Beyoncé has banned professional photographers from her new world tour, to prevent any unflattering photos of her from being published. This is ridiculous for many reasons, first among them that there’s no such thing as an unflattering photo of Beyoncé.
The pop star has hired her own photographer, Frank Micelotta, to photograph her performances; three to five of his pre-approved photos will be released to press after every concert. The singer’s UK publicist confirmed the move to the Daily Mail.
The extremely unusual decision comes in the wake of Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, when her publicist asked websites including BuzzFeed to take down “unflattering” photos of her mid-performance. The request backfired, and the supposedly bad photos — most of her looking fierce and athletic, mid-dance-move — only received more attention. As BuzzFeed put it as they published a second story calling more attention to the photos and the absurd publicity request, “In what world are these shots unflattering?”
So Beyoncé’s next move is to make sure similar photos never see the light of day. “Banning professional photographers from all shows is simply stupid,” one photography blogger writes. “Beyoncé needs to use the media to her advantage, not fight it. Playing games with the media will cause more harm than good.
Listen, no one gets to the top of any industry without sweating the details. That’s part of why Politico’s attack on New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson this week was so incredibly annoying: It’s not breaking news that a powerful editor is going to exert power in the name of doing her job. The opening anecdote in that story is about Abramson calling another top editor into her office and expressing her displeasure about some very particular aspects of the Times’ news coverage. That editor stormed out, loudly slamming a wall on his way — and Abramson is the one who gets called “impossible” (anonymously, natch).
That said, there’s being a smart control freak (and there’s absolutely zero evidence Abramson is anything but that), and then there’s just being a plain old control freak. Banning all photographers from your concert seems to fall into the latter category.