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ELR does not like photographers

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Fred Kerr, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    It appears that an ELR staff member dislikes photographers and has made his views known in a public forum;

    "THE LENSMEN FORUM" / AT THE TRACKSIDE - INFORMATION FROM MEMBERS / "ON THE GRAPEVINE - YOUR LATEST NEWS!" / ELR's views on railway photographers?


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    ELR's views on railway photographers?


    28th March 2014, 03:42 PM

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    ELR's views on railway photographers?

    Set out below are the musings of Richard Barnett, Sales Manager at the ELR, on the subject of railway photographers which he posted on the NuELR Forum this afternoon:-

    "I must say and its not exclusive to the ELR that railway's play to photographers. Unfortunately most of them are out to profiteer from our events through there images by either selling them to mags or as framed prints. I do not tolerate this and have had many years of dealing with it."


    I don't know what members of Lensmen will think of his views, but below is my (perhaps slightly hasty) response which has been posted on that Forum:-

    "I take strong exception to this ill-advised and factually incorrect posting by an officer of the ELR.

    MOST photographers do NOT profiteer from the railway's (correct use of an apostrophe Mr. Barnett) events. MOST pursue their (correct spelling of the possessive pronoun Mr. Barnett) hobby purely for pleasure (though frustration often unhappily prevails).

    I think an apology to the bulk of the photographers who do not "profiteer" is called for from Mr. Barnett. Many of us have been supporting the ELR from well before the line re-opened, both financially and in other years. Comments like those from Mr. Barnett are likely to prove counter-productive and could well alienate some long established members.

    Anyway, is it the place of a member of staff such as Mr. Barnett to post that "I do not tolerate this" (i.e. a few photographers - not MOST - selling some of their photographs?) No, I don't think so. That should come from the ELRPS Council or the Company (if, indeed, they hold that view), not an individual."

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    28th March 2014, 05:23 PM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    When I first had this thread brought to my attention on the NUELR forum, I thought, at first, with April 1st approaching, that it was all a ‘wind-up’ … after all, just who was this Richard Barnett? Then, I remembered, I had seen it mentioned somewhere that he had been appointed to ELR Sales Manager last December and, indeed, it also appears that it was he who had been instrumental in introducing those (arguably) excessive charges to access the Railway’s stations during gala events.

    Whilst I, personally, would have no qualms about stumping up two or three pounds – even in my position as a fully paid-up member – merely to stand on a platform to watch the world go by - the general consensus amongst fellow ELR members is that such high charges are excessive and could even prove to the detriment of the Railway as a whole. Notwithstanding all of that, I have no personal desire to be drawn into the whys and wherefores of the matter and am content to leave ELR management to do what ELR management decides to do.

    I do, however, find it hugely worrying to read what Mr Barnett has decided to state in the public arena in respect of photographers.
    Despite the poor grammar/spelling within the content of his text, he seems to be conveying the distinct impression that he retains a personal issue over all visitors to the ELR who dare to be so bold as to point a camera at one of its trains.

    If I might be permitted to dissect his words, first of all he professes the view that the ELR is not the only railway that “plays to the gallery”. Whether that is strictly true, or not, might I be permitted to observe that the very railway at which Mr Barnett was previously employed (Foxfield) does appear to accrue a considerable proportion of its revenue from those who contribute to tickets to gala events where the main action is undeniably only visible from the line-side (Foxfield Colliery). Every time that I attend one of these events, I immediately seek out someone to whom I can pay for a ticket to ride on the passenger trains. That I then choose to ‘line-side’ only is my own prerogative.

    As regards “profiteering”, perhaps our friend views the issue of selling an image to one of the monthly periodicals as despicable? I feel that I will not be the first NUELR member who will respond in no uncertain terms by reminding Mr Barnett that the railway press is the preservation business’s “shop window”. The more pictures that are published, the more those potential visitors will sit up and take notice! No pictures …. and no publicity really IS the bottom line!

    Although I, myself, have had hundreds of pictures (and many major articles too) published in the railway media down the years, most of my line-siding colleagues will agree with me that any payment received in return is, at best, derisory and I might add that no-one that I know has ever made a successful living out of it!

    As regards selling framed prints to others, once again, I have never personally come across anyone who actually does this and I can confirm that I never sell my work to other private individuals anyway.

    Quite what Mr Barnett means by “I do not tolerate this and have had many years of dealing with it” is unclear. As one of a numbers of very concerned ELR members, however, even if only for our own re-assurance, I feel that we should be made aware of the extents to which his clearly intimated lack of tolerance extends … and especially the details of how he claims he deals with such matters

    I must be excused for observing that our Mr Barnett has only been in his current (paid) post for 3-4 months at most, but he is already making himself extremely unpopular and upsetting an awful lot of people .... AND not only on THIS forum!

    Despite that, it is undeniably the case that what the man who seems to live under the stairs at Bolton Street (and may have a vested interest?), states in response to ‘Lancsfox’, is true: “At the end of the day the Railway is trying to cover the costs of putting on special events and to make a profit to plough back into the ELR for us all to enjoy our hobby”. We all accept such bald facts, but apparent personal problems in attitude – especially in the public domain - really do have no place in primarily volunteer-led organisations … and without the volunteers and all of those others who make their own small contributions … in whatever way they choose, the ELR would be no more!

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    28th March 2014, 07:17 PM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    What is this man doing working in railway preservation? I am a photographer which apparently he is not going to tolerate, what exactly does that mean, no one allowed on ELR property with a camera?
    Over the years I think most of us have put a fair amount into what we now have and not necessarily directly, I have an extensive railway library most of which has been acquired at Railway Shops. I spent about £40.00 at the ELR during the last gala and heaven knows what on photo charters. I now know what the ELR think of my money, so will not do so in the future until we get an apology from this self -opinionated buffoon.
    Rant over, but this is a further disturbing example of the movement being taken over by the suits who weren't in at the start and only see it as a business having never helped reconstruct a railway from scratch.

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    28th March 2014, 08:04 PM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    A bare few weeks ago I was asked by this individual to provide an image that could be used as a logo on an ELR T-Shirt. This I gladly agreed to do and free of charge. At no time did I ever seek financial gain but was just happy to help the railway out. Not sure why now I am perceived to be a "profiteer". As John rightly says we have all spent money on the railway either via charters or in the bookshops etc. If the aim is to destroy good-will, then I think Mr Barnett has been singularly successful. Perhaps an apology to those who have supported the railway for many years before he entered the scene might be in order!

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    28th March 2014, 08:11 PM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    By way of update, below is my latest posting on the nuELR Forum on this subject,

    Mr. Bibby's post:-

    "This is an unofficial forum were people can express their views openly if they wish to do so, some people may agree with the views expressed some people may not agree with them.
    That's life, like I said this is an unofficial forum.

    At the end of the day the Railway is trying to cover the costs of putting on special events and to make a profit to plough back into the ELR for us all to enjoy our hobby."


    My response:-
    A S Bibby, above, has completely missed the point or chosen to ignore it in his comments.

    My comments were on the subject of Mr. Barnett's views on photographers as "profiteers", not on the cost of platform tickets, a subject which I have no desire to discuss. I fully accept that the railway has got to endeavour to make ends meet, at the least, if it is to survive and I try to do my bit to that end and have done so for almost 40 years now.

    Well, Mr. Bibby, do you agree with Mr. Barnett and think MOST photographers are "profiteers" and if so I'd like see the rationale of your views. Do you think he should be making such wildly inaccurate statements?

    As for this forum being open for anyone to express their views, I totally agree. However, the comments by Mr. Barnett may be private or they may be official, we don't know which. BUT, whether they are private or official, they are factually incorrect and hugely ill-advised given his role as a paid employee of the ELR.

    I have to agree with '24C' that the comments of a member of the ELR's staff like Mr. Barnett do nothing to encourage members to remain so in the future. They positively discourage support for the railway.

    Perhaps a public relations course can be found for the Sales manager to attend to try to improve his inter-personal skills.

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    28th March 2014, 08:50 PM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    Curious, if this comes from someone who's employer's website includes the following :-

    "Photographic Locations

    The East Lancashire Railway welcomes people to come and take advantage of some of the fantastic and unique photo opportunities our railway provides. The railway offers great photo locations from publicly accessible areas. Most of the bridges along the line have been given geographic grid reference points; these are listed at the bottom of the page after the location spots.

    We would ask all of our visitors to please respect the railway and its environment: please do not trespass on the railway line or any of the private property adjoining the railway."


    This is the whole header from that section so as I am not told the part I have highlighted is out of context. It says nothing unreasonable.

    No doubt the ELR benefits greatly ( as do other railways ) from the use of images from amateur photographers. Maybe next time someone is asked for the use of a photograph they should politely suggest the railway employ a professional - and watch them wince at the cost !

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    28th March 2014, 10:31 PM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    One other thought, just what qualifications does this gentleman have to be a Sales Manager? I was involved in sales most of my working life and one old adage worth repeating "it can take years of painstaking work to acquire a customer but only 10 seconds of thoughtlessness to lose one". Read and learn Mr Barnett!

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    Today, 12:07 AM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    After some similar ‘anti-fotter’ comments by Messrs Layland and Coward, also employees of the ELR, during the Santa season; as a mere observer, I passed comment as to the advantages that could accrue from working with the camera toting community.

    As usual I got shot down in flames as representing a bunch of non contributing parasites.

