Corporate Control

1 11 2010

OK, I am sure that this is going to get some criticism but I am happy to take it. I spent almost 4 hours at Edinburgh’s Samhuinn festival on Sunday evening which is organise by The Beltane Fire Society (I believe). I was last at this event three or four years ago when it was held on the Mound at that evening I got some great photos, despite not having the gear to fully capture low light photography.

This year I managed to capture only 10 reasonable images and none that I would think were going to set the world alight. Was this down to my lack of equipment, no I don’t think so; was it down to my lack of preparation, no, my camera was fully charged and I was the first person to be at the rope cordon; so why the lack of quality photos?


It appeared to me that the Beltane Society were trying to thwart none affiliated photographers from getting good images by strategically placing stewards and torch bearers in front of kitted up photographers and the way the performers placed themselves between the crowd and the main stage also prevented really good photographs.

I can’t deny that the Beltane Societies photos that made it onto the BBC are top quality, but that is easy to do when given privileged access. It’s hardly meeting the ideals of paganism to becoming so corporate in the protection of image. This will be my last journey to a Beltane event, I’m almost sure the zombie walk, uncommercialised and free would have given better opportunity for photography.




One response

16 11 2010
David Lesault

I had the same problem on Calton Hill during Beltane in March – on 3 occasions I was at the front of the circle at the ‘points’ with my monopod set up and a steward stood right in front of me. Only one of them at the Water Point was nice enough to take a step to one side when I asked him to.

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