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Boy oh Boy, who’s in charge, anyway?

November 15, 2007 by David Perry  
Filed under Behind the Photo, Blog, David Perry, Second Look

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Well, this blog site is called Final Frame, so this is the last situation from a Backstreet Boys fan picture session before I was, ah, asked to leave. If you look closely, you can see the four Boys in that mix of people. Often someone will tell me how lucky I am to get access to photograph famous people. But it’s not that simple, or pleasurable.

But let’s back up a bit. The Backstreet Boys made an appearance for Make-A-Wish Foundation at Louisville’s Fourth Street Live on Thursday, November 15. They were interviewed and then posed, with about 15 fans at a time, for pictures.

I know that, especially with music performers, you always ask if a credential is needed for media coverage. That morning, I called Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Karrie, their PR person, said she would have George, of WXMA radio, who was going to conduct a live interview on stage with the Backstreet Boys at 5 p.m., talk to me. George said to just come to the radio tent next to the stage and he would fix me up.

I arrived an hour before the event. George said that “Troy” would get me in front of the crowd barricade so I could get a clear view of the stage where the interview would be conducted. (The Boys didn’t perform because their guitarist was unable to attend the event.) Troy, it turned out later, was inside a restaurant where some Make-A-Wish children were meeting privately (no, I couldn’t go in I was told) with the Boys, so George said he had told Troy of my arrival and George led me past security into the area in front of the barricade.

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Nick Carter

The Boys’ appearance went well, with good photos of fans and the Boys on stage. (They even sang a short number without a banding backing them.)

But when the Backstreet Boys left the stage to pose for photos with fans beside the radio tent, someone asked me whom I was with. When I identified myself as David Perry with the Lexington Herald-Leader, she said I would have to go “over there”, behind another set of barricades, since “we can’t deal with someone at the last minute”. I then asked where Troy was, and she didn’t know, but I would have to get out of that area. In this era of kooks, I can see an issue, but I wasn’t asked for more ID (I have plenty, and I was wearing my H-L ID around my neck.) I asked her to identify herself, and I think she said “Bridget of Jive Records”, but it was a little hard to hear above the screaming fans.

Going over to a side area, I was, as you can see, still able to shoot the fans with the Boys.
But after a couple of groups posed, Bridget said, “you can’t be in there”. I said, “You TOLD me to go in there.” A man behind me said “You need to leave this area” and I asked where Troy was. He said “I’m Troy.” Wow! I finally found the mysterious Troy! I said George, the radio personality, had talked to him about me. He said, “George didn’t talk to me.” At that point I gave up and said, “I’m gone.”

The point isn’t if this mob scene shown at the top is a good photo op. It might not be. It’s about the organization of the event and the treatment of a legitimate news outlet.

So that’s the story about how Brian Littrell’s hometown newspaper was booted out of a Backstreet Boys appearance. By the way, the Courier-Journal and the Louisville television stations were not there. So the only media outlet that gave a hoot about this event was asked to leave.

And by the way, Backstreet fans, there will be better photos in Sunday’s newspaper (Nov. 18). And this episode in no way reflects on the Backstreet Boys. As far as I can tell, they are all genuine good guys. But me being lucky to photograph famous people? Nope. I’d rather photograph any average Joe or Jane than any famous person with “handlers”, bodyguards, or posse.

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