    As the thread proceeded I suggested the ELR assist in making official photo locations more user and railway friendly by kinking the fence-line and selling photo guides, or even providing a circulating minibus to permit riding and photography to mutual benefit.

    This was also portrayed as anti ELR!

    There are some super people associated with the Lancs - but there are some dreadful examples of people promoted way beyond their competence level, and whilst that remains the case, I will continue to work with and spend with the former and utterly dissociate myself from the prejudice and spite of the latter.

    It takes a long time to build up a good reputation and seconds to destroy it! This needs writing in blood over the entrance to Bolton Street!

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    Today, 08:26 AM

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    RE: ELR's views on railway photographers?

    As you all know I am actively involved with the ELR, primarily in helping to arrange photographic evenings, early morning runpasts etc which in recent times have provided an extra profitable revenue to the ELR.

    Indeed only last Friday I helped Ian Furness organise a photo-shoot which although the ELR did not profit, the CFPS most certainly did. As with many others I am also asked regularly to provide photographs for marketing purposes.

    The comments made must surely be described as bringing the railway into disrepute and be contrary to the membership constitution.

    The railway's AGM is very soon and I have the full intention of submitting a response to these comments prior to the AGM, for the Company and Society's full response.

    It's a disgrace and I sincerely hope the railway press are made aware of these comments, I know some of you on here have a working relationship with some members of the press and hope you pass these comments on, as I have a feeling they may disappear.

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  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I would doubt that many of them even profit from the pastime never mind profiteer, I wonder if he knows the difference? (Or between 'there' and 'their')
     
  3. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    I rarely ride on trains, I do take photos but I'm not a photographer. Would he ban me?, I always go out of my way to patronise the shop, pay for parking, buy a cup of tea etc and actually would seek out a platform ticket rather than sneak on like I used to try to do in the old days :). I think it's actually these areas that make the bigger percentage, running trains is costly.
     
  4. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I suspect that a few lines of text maybe,being misinterpreted . I'm sure like every railway the ELR needs to maximise revenue from whatever source . We are fortunate in that this hobby allows us to get closer to the stars at much less cost than almost any other pasttime

    I wouldn't expect photo events to be at risk as they generate a return for the railway .
     
  5. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    ELR so much potential, so little vision.

    Scaring away photographers means the vision just shrinks that bit more.

    I remember the consultant report they engaged a few years ago which recommended a more visitor friendly approach, and backed it up with a half dozen examples of over authoritarian /egoistic examples of signage and behaviour.

    Seems like some people want to live in a unionist /elitist 1960's railway to the rule book, rather than a 21st century family orientated day out... What next a strike ?, we already had dieselisation a few years back.

    Some day, at this rate Metrolink will take over, with the support of all.
     
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  6. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    Even most joe public on a day out take a camera of sort (be it point or shoot or even phone) with them now.

    What kind of sales manager seeks to alienate his customer base rather than try to increase it, a job where customer service and promotion skills are critical, suggests to me the man is highly ignorant and/or incompetent, and strongly urge the ELR to rapidly retrain him or dispose of his services considering the damage such people saying the wrong things can do.

    I've worked for years in retail and someone alienating the customer in such manner would not last very long, tourism (ie preservation) is like retail in that it requires customers to survive, so rule 1 is don't bite the hand that feeds you.

    Sadly there's more than a few in preservation with no idea how to talk to passengers and this will increasingly be an issue in future when 21st century standards are expected by joe bloggs and his 2.4 kids who are unlikely to return if the booking office clerk is grumpy and abrupt for example, to him a preserved railway is just another tourist attraction, he woulden't be expected to be made to feel like a hinderence at Alton Towers.
     
  7. irwellsteam

    irwellsteam New Member

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    Though what he said helps no one, he certainly isn't the only ELR official to have espoused that kind of view, though why this recent statement alone has kicked up a fuss is interesting (perhaps rants themselves are annoying yet harmless, but when acted upon really stroke people the wrong way). Regardless, there's no place for this kind of attitude in railway preservation, especially coming from within our own ranks; though its not affected me personally, enough stick comes our way from the outside thanks very much

    Regards, a freeloader
     
  8. 40445

    40445 New Member

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    Seems this is being discussed in other quarters too.
     
  9. shredder1

    shredder1 New Member

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    Sounds like a storm in a teacup, one bloke making comments out of ignorance, I`m the one who wrote the ELR photographic guide, and had a lot of support doing so, its available on the ELR website, I also volunteered for the organisation for about 10, on the tracks and on the trains, I can assure everyone that the ELR is very much pro photographers
     
  10. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Unfortunately, your guide did not mention that it would cost £8 to visit a railway station.
     
