Letter: Unsportsmanlike conduct on graduation photographer

To the editor:

Throughout this long school year, Raider fans have watched their favorite sports teams compete for wins. Richmond Senior High athletics had a very successful year, but what I and my family, and many other parents, observed on graduation night was probably the most unprofessional act witnessed at Raider Stadium in a long time.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The LifeTouch Photography photographer had the front-row seat at graduation. When he moved, other photographers moved. Then the LifeTouch photographer moved again. And again.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The LifeTouch Photography photographer had the front-row seat at graduation. When he moved, other photographers moved. Then the LifeTouch photographer moved again. And again.

We left after the ceremony with the feeling of disgust — kind of how you feel when the football team has been done wrong by the referees. But this was not a football game. This involved two photographers, Kevin Spradlin of The Pee Dee Post and a photographer from LifeTouch Photography, which I don’t know his name. LifeTouch Photography apparently shoots pictures for the school system.

There ceremony started without a hitch, both photographers were 25 to 30 feet away from the student receiving their diploma. Maybe 10 minutes into the ceremony is when it started. The photographer from LifeTouch Photography started moving toward Kevin’s line of shot, blocking him out so he could not get a good shot on the student. Kevin moved over. This happened all through the ceremony. One parent claimed it happened on 12 different occasions. Every single time Kevin would relocate his position, the LifeTouch Photographer would move into his line of shot and eventually start leaning over with his camera to help block Kevin’s shot.

Many parents in our section picked up on what was happening and suggested a letter to the editor. It was so unprofessional that Kevin should receive an apology and the LifeTouch Photography worker should attend a class on respect and common courtesy. There was plenty of room for several photographers. Why he had to hog the field is mind-boggeling.

It was awesome to see how well behaved our students and parents were just to observe this photographer act the way he did. Grow up! There should have definitely been a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty thrown on the LifeTouch photographer.

Unfortunately, the LifeTouch photographer’s flash ruined our son’s photographer that Kevin tried to take.

Sincerely,

Paul Whitley
Rockingham

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Opinion

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  • momatad

    Where I live, the photo concession is given out by the high school. Could it be that LifeTouch had the contract with the school to sell the photos (a highly lucrative venture) and did not want an ‘outsider’ cutting into his ‘profit margin’….I would suggest contacting the school to see if this is what they did….also, Spradlin may not have had ‘permission’ from the school and the other photographer was under instruction to keep outsiders from taking professional photos. As I stated, other schools contract with the photographer for a ‘percentage’ of the take when they sell the pictures at a highly inflated rate due to being ‘the only game in town’. They may not have wanted Spradlin to take shots as he wasn’t ‘cutting them in on the take’.

    • conrad griffin

      RavenRaider,
      so he should be the only one allowed to take pictures. I am a student of the school and no lifetouch doesn’t have a contract with the school I help all the pictures and set up of everything this year a I feeling that the photographer should have had more respect for the parents and other people taking photos.

      • concerned citizen

        Lifetouch was invited to hold the contract to sell graduation pictures and did all school pictures.

        • momatad

          Thank you for confirming this. THIS is the point I was making…..while parents and by default, being part of the public, the Pee Dee Post, were allowed to take pictures…..it does not allow them to impede the fulfillment of the contract Lifetouch has with the school district. A mutually beneficial contract…..as the district, as with other districts, receives a percentage of the sales made from selling the pictures. How much is the Pee Dee Post in contract with them for?

        • Joe Deberry

          If they were there doing grad pics ,what school year will they be in since 2015 has been done and the students have them already is my question ,or are the 2015 pics going to be in the 2016 books. It was not like that when mine graduated in 2010 and 2012 so how is it done for these seniors . Just asking( concerned citizen .)

      • momatad

        Lifetouch HAD to have been contracted by the school…….they just don’t show up out of the goodness of their little pea pickin’ hearts.

        • Chris

          This is NOT about a contract. You people are missing the point. If Lifetouch had/has a contract with Richmond county schools, that’s fine. The original letter here states that the Life touch photographer was impeding the Press photographer. NOT the other way around. AND furthermore, IF Lifetouch has a contract, and it DOES NOT say it is an EXCLUSIVE right, then this is just a situation of unprofessionalism by an overpriced, poor quality company. If it were an exclusive contract, NO OTHER cameras would have been allowed in the stadium. Including cell phones from all the parents and family. I just really don’t see this being the case. And the same people complaining here are the same ones who complain about the county not having anything for the economy and jobs. But you people are literally trying to run a man and his family out of the county for doing his job. No wonder there is no hope for this county.

