Exclusive: Met bars photographers from dress rehearsalmain
We’re hearing from loyal freelance photographers that new rules have been applied to exclude them from the Met. They are venting complaints to anyone who wll lend an ear, but no-one in the NY opera world seems to care.
Here’s the gist of it:
There is a photo “spokesperson”, Jonathan Tichler. He e-mails the day before, “Hi Guys, Tomorrow is closed”. If questioned his reply is that, “There are people above me”.
Lee Abrahmian is Director of Communications. She is part of this. If a singer asks that their private photographer be admitted Lee escorts that person in. She is also the person guiding the company videographer. That person takes the clips shown on Facebook. The fewer photographers attend, the better the Met can control its public image.
One person is hired to shoot dress rehearsals for the Met. Currently, that person might be Ken Howard, or Marty Sohl, or Richard Termine, or Karen Almond. They take thousands of pictures and the Met has final say over what is used. It is hard, thankless work because the Met wants “product pictures”, rectangular soul-less images showing the production. This is work-for hire. Each person hired is a strong experienced photographer. There is no jealously there. They all get along.
A New York Times photographer is always admitted. That’s the Peter Gelb/Times connection. Their results are never vetted.
The photographers impacted by this sudden closure are Johann Elbers, Beatrix Schiller, Beth Bergman, Henry Grossman and Jack Vartoogian. All are professionals of long standing. Why have they been summarily shut out?