  11. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member

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    I see TBirdFrank is still alive and well :rolleyes:
     
  12. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    The ELR is not the only railway with anti photographer personnel. Some time ago the KWVR magazine published an article by the Oakworth station master (I think) that was quite insulting about photographers. Fortunately in a subsequent issue he was well and truly put in his place by a KWVR official.
     
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  13. shredder1

    shredder1 New Member

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    ???, its a photographic guide, not a price list??
     
  14. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Having looked at "The Lensman" forum/group which is closed to membership except by invitation - I am not bothered by the views of this self perpetuating clique.
     
  15. 8A Rail

    8A Rail New Member

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    I would like to see Mr Barnett say this in person to 30/40 photographers on a charter at the ELR who have paid £xxxx amount of money and the railway / other bodies has made a profit on it, along with the additional publicity and any other add on's that the railway and the area makes on the charter. I someone doubt how he would live to tell the tale! Mr Barnett is a very silly person and should be treated as such. Simples.
     
  16. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    He didn't post his comments on The Lensman forum. He posted them on the ELR forum. Apparently all photographers profit from selling their photos or getting them published in magazines. It'd be interesting to know how many people walked away after being asked to pay £8 to visit Bury station at the gala. Not just photographers or enthusiasts, but families and members of the public who just wanted to pop in and have a look.
     
  17. polmadie

    polmadie Member

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    I noticed also that Impala is posting on the ELR forum? Wonder if that is the Impala/Bongo that used to be on here.
     
  18. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    Unfortunately a silly person in a position of power, as seems to be the case at a lot of railways.
     
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  19. Tiviot Dale

    Tiviot Dale New Member

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    As Fred Kerr knows only too well - and DESPITE what he intimates - the Lensmen forum is NOT a public one, so one really has to ask, WHY did this person feel that he had the right to repeat in the public domain what were essentially private conversations intended only to be shared between registered members of that discussion group?

    Although, in this instance, what was stated within the content of the thread concerned was, in the view of this writer, all valid comment, the respective identities or pseudonyms of the individual posters should never have been revealed and that our friend did choose to do so, was a totally irresponsible act and one that it is my understanding (as a Lensmen member myself) has actually caused acute embarrassment to more than one of the contributors concerned. It is only to be hoped that Mr Kerr does not do further damage by repeating the exercise within either of the two periodicals with which he is connected, namely Railway Herald and Heritage Railway. In fact, such serious concerns such as this really should now be relayed to the editors of those two magazines.

    As many Nat Pres members will be well aware, this is by no means the first instance of Mr Kerr 'rocking the boat' with regard to ELR management and over trackside issues, and, once again, in a totally irresponsible manner, so it would have been thought by now that he might have learned his lesson.

    Hopefully drawing a line under the whole matter, this morning, the ELR's Richard Barnett eventually provided a response on the nuELR forum and which appeared to intimate that his previous words had been taken totally out of context. Whether one decides to believe that, or tends to believe that Mr Barnett may still retain a hidden agenda, is a matter that only time will prove .. one way or the other. (In fact, the immediate reaction to his words, by another nuELR user, was “What a load of tosh.”)

    Whatever the case, the whole issue once again puts the East Lancashire Railway in a very bad light and the matter of the charging for admission to platforms might now be best to be left alone and for the very few "freeloaders" concerned left to examine their own consciences. After all, it is my understanding that fully paid-up ELR members do obtain free admission to platforms AND three free trips per year on the railway as well. Little short of an absolute bargain, I would respectfully submit!
     
  20. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Fred Kerr does NOT know that the Lensman forum is private because (a) he was not aware of the forum's existence and (b) has never received an invitation to join.

    My information came from an editor (and note that I am connected to more than the two periodicals identified) who had been sent the material from one of the Lensmen and who - aware of my previous disagreement with the ELR over photography - had forwarded it to me. I was sufficiently angered by this disrespect of photographers - and their contribution to preservation - that I posted it on appropriate forums to allow other photographers to express their views. Note that I did NOT originate the material but received it from others and whilst some may consider my actions to be a case of "rocking the boat" others may consider it a case of "holding management to account". You choose your side and decide which definition to accept.

    As far as I am concerned I respect the privacy of the Lensmen forum (now that I am aware of its existence) and have no wish to violate their privacy or concern myself with their discussions BUT once their discussions are placed in the PUBLIC domain then I have the right - as does any other member of the public - to discuss and disseminate that information in other domains.

    If Mr Barnett feels that his comments "have been taken totally out of context" then I posit that he may need in future to consider what he says and how he says it, where he says it and to whom he says it !

    In my case I make no apology for disseminating information already in the public domain and on which it is known I have strong views; sufficiently strong that I gave up membership of a railway which I had supported for over 15 years (including membership and writing published articles espousing the railway) on a point of principle which I still hold.
     
    ADB968008 likes this.

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