is posting in lieu of allowing photographers at the events.

“That’s only going to encourage bad behavior,” Mickey H. Osterreicher told Journal-isms Friday by telephone.

“Let’s say she’s exhausted and passed out on stage. Do you think we’d see those photos? I don’t think so,” Osterreicher said. “They’ll realize they can’t have it both ways.” They become celebrities because of the publicity, then, when they become stars, “they try to control.”

Sean Michaels reported Wednesday in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “The move to prohibit press photographers is seen by most observers as a reaction to this year’s Super Bowl kerfuffle, when sites such as Gawker and [BuzzFeed] compiled ‘unflattering’ images of Beyoncé’s jubilant exertions. After publishing these shots by Getty Images, [BuzzFeed] received an email from Beyoncé’s US publicist Yvette Noel-Schure, ‘respectfully asking’ the site to ‘change’ their article. ‘I am certain you will be able to find some better photos,’ Noel-Schure wrote.

“As the blog Fstoppers points out, barring professionals means that newspapers and magazines will have to rely on amateurs: ‘[The media] will do anything possible to get images that other publications don’t have,’ explained Noam Galai. ‘If they can’t send a photographer to give them original photos, the next best thing they can do is buy photos from fans in the front rows in the arena … Now, not only is the mainstream media showing unflattering photos of her, they are showing bad-quality unflattering photos of her.’ “

As Osterreicher pointed out, the move by Beyoncé is the latest attempt by public figures to control coverage of them, but not the most offensive.

Just last week, Osterreicher said, a legislator met with some of the families victimized by the Boston Marathon bombers, but banned the press, instead having a staffer make photos available.

In 2011, Lady Gaga was even more audacious. Andrew Beaujon and Jay Westcott wrote then for the now-defunct TBD.com, based in Washington, “At her Verizon Center concert last week, photographers were given a ‘Photo Release Form’ to sign.” It included this language: “Photographer hereby acknowledges and agrees that all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Photograph(s) shall be owned by Lady Gaga and Photographer hereby transfers and assigns any such rights to Lady Gaga.

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