Now and then, for therapeutic reasons, I have a crack at "street" photography. In densely populous Sydney CBD nobody notices, in less populous Katoomba many are suspicious (although I did shoot some kids KIDS(!)) at the temp skating rink last winter with no comment. In little Springwood I wouldn't think of it.
I thought it would make a project to find pics at the many little stations on the Blue Mountains railway line--some have collections of take a book, leave a book, some have quirky murals and gardens. I asked Cityrail and they sent a form which required millions of dollars of third party insurance and possibly payment of a security guard. Subsequently, although I haven't really done anything towards a project, I've found that asking the station manager (they used to be station masters) always finds a positive reception. Cityrail says that even at the major security paranoid Central station they would have no problems with hand-held tourist point and shooters (digital of course). It's the tripod that gets 'em excited. A friend tells me that pretending that a monopod is a walking stick can work.
Bugger it, I'll stick to trees and buildings.
Regards - Ross
Thanks for those who answered my question. You continually hear stories about people who know people who know people, but I continually can't actually find these people.
I had a go at the Arts Freedom people on another website. Not that I don't support their cause, but not that long ago, they looked very very inactive (from an online perspective), with a website that hadn't been updated for a 5 year period (how can you claim to be passionate about such issues if from an outsider looking in there is no action and for a long period of time?). They have now, though, stepped up to the plate and it appears that the passion is showing through.
The big problem for me is the definition of "Commercial". Is an artist who shoots and then sells solely in a gallery a commercial photographer? Is an artist who shoots, sells limited edition prints in a gallery and then sells 10000 posters of the same image a commercial photographer?
As for being hassled personally, I was hassled once on an Adelaide tram, by a conductor, who was making sure I wasn't taking pictures of people. I emailed the local transport authority, who didn't give me a straight answer (they advised that it was done on a case by case scenario), until one day I got an email back from them. It appears that public transport in SA is crown land and hence it is not illegal to photograph, but they also did mention some 50 year old law, which basically meant that I couldn't take indecent shots.
The problem is, judging anyone by the gear they are using is ludicrous! Imagine a bus-load of Japanese tourists arriving at the same said park. These guys cart around the latest in photo gear, right down to tripods et al. What a wonderful introduction to tourism in Australia that would be.
Would they be banned from shooting? What if it was a single tourist, again kitted out with the full pro kit.
Typical government (local/state/federal) - hinder everyone and help no one, unless you're willing to pay for it.
The Parks Victoria Ranger in question could do with a bit of a policy briefing as to how to identify a professional activity, likely by direct verbal questioning of a person, rather than spurious on the spot assumption. The policy of a permit system applying for commercial/professional activity has been around for many years but evidently comes in for a bit of ad hoc abuse. From the Parks Victoria page, "Filming and Photography":
A permit is required for professional, and some amateur, filming or photography activities in areas managed by Parks Victoria. Parks Victoria Filming Permits do not cover State Forests. Filming in State Forests is managed by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and permits must be obtained from local DSE offices. Phone 13 6186 to obtain local DSE office numbers. Filming or photography in parks for personal interest, weddings or news and current affairs purposes does not require a permit but a booking may be required.
The specifications and conditions are quite arcane in their scope, which is well demonstrated in the downloadable pdf documents. If you were to film a drama for television, a Permit would be required because of the scale of the activity. This also applies to a wedding taking place at, say, an outstation camping area at e.g. Wilsons Promontory (this is a much sought-after "alternative" wedding!). The Ranger's reaction is interesting to me, knowing a few Rangers on first-name basis as it is. Despite many years of visiting National Parks, I have not once been approached by a Ranger querying my activities (including at Wilsons Promontory, which I have been photographing quite conspicuously since 1987); I do recall a Ranger at Mount Buffalo long ago taking a keen interest in my camera because he was also a keen photographer. Same, too, a Ranger overseeing campers at Johanna Beach a few years back. Cape Schanck seems an odd place for a Ranger to bob up (be it noted that it is a Coastal Park (neither State Forest nor National Park) under split DSE / Parks Victoria jurisdiction).
The Annual Landscape Photography Licence if $275 for Professional photography. Are you a well-known, big-name shooter with a pile of gear to cart around? No? You'd have to be mad keen to wish to embark on the paper tiger trail and run after city bureaucrats just because you need a couple of pics: it's not a timely process! It is a good example of the law making a silly, mis-applied ass of itself in places, though it holds as valid for large scale commercial activities that are likely to impact on the Parks staff resourcing/availability and visitors that use them e.g. areas specially closed for filming, staging, disruption the free movement of people (usually not allowed under any circumstances) etc.
Any council owned or managed land is either crown land or public service land (roads etc), there is no such thing as authorised photography, as you cant ban or defnie any photography as being unauthorised.
They're simply full of shit and are able to get away with it, the legality of it is simply not - it's not legal, they can't ban photography, so by default you cannot require permits.
There are several acts, such as a filming act that specifically exempts still photography from needing permits - and the permits for filming have NOTHING to do with the at of photography/filming and EVERYTHING to do with blocking off traffic, disrupting usual order.
I'd also like to point out council's definition of 'commercial' photography is wrong - you cant redefine an already defined industry term, commercial photography here is basically advertising, weddings, selling prints, making megabucks in art galleries (if you were so lucky) isn't commercial usage under the law, and commercial usage can and is often decided upon after the fact anyway.
What they're doing is simply illegal.
Whether they know the law or not (waverly council does, but they constantly keep trying to get away with it though).
The federal police arrested Bill Henson and charged him with child pornography possession and production - shows they dont even know the law, our own federal police don't even bother to know the law or have specialist advisory before making such a serious charge! Once they found out and were told by courts that it was not child porn as it was an exception provided under the law, the federal police tried to find other things to charge him on even though he was cleared of their original charges! Simply they didn't like what he was doing, found it was legal, tried to find other ways to punish him for it, courts also said no because their original charges were thrown out.
Notice that word - punish, the law is not about punishing people for doing the wrong thing (and in this case someone who never did the wrong thing), it's not supposed to be punative, its supposed to be there to prevent certain things from either happening in the first place or happening again/continuing on.
Our own Prime Minister spoke out about the sick Bill Henson and how he was disgusted over Henson's crimes - on national TV - even our PM cbf knowing the law before speaking out about it on national TV.
This is how they get away with such shit.
Last edited by Athiril; 10-18-2010 at 04:45 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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I walk a hell of a lot in National Parks, Ive never been stopped, in fact Ive never seen a ranger. Im pretty sure the NP site (http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/resources/16_0701.pdf) only requires permits for pro's and those images taken with the intent to sell. The ranger in story was well of base.
A couple of years ago I was using my LF in Mt Annan Botanical Gardens when I was approached by a ranger whose opening comment was along the lines of "that's a pretty proffessional set-up you've got there", which immediately got me concerned about what was going to come next, whereby I was eager to point out that I was neither a professional or taking photos for commercial gain. To which he replied, along the lines of "on no, that's okay. Whatever you do shoot, you may like to forward to the marketing department of the gardens as they are always looking for quality photos from around the gardens". The encounter left be a little surprised, but unfortunately, it's not an area I head down to that often to make the most of. The worst part being that access is restricted to the hours of which the light is poor. No golden hours.
I am not familiar with the laws in Australia. In the US, we have in the US code-
TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 21 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 1983
I'll let your read it and draw your own conclusions since I am not a lawyer.