Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crystal Couture suppresses modern expression

Crystal Couture, a fashion show in Crystal City, this year requires photographers attending the event to sign a "photographer waiver." The waiver explains:
To ensure the privacy and safety of the Crystal Couture Designers and Models, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) asks that all photographers attending the event sign a participation waiver.
Under the waiver, a photographer must:
Supply the Crystal City BID with a copy of high resolution images taken during event at no charge on CD within two weeks of event
This requirement doesn't plausibly relate to ensuring the privacy and safety of designers and models. It significantly burdens persons who take photographs.  Having many persons taking photographs is part of the excitement of a fashion show.  This requirement chills that excitement.

The purpose of this requirement isn't welcoming and neighborly. The waiver declares that Crystal City BID has the right to use these photographs "for advertising and media." In words, you're invited to come, but if you come, we insist on appropriating all the photographs that you take and using them for our purposes. That strikes me as bad social taste.

In the twenty-first century, sharing photographs and video is like talking. Everyone soon will have a digital camera and a digital camcorder built into his or her mobile phone. Discouraging photographs and video of an event is like discouraging discussion of the event.

Suppose Crystal City BID required all persons attending Crystal Couture to submit to Crystal City BID a transcript of anything they say about the show. As with the photography waiver, Crystal City BID might also declare that they have the right to use words from these transcripts for advertising and media. Poster quote: "What a hot dress!" said Rosslyn resident Douglas Galbi to his friend Natasha. That would be outrageous and unthinkable. But it's like what Crystal City BID is doing with photographs.

The Ode Street Tribune provided street-leading news coverage of Crystal Couture last year. As a protest against the photography waiver, the Ode Street Tribune will neither cover nor attend Crystal Couture this year.

For fashion fun, the Ode Street Tribune hereby sponsors an alternative, "Real Crystal" virtual fashion show. Make a video of  yourself modeling fashionable clothes and upload it to YouTube. Add the tag "Real-Crystal" and you're part of the Real Crystal virtual fashion show!

Here's the first participant in Real Crystal: a middle-aged man, dressed in a garbage bag and boxer shorts, riffing on runway modeling in his Rosslyn apartment living room. Enjoy!

No comments: