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IanDavidson

You cannot take photos here - again

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You can’t take photos here (again)

 

It may just be me but, three times today, while photographing locally, I have been challenged and told what I can and cannot photograph.  I attended a Victoria Cross monument unveiling.  I was told three times I could not take photographs of a group of school children.  On the third occasion, the “organiser” of the event told me I could not take this group.  I replied, politely, that while I had no intention of taking photos of this group there was nothing legally to stop me doing so.  She replied that if I did take their photos she would make me leave the event.  I pointed out that as this was a public space, and I was on the pavement she could not tell me to leave…  What was more annoying was that a little while later the school concerned tweeted several pictures of their children at the event, on a public tweet.   Then I went to the Ford central office in Warley, Brentwood which announced it is closing.  Quite a big deal as over 1,500 people work in the offices.  So while taking pictures, on the public pavement; up comes a security guard to ask what I was doing and to see some identification.  I pointed out, politely, that I was in a public space and why was he asking for identification.  He was very nice; but said he had to check in case I was up to “no good”.  I did show him my press card and off he went. 

I know I am being over sensitive but it is a little annoying to be constantly challenged.  A couple of weeks ago I covered a major disturbance at a televised boxing match locally.  I photographed the police in riot gear controlling the event.  Some “fans” took exception and tried to break my kit.  The police intervened; but then put me in a corner with two officers and told me I could not move from that spot or take any more pictures.  Again, | fully understand the “why” but it is getting difficult just to do my job…….

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5 minutes ago, IanDavidson said:

..up comes a security guard to ask what I was doing and to see some identification.  I pointed out, politely, that I was in a public space and why was he asking for identification.  He was very nice; but said he had to check in case I was up to “no good”..

I have had that situation a few times and though they haven't said as such I think it's exactly that, they'd rather check me out than not. Some have been more forthright than others but the outcome was the same. In these times I think it's fair to expect that. Similar to your first point, I chose not to take heatwave shots of bathing ladies on Southend's beaches because of the attitudes of boyfriends which might result in damage to me or my kit. Legal or not, I'll avoid that confrontation.

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The most stupid one I have had was when working as club photographer at a Youth FC cup match - fully open to the public, the public charged to attend, I am there by invitation of the club that, you know, owns the ground, with a high viz vest on - on the opposite side of the pitch was my son who works for the club directly in a different capacity videoing the match - so the referee got funny and was suggesting that it was illegal for us to film/shoot because some of the players were under 16.  I mean both teams had coaches and managers present and I doubt if any of the lads did not have a parent there, none of whom had any problem (face it the parents and the managers pay for my work - that is why I was there) but the referee did.

 

 

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A couple of years ago I was commissioned to photograph a new infant school that was an addition to a big private school I’d been working with for over 10+years. The new infant photos were to be used for PR, marketing and a new prospectus but I had to leave my phone at reception while I was on site because it had a camera in it. You couldn’t make it up!

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Ian, were you of a mind to do so you could email the school and educate them by pointing out the situation as you have rightly and properly described it above. They should make sure their staff know what they can and cannot dictate when they are on their own private premises and when they are in a public space, and how to tell the difference between the two. If you were of a sadistic streak you could rub salt in the wound by mentioning the laughable irony of their complaint against you when they are tweeting  pictures of the very same event.

 

I have a scintilla of sympathy with them, inasmuch as my wife works in a school and I know concerns around safety and privacy are deeply impressed upon the staff. However, it does them no favours for them to be under the misapprehension that the privacy which can be enforced in school can also be enforced out if it. 

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In London, it is being told that I am photographing on 'private land' to be the issue I encounter the most problems with.  Such places are always publicly accessible but have imposed rules especially with regards to filming and photography. While I can understand needing to have a filming policy for a movie shoot or a music video it is ridiculous that a 'one size fits all' policy also stops me from photographing with my fixed lens compact camera.           

Edited by digi2ap

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