Upset at the actions of the photolab
I couldn't sleep so I've posted this just to get it off my chest.
I take pictures of my family snaps on transparency film because I don't trust digital for archival purposes - I'm always crashing hard drives, getting viruses and then having to reformat computers. So it's one of my life's pleasures to drop film off and then a week later getting the jewels back. Film also works for me because I'm very protective of my family's privacy, and don't post any pictures of them online.
So I get a call from the police wanting to discuss a confidential matter. I have no idea why - I've NEVER had to talk to the police. It turns out that a picture I've taken of my kid while running around mooning everyone, which I was going to use to embarrass them when they turned 21, had been of concern to a person at the lab so they had contacted the police about a case of child p*nography! This is a lab that has seen hundreds of pictures of my family over the years, and because of one frame with a bottom in it they call the police.
So after having multiple visits from the police, who agreed that it looked like a child running around poking their bottom out at everyone as young children are wont to do, no charges would be laid but they would have to file a report on the incident. One of the funny questions was did I have a chance to preview the picture of the film so I had a chance to edit it before giving it to the lab! They couldn't give the picture back, because at a huge enlargement you might be able to see some naughty bits so it would have to be destroyed. My wife wanted to fight that decision thinking it was one of the funniest pictures I had taken, but I just wanted the matter to end and agreed to have the picture destroyed.
So because someone in "the public" took offense to a picture I took, who so happens to be a photolab that sees the picture before I've even had a chance to look and vet them, I get a visit from the police and the incident is in the system with names of my family even though I'm not guilty of anything. I'm upset and quite frankly disgusted at the judgement of the lab. There's only a few labs left in Australia, and although I can process my own e6 in my Jobo machine, I thought I