          • momatad

            I. frankly, could give two sh*ts about ‘running anyone out of the county’……this IS a question about a contract. Could it have been handled differently, yes, but this is far beyond the pale saying not being able to take a picture runs someone out of the county……If there was a contract with Lifetouch it should have been made public knowledge, if the PDP planned on taking pictures, they should have contacted the district FIRST to see if there were any ‘professional’ photographers contracted to cover the event and co-ordinate their locations……it sounds like it ended up being a ‘p*ssing contest’ between the two photographers…..in ‘you screw with me, I’ll block your shot’…..Funny, I have never heard any similar complaints about the Daily Journal and they have been covering graduations at RSHS as far back and the building of the school.

          • Kevin Spradlin

            That’s because the Daily Journal doesn’t stay on the field (or in the stadium) to report on graduation. You’ll note that the RCDJ’s story has not a single quote from anyone who spoke at the podium on graduation night.

            This isn’t a knock against the RCDJ – that paper has deadlines the PDP doesn’t have – but merely an observation and a reason to explain why there wasn’t a similar issue with the LifeTouch photographer and the RCDJ. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure anyone from the RCDJ was there in a working capacity beyond the procession.

          • momatad

            never saw a newspaper in ANY of the localities I’ve lived in ‘quote the speakers’ unless they were some high ranking politician, and then the story was about the politician, not the graduates. List the graduates and number of them, the weather, who the speakers are and few random shots. If you do an expose on each and every one, it ceases to be news and becomes an overinflated blog entry.

          • Kevin Spradlin

            It sounds like newspapers in a variety of places you’ve lived have really set the bar low. Sorry to learn of that.

          • momatad

            just that there was more important news to cover. When you live in a metropolitan area, one with more than one school, a blip is all that is needed as there actually are more important things happening in the world to waste wording and column space on ‘Joe Blow of 123 Normal St. completed four years of high school and matriculated today’. Yes, it’s important to Joe Blow’s mama, but in the whole scheme of the universe…..it’s nothing.

          • Earlybird54

            I read all the comments between you and Joe DeBerry and for your info if you were talking about his mom and joe blow st ,just to keep you from making things worse between you 2 ,his mom was killed by a family member so when He see’s this you to will be at it for along time . I know him and he is not at all like you think you describe him on here as you might want to leave her out of this ,but using a mother that has passed like his did made him a very angry man as any one would be and you as well. So good luck with this .

          • Joe Deberry

            Thanks earlybird for the comment to this piece of trash ,but i will take it from here my way, come by soon as you can.

          • momatad

            thank you for pointing out my trashiness….geez, I wouldnt have known if you didn’t point it out!!!!! I am just a troll under the Pee Dee Bridge. What a maroon. You think by calling me trash it changes my right to have an opinion. I disagree with you on a subject as simple as photographers at a high school graduation, and I”M trash and worthy of being arrested? You’re such the righteous big man here, bring it….that’s right, bring it…….EXPOSE me, get me ARRESTED….for what? Disagreeing with you? You really are a piece of work.

          • momatad

            who the hell said jack shit about his mama? Joe Blow is a generic term, such as John Doe…Nowhere did I say ANYTHING about his mother…..high school graduation is important to the graduate’s MOTHER……the rest of society, not so much….if you took that as an insult to ANYONE specific, you are looking for the fight, not me….

          • Joe Deberry

            Karma little man ,with all the killings going on and you want to attack my mom that’s dead will be your demise ,just remember KARMA and if you do not understand that ,it mean what goes around comes around. So when your life is so out of control think of me and you will know why your world is up side down . SEE YA .

          • momatad

            so, you have control over my life? So tell me….who am I? What am i? Where am I? You KNOW…..ooooooh………you KNOW………I’m so skeert.

          • Joe Deberry

            Do not be Sheert as you say .This is my last contact with you until we meet did not make a threat but will see ya as I said Above .Enjoy your life you have .

          • Joe Deberry

            Mohammad as you should be called here you are again talking crap that you know nothing about the press .They are at all ball games , graduations and did the Journal have a contract since you know so much.

          • momatad

            not talking the Journal here…they’re not the one with the ‘issue’. And my name is Abdullah, not Mohammed. Get it right if you’re gonna make racist baiting insults.

          • Joe Deberry

            Im not a racist Mohammed ,and for calling you Mohammed it is easier to. pronounce than momatad it means Matador which i doubt you are.

          • Joe Deberry

            Signing off MoMo, will get back to any reply’s tomorrow from ya .Have a good night

          • Chris

            Oh the RCDJ gets plenty of complaints. Or they used to. However, Until Pee Dee Post came to town, it wasn’t allowed in the Journal. You couldn’t write a letter to the editor expressing your Opinion against the Journal. It would never make it to print. I know this first hand. And don’t even think about commenting on government officials, their decisions or whatever. That was a BIG no-no. You see, humans are creatures of habit, and do not like change. Most people live in the box called their comfort zone. So its a natural reaction to reject anything that is outside of your box. Whatever you are accustomed to, that is what you will accept in your life. Anything else gets rejected.
            The Pee Dee Post has been rejected since the day it started. I’ve read the comments and heard the remarks about the Post. The company has been rejected from day one. And your comments about the silly pissing contest are exactly the same fluff the post has been getting since inception. You, along with many others, need to accept the fact that there is more than just your opinion around here and look outside the box for a change.

          • Earlybird54

            The Journal is controlled by the City and County and has been that way for many years. They say they do not , but if you say something as a friend did on the regards of the Richmond Plaza that Kenneth’s Robinette owns and is managed by his family ,your comments will be deleted and the Journal will delete you from posting anything . There is other ways to get your comments out about the corruptions that have went on here for well over 50 years out side this county the Journal can not control for these crooks here . This will most likely be deleted by then as well ,but it and all my remarks are posted else where so the voters here will get.

    • conrad griffin

      the peedeepost photographer has been on the sidelines all year long so why wouldn’t he have permission to be there. Why couldn’t the other reporter be fair instead of being greedy. Just maybe the peedeepost photographer was trying to make money too. The article did mention that someones photograph did get messed up…….. NOW WHAT???????

      • Kevin Spradlin

        You’re right, I was permitted to be there. If I wasn’t, I would have been told by any one of the many school officials or sheriff’s deputies to leave the field.

        LifeTouch and the PDP are both for-profit entities out just trying to make a living; in this case, I feel one’s actions had an adverse impact on my ability to do so. By this letter, it’s clear I’m not the only one who saw what was going on. If I can obtain the video, I’ll post it to better illustrate the scenario.

        – Kevin

        • momatad

          Please don’t take this an an insult, but merely a question: Did you submit a request to the school board to be allowed to take pictures or did you, based on the fact you are member of the public, just show up and do so, based on your past history of photographing sporting event and the like (something Lifetouch doesn’t do)? Just because they didn’t ‘toss you out’ is not permission to do what was done.

          • Kevin Spradlin

            Richmond County Schools knew in advance I’d be there in a reporting/photographing capacity for The Pee Dee Post.

            – Kevin

    • Joe Deberry

      They call it here freedom of Press and Kevin with the PDP is a local news paper and has all rights to be on the field in our State .Life Touch makes millions off of all NC Schools doing school pictures twice a year in this state. Life Touch had a whole field to be on not invading our local paper from doing his job as this one was doing to Kevin . We support our local news paper not a out of town photographer as he was. Besides all I have seen in your profile is attacks on everything you can find in any Towns paper that has Disqus you start a disagreement as you are doing here and this has nothing to do with you . This is a local problem that will be taken care of .

      • momatad

        oooh, I guess I have been ‘tolt’ by t he local ‘important person’…..No, this is NOT about freedom of the press…….if Lifetouch HAD a contractual agreement with the school district………then the local paper had NO right to impede their fulfillment of it. Has nothing to do with ‘this being a local issue’…….has to do with violation of a contractual agreement, or being prohibited by another party from completing your contract. It’s all about the Benjamins, not your opinon,my opinion, or the ‘Pee Dee Post’ getting feelings hurt.

        • Joe Deberry

          Buddy you are nothing butt a fool ,you have no idea what you are saying at all on here ,all you want to do is cause problems and I will be your problem if you want

          • momatad

            bring in asshole. Are you ‘threatening me’ for expression an opinion? An opinion different from yours should not exist, correct?

          • Joe Deberry

            Was not a threat ,but if you want to threaten me with all the garbage you scream at everyone on here I will be your sugar daddy and i want go away as you think i will .We have been through this mess with you before and am glad to do it again .Check mate.

          • momatad

            First off, since when is asking a legitimate question ‘threatening you’? Seriously. I think what is ‘threatening’ to you is that someone has an opinion different than yours. Jail time for what? and my IP address? Since when is it illegal to ask a question. I called you an asshole. Last I checked, THAT wasn’t illegal….it’s my opinion, and I’m entitled to it. Oh, and I have ‘never’ lived in Charlotte.

          • Joe Deberry

            Well good for you ,all of us have opinions to and ours do not work together so we agree to disagree as long as you want.

          • Joe Deberry

            Jail time got your attention and all IP address’s will show our locations ,and it is not illegal to ask a question and the asshole part well lets just say we all have one.

