I value my freedom, photographic, and otherwise. And, doubtless, photographing a potential IRA target (in the minds of the constabulary, at any rate) should not be a cause for alarm. Still, living where I do, just outside Washington DC, I sometimes think twice about where or how I photograph.
Some years ago, when a certain royal personage came to Mt. Vernon Estate along with our then President, I thought a close-up picture of the two of them whizzing by the end of my street in a limo would be worth having. I then began unpacking my 300 mm Fotosniper Outfit and put it on the shoulder stock. Then, it dawned on me, that with our trigger-happy constabularly and with a Texican in the car, I thought----nawww.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
I have experienced the same even without taking photographs. (Actually, I told the officers I was a photographer having a look at some scenery I came along, but then they wanted to see my camera. I told them I do not carry my camera all day, as they do not carry their uniform all day...)
Originally Posted by Kino
Of course one can argue about such a control (it is to the officers to determine in first instance what place is critical and what not.), but my identy has been mangled through their computers a hundred times. So a control as such is not an issue for me. As long as it is not repeatedly on me and only me. Something which happened too.
I appreciate your feedback, although I disagree a bit (post 2 & 3). This is a very symbolic issue.
That is right the policeman were courteous. But, keeping the civilities a side, the simple fact that the police can come and ask you to justify yourself when you are taking photos from a non sensitive site (from I was standing I could not see the MI5 building, but actually that building is being taken in photos by thousands of tourists every day) is bizzare and controlling.
I also thing that one should not wait until the point to be hassled to find that this situation we are living in is abnormal.
I also done some reading on this issue today, that this is not just happening to amateur/photographers but also to journalists...that is another debate!
You know I feel, as an art photography is little about freedom. But more than this, the freedom of taking photo has been for a long time a benchmark tool for the degree of freedom that a given country enjoys.
The fact that I related the insurance thing is imply to highlight this: If you go out taking photos, you are suspicious and make sure that your life is ALL is in order!
In the past the police did not used to have this kind of power and a legislation has been introduced, so to the risk of repeating myself, we moved from two different situations without even having a public debate. What worries me, is there is no real guidelines on how police interventions are done in the practical terms of this matter and you are at the mercy of the policeman mood.
Finally, in a free society photographers (whether they consider themselves as artists or not) have the right to enjoy their work (within certain limits that everybody understand) without having to justify to anyone. Otherwise, let put in place a system of photographer permit as this happen in police (ed) states.
Last edited by Mourr; 03-19-2009 at 06:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Concerning the past: In the 70's I have been bullied by a guy in civil, seemingly accompaning the uniformed police, who threatened to beat me up as I was taking a photograph of a policeman beating up a guy lying on the ground.
So, just being controlled may be a change to the better...
Though you and AndyK might argue I'm giving in to authority control.
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May be it is me, but I don't find that normal or benign to be questioned if did not do anything illegal. This the prerogative of free citizens. otherwise, we should revise this definition. Sadly, we often justify all sort abuses because of security matters.
I would like to think that in our common ideal, that the government will always thrive and fight to keep the balance right.
As one of the Romans said (cant remember which senator or Cesar) the decay of society freedom's is proportional to the number of laws that its governemnt vote.
battersea power station top terrorist target. ha ha.
a tumbling vacant wreck of a building,an ex power station not exactly no1 on the list of terror targets.
how about arresting the billionaire developer owner of battersea power station, that took the roof off and is waiting for the building to fall down.
how about rounding up all the corrupt bankers and treating them like criminals.
the fact is you are a very easy target,it is easier for the police to get money and busts from car crime than proper investigations.
sheer bone idleness.
easier to bother you with a camera than break up a pub fight.
easier picking on school kids for bus fare dodging than waiting in the cold,
in the hope of catching a mugger.
you are easy pickings,maybe you should become a mason
Originally Posted by alan doyle
Ahh, I see that the IRA-wannabees would not be scoping out a vacant wreck of a building. Here, I was under the impression the building was something other than a derelict.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
There's an even bigger problem in my mind. We're seeing more and more stories of police overstepping their bounds, (sometimes by more than a little bit) and this is leading to growing distrust of the police by the public they supposedly serve. When ordinary citizens, (like photographers doing what they've always done) start feeling themselves on the other side from the police the police cannot do their jobs. The police rely on the cooperation of the citizenry to be effective. If that begins to break down it all breaks down. At this stage in the game the recession is making everyone, (unless you're an AIG or Merrill Lynch exec) "on-edge" and I'm seriously concerned that something stupid will happen.
As for the MI-5 HQ every time there's an intelligence news story every reporter in the world is doing live broadcasts on the steps. If the MI-5 building was the real reason for the Police involvement then we've got problems.
"Why is there always a better way?"
Thanks guys for your support!! I am glad to see that they are photographers ( whether beginner -like me- or veterans) that find that it is not just OKay to hassle us in our work.
would they hassle a watermark painter? what happen if here is very fast and produces 10 paints a minutes? would they take his paint brush, canvas and palette?
From Anton post :
"However, the biggest problem photographers face is the ignorance on behalf of public officials (police officers, Community Support Officers and (especially) private security guards), the owners of property and subjects. Very few officials understand the law and there are plenty of examples of photographer being told by police and community support officers that they are not allowed to take pictures, when in fact they are perfectly within their rights. See here for examples. "
Is there is no awareness work that the authorities/officials could undertake to avoid alienating members of the public?