Dear Lee Graham Parents and Swimmers,
I have enjoyed taking pictures of the Lee Graham swimmers over the last several years, and I have really appreciated your comments and "Thank Yous." I am afraid that I probably won't be shooting pictures of the team in the future, or at least not in the way I've done these last few years.
Last Friday, I received an email asking me to stay out of the team area, off the deck and out of other areas where non-officials are not supposed to go. Apparently there are some bad feelings about my having that privilege when others do not. I would understand that if I was just taking pictures of only Elena and our friends.
I avoided the team area and deck on Saturday, even when a few other parents were wandering through those areas, and I had planned to shoot the swimmers in tonight's B meet from the edge of the spectator area when one of the Poplar Heights officials invited me to go shoot from the corner of their diving well. During the IM heats, I was told that I am not the official team photographer and, again, that I am not supposed to be on the deck or in team areas, so, since Elena wasn't swimming, I decided to walk home and enjoy my evening. I apologize to any of you who were hoping that I'd get pictures of your swimmers this evening.
Year's ago, I asked Coach Mike if it would be okay to shoot from the team side of the pool since the light is better from that side of our pool. Coach Mike told me that was fine, and he told me that he would kick me out or tell me to grab my cap and goggles if I got in the way. I also find, for most pictures, that I get a better angle while standing up, which I don't want to do in front of the spectators who prefer to sit. I do enjoy taking the pictures, since swimming can be such a photogenic sport, and I feel that donating my time to take and make the pictures available would mean more to you than just having another timer or other official.
A few years ago, there was some concern that I was taking pictures of the swimmers for profit, and a few people said that I should make the pictures available for free since the swim team is a volunteer organization. I know that many other parents donate their time to running meets and taking care of team duties, and I do thank them for their efforts. That's one of the reasons why I always tried hard to get pictures of every swimmer, not just Elena and our friends, so all the parents could enjoy looking at their swimmers in action or in those candid shots around the pool. I can assure you that while I've sold a few prints or other items to a few swimmers' parents, I am not making money by taking these pictures. I take the pictures to share with you through the end of season slide show, and through other means.
For the last year or two, I've created personal web pages, for some parents, with images of just their swimmers, and I was working on a way to make that task easier on me and you, especially with respect to those swimmers who I may not be able to identify. I was hoping that the new system would give you access to the images at a high enough quality that you could simply download and print your own copies or share them with family and friends via email if you were so inclined. Since I shoot hundreds of images at some meets, it is not economically or environmentally practical to make prints of every image to pass around at the pool.
In keeping with the volunteer spirit of the swim team, I have always given Mike and his assistants copies of every just about every image for use in the end of season slide show; I offered the pool's webmaster carte blanche to use any images the webmaster wanted to use on the pool's web site, and I have offered to provide framed prints to the pool for use as decoration in the common areas. While I can't afford to give the pool lots of framed prints at the moment, the other offers still stand.
If you are reading this, I am guessing that you care one way or another about whether I shoot pictures of your swimmer or swimmers. If you are one of the parents who felt that I should not be taking pictures or at least not be taking them from the restricted areas, I am sorry if I offended you. If you don't want me to take pictures of your swimmers at all, please let me know, and let me know whether you want me to delete any images I may have already taken.
I have given you my thoughts. Please let me know what you think pro or con.