          • momatad

            okay…the MIGHTY Joe Deberry is getting me sent to jail. Go for it. I just wanted to know ‘why’ disagreeing with your exalted opinion ‘deserved’ jail time. You want me arrested? Call the Po-po, I’m SURE they’re sitting around waiting for your orders. All this BS because I questioned a contract with a school district. Come on, I’m waiting, even got a manicure so my hands look nice for the picture of them in handcuffs while I’m being perp walked. Waddamaroon.

          • Joe Deberry

            I believe you need your meds with the way you interpret a word to be what you want it to be ,which causes you to snap .

          • Joe Deberry

            It was not the contract thing between me and you its the way you get on here and want to start a fight with us all and I will not be bullied by a punk .So if you want to keep on its in your hands .

          • Joe Deberry

            Keep playing stupid games and we will get some jail time for you we have your IP Address so keep coming.

          • Joe Deberry

            The only thing that stinks is your mouth boy , im not a young punk as your self appears to be.

          • Joe Deberry

            Hows Charlotte little D come back in town and come see me , or is it Matt D?

        • Joe Deberry

          Boy you can not hurt my feelings ,im a adult not a child as you are and all the other punks that talk your stupid crap you think you know ,but in a few years you will see how stupid you are acting out now as all kids do .

        • Joe Deberry

          Have you seen a contract and if you have you work at the school or administration or just have no clue what you are saying.

      • Mike Curtis

        Well, this thread spiraled out of hand quickly. Maybe both of you need tio step away from the keyboard for a few minutes and just cool off. I guess I’ll pose a question and hope it gets a response before the commenting section gets closed. Kevin, did you actually speak to the other photographer and let him know he was blocking your shots? While it certainly sounds like his actions were intentional, there may be a slight chance it was accidental, and he wasn’t aware of the problem he was causing. A simple request for professional courtesy may have prevented this letter to the editor.

        • Joe Deberry

          Mike I appreciate your opinion on the cooling off , but this guy does not live in this county no more and if you look at all the responses he does this to anyone that will let him put them down or disagree with everyone just to start a disagreement that gets out of control and im to old to sit and take it . I have been to several meetings in this county that Kevin and the Journal are working around each other with no problems, and really you do not even know Kevin is there. I was at a Political Convention here in the County and the man took a picture over my head and I did not know it until I read his column and seen the picture that had to be him taking it over my head and they work around each other like professionals do . Life Touch did not show any respect towards Kevin doing his work and there was plenty of room and most times they stand in front of the crowd in front of the Graduates and move all around the field to get their shots and it has worked for years until this year.

  • concerned citizen

    I will say this as a teacher….the Lifetouch photographer is making money for the schools….all other photographers should stay behind him and out of his way. There has always been a professional photographer and he has done this for years, so maybe he felt stepped on for the others getting in his way!!!! It is not about who has been on the field all year because on the field was not graduation. We get that you want to increase people looking at your site, but stay out of the way of those who are and have been doing this for years. You owe him an apology for not talking to him in advance and finding out how he would be moving aroundto get the pictures that will be used for yearbooks, the school, and for parents to purchase. Because believe me his pictures are much better quality and worth the price for the memories.

    • Kevin Spradlin

      The fact is I wasn’t in his way. He had the front-row seat; he moved, then I moved because I was behind him. After several times, though, it almost seems as if he was deliberately getting in my way – either by moving his entire position or leaning so far into my path.

      Fact is, I have as much as right as he does to be there, contract or no contract.

      – Kevin

  • Ingrid Marks

    Wow people we are talking about a Whole football field!!! I mean really? It sounds like the life touch photographer was way out of hand, I think that’s clear by the amount of times PDP moved out of curtesy. I don’t think PDP was selling graduation packets either. Childish and selfish on the behalf of the Life Touch photographer I’d say. Just a opinion, we all have them. Oh…..why is everyone leaving off there name?

  • LT Photog

    As someone who has photographed with Lifetouch at commencements, these are usually contracted with the school and thus, no other photography company is allowed to impede on that contract.

    Now, we generally do run into a photographer from the local newspapers (Tribune, Post, ect) that takes his own candid photographs for their articles about the commencement. But never does he stay for more than a half hour, and never does he stand right behind us and take every single picture of every graduate as we are. He understands our job and respects it, as we do him.

    If Lifetouch was there photographing, then that means they set up and agreed upon a contract with the school to take those photographs for the parents to purchase (and as always, a percentage goes back to the school). This means that they should be given priority. Perhaps if PDP had explained they were simply there to get a few shots, then the photographer would’ve known and not tried to do their job, which is to stop others from taking photographs that they are contracted to do.

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