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Dangers of photography Part III (ish)


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This morning I was standing outside Portcullis House, the office block for MP’s in London.  My camera (a Nikon D5 and a 70-200mm lens, so Hardly inconspicuous) was out but I had not taken any pictures.  Two police cars, one an Armed Response Unit, pulled up.  the armed response officers, came towards me.  .  They asked me what I was doing.  I explained that I was a press photographer and (slowly and carefully) got out my press card.  At which point one of the ARV officers radioed to cancel all units responding to the “incident” at Portcullis House.  The police told me that a member of the public (I am fairly sure it was one of the security staff) had reported that I had been seen taking photos of security passes.  I said to the officer that while I was under no legal obligation to show him what was on my memory card exceptionally I would do so.  I did show him the photos I had taken and he was satisfied.  However, the other officer asked to see my press card and took details,  as he said had to make a report on the “incident”.

 

The officers were polite and business like.  However,  it is just a bit worrying.  It is a sign of the times that I am now being stopped on many occasions photographing around Westminster I was not aware photography was, at least not yet, a crime.....

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I am so sorry. You are doing nothing wrong but plying your profession, and being made to feel like a crook.

You handled it perfectly. Still sorry you had to go through that.  I was made to feel the same only once, and once was enough.  For shooting sandpipers!

Betty

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I haven't been stopped and questioned for a long time, and I have no time for obnoxious 'security guards'. I remember well the 'I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist' mass protest in Trafalgar Square just over 10 years ago, the situation is better since then but not perfect.

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I think you handled it well Ian....It's great to see when security forces are there when you need them and anywhere in the world...That is especiallly  if they treat you well and in a professional manner....Always best to coroperate with people with big guns...Still it would be a very confronting and scary situation...You are lucky you have a press pass, otherwise they may have taken you away for further questions...😲😀

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On 27/02/2020 at 21:58, IanDavidson said:

This morning I was standing outside Portcullis House, the office block for MP’s in London.  My camera (a Nikon D5 and a 70-200mm lens, so Hardly inconspicuous) was out but I had not taken any pictures.  Two police cars, one an Armed Response Unit, pulled up.  the armed response officers, came towards me.  .  They asked me what I was doing.  I explained that I was a press photographer and (slowly and carefully) got out my press card.  At which point one of the ARV officers radioed to cancel all units responding to the “incident” at Portcullis House.  The police told me that a member of the public (I am fairly sure it was one of the security staff) had reported that I had been seen taking photos of security passes.  I said to the officer that while I was under no legal obligation to show him what was on my memory card exceptionally I would do so.  I did show him the photos I had taken and he was satisfied.  However, the other officer asked to see my press card and took details,  as he said had to make a report on the “incident”.

 

The officers were polite and business like.  However,  it is just a bit worrying.  It is a sign of the times that I am now being stopped on many occasions photographing around Westminster I was not aware photography was, at least not yet, a crime.....

 

Ian, I think he just spotted those trainers with the hole in them and thought they looked suspicious! 😀

 

I guess I've just discover what is possibly the only advantage of being a female in this business (and there are many, many disadvantages in a 90%+ male environment). Despite running around those same Westminster haunts most days with 2 camera bodies dangling off me, I've not been questioned by Police (yet) and only really have to show the NUJ card at the Downing Street gates (where the officers are always faultlessly friendly and professional). I probably just look too innocent. Common misconception. 

Edited by imageplotter
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On 06/03/2020 at 10:07, imageplotter said:

 

Ian, I think he just spotted those trainers with the hole in them and thought they looked suspicious! 😀

 

I guess I've just discover what is possibly the only advantage of being a female in this business (and there are many, many disadvantages in a 90%+ male environment). Despite running around those same Westminster haunts most days with 2 camera bodies dangling off me, I've not been questioned by Police (yet) and only really have to show the NUJ card at the Downing Street gates (where the officers are always faultlessly friendly and professional). I probably just look too innocent. Common misconception. 

One day I will earn enough to buy some new trainers....

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On 06/03/2020 at 08:09, Colblimp said:

Absolutely ridiculous!  Haven't people better things to do than complain about a photographer trying to earn a living?! 😡

I've had a few instances of being approached, sometimes with initial aggression, sometimes just sidling over, mostly for them to be sure that I am a photographer. Once that has been ascertained their threat level drops from BIKINI state red to 'that's a big lens, can I have a look?' Being a regular in Whitehall, around Heathrow or outside military bases then it's only fair to expect attention as long as their reaction to what they find is friendly. With events as they have been of late I have to say that am extremely glad that they are there and so quick to respond.

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On 27/02/2020 at 21:58, IanDavidson said:

This morning I was standing outside Portcullis House, the office block for MP’s in London.  My camera (a Nikon D5 and a 70-200mm lens, so Hardly inconspicuous) was out but I had not taken any pictures.  Two police cars, one an Armed Response Unit, pulled up.  the armed response officers, came towards me.  .  They asked me what I was doing.  I explained that I was a press photographer and (slowly and carefully) got out my press card.  At which point one of the ARV officers radioed to cancel all units responding to the “incident” at Portcullis House.  The police told me that a member of the public (I am fairly sure it was one of the security staff) had reported that I had been seen taking photos of security passes.  I said to the officer that while I was under no legal obligation to show him what was on my memory card exceptionally I would do so.  I did show him the photos I had taken and he was satisfied.  However, the other officer asked to see my press card and took details,  as he said had to make a report on the “incident”.

 

The officers were polite and business like.  However,  it is just a bit worrying.  It is a sign of the times that I am now being stopped on many occasions photographing around Westminster I was not aware photography was, at least not yet, a crime.....

What I never understand about these complaints from "the public" or some overkeen security guard, is that why on earth they think someone with a large professional Camera slung around themselves is a terrorist or "up to something", if you were taking photo of "security passes", surely you'd be doing it with a smart phone, hand scanner or a small compact camera, not an SLR in full view of everyone.

 

Well done for handing so well and a good idea, for anyone to copy, if involved in such an incident, often when asked a stupid question like that, you can forget to think clearly, until afterwards.

Chris

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I went to see Greta Thunberg speak in Bristol a couple of weeks ago. It was a massive crowd, very well managed by Avon and Somerset police. I know the route the march usually takes so instead of getting at the very muddy front of the crowd I planted myself on a traffic island a let the march come to me. I must have been at the right place because there was a chap behind me with a high viz jacket with photographer written on it (sigh) and all the visiting photogs were looking at me, wondering if I knew something they didn't. The only thing I was really sure about was Jack Wolfskin coats are waterproof... Eventually the march arrives and in the crowd I just about manage a few pictures of Ms Thunberg. Nothing great, just the sort of stuff a grandad would be happy with. When l got to the nearest dry place with WiFi i started a quick edit and crop, thats when I noticed the security. In one of the pictures, in the background, there was a bearded young man with earpiece giving me a Very Concentrated steely look as he was speaking into his collar.  If you can imagine a plain clothes undercover viking, that was him. I Didn't see him at the time but he saw me... 

 

These chaps are looking after us; usually it's quiet and unobtrusive, but for me it's always welcome. 

 

 

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