Tuesday, April 05, 2011

No photos of people geting off buses, please?


He shouted. At me. Because I was taking photos of some people getting off a bus.

He also told me to stop. He was quite angry. He didn't like it when I said I was doing nothing wrong.

WARNING: You should never continue take photos of people in public if they make their unhappiness obvious. Part of being a professional photographer is keeping calm, being courteous, diffusing difficult situations - but also knowing your rights. END OF WARNING

If the person offended gets overtly angry or threatening the issue belongs at their feet. Knee-jerk aggression is not justified by having your photograph taken.

You are allowed to take photographs in public of anything or anyone. Security guards may tell you otherwise, police may question you about your motives but you should not accept the accusation of having done something wrong. You haven't.

I've been stopped three times this year - by city security guards who followed me while I was taking photos of shop signs, by a policeman as I was taking images of a petrol station and by a Ryanair employee while I filmed the queue to get on one of their flights.

Each time the person quizzing me was polite, and so was I – even if I disagreed with their reasons for asking me what I was doing. They were all on the look-out for terrorists. But how many terrorists have you seen carrying a huge Nikon D2Xs? And also, if a terrorist decided to take photos but used their mobile phones would they go unchallenged?

It is obviously the size of my camera which grabs the attention of those watching on CCTV while those standing near me with their iPhone carry on photographing regardless.

And, for those of you who are interested, here is the photo I took of people at a bus stop in Liverpool today. No prizes for spotting the angry one.


1 comment:

anna said...

Is the law the only measure of right or wrong Cooky. These ethical debates, between you and I, are getting pretty regular. Disappointed there are no prizes - the old lady looks like a real wrong un.