Loreena McKennitt - About taking photographs

Loreena prefers that people do not take photographs during her concerts. The following is an answer of Loreena when asked about this, and this was printed in the programme booklet of the An Ancient Muse tour 2007.
Q: I notice that in your tour programme, you request that no photographs to be taken. What is your concern about photographs?

A: There are a few factors behind this request. The first consideration is that even though cameras have evolved to the extent that one can take photos without flashes going off, not everyone knows how to do this. I can think of a couple of concerts so far on this tour where, after all the pains we have taken to create an intimate and dramatic beginning, with just myself and a harp and a couple of other musicians, the lights flashing from the audience were like a fireworks display. Not only did it interrupt the mood I was trying to set for the song, I received numerous complaints from other audience members that they too found it disruptive.

Historically, it has also been the case in some theatrical productions - depending on what they are - that flashes can disrupt the concentration of the performers and cause them to forget lines. Then, too, there can be safety issues. I have been advised that this is still the case, although it is less of a concern for me personally from a safety standpoint.

Then there is the slightly thornier issue of taking photos of someone where permission has not been sought, or where the subject has explicitly asked that his or her photo not be taken, sometimes for religious, privacy or other reasons.

Additionally, now that we have entered the digital world, where photos are no longer kept in check as a result of the limitations of their format (analogue rather than digital), it is a fact that photos that would in the past have been kept for a photographer's private collection are now peddled for public consumption. This, finally, can lead to the "pursuit" of well-known people.

As most of you know by know, I do not support or encourage the cult of celebrity. I believe that these concerts are a special time for us to spend together, unencumbered by the distracting process of physically capturing the moment. Rather, they are a time to focus our minds and hearts on the unique and personal experience of what we are sharing. I would say that this applies towhen I am signing autographs as well. For a person who has a public dimension to her career, constantly being photographed without permission can lead into a world where people start feeling that they "own" you as a performer, and have "rights" to you, including taking your picture whenever they wish. The far end of this scale is "stalking".

That said, we have not wanted to get heavy-handed with people who attend the concert. We decided therefore to simply place a courteous request in the programme so that the audience would be acquainted with my wishes and there would be no confusion. I hope there will be respect for my request. - LM

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created: 22 April 2007
last modified: 1 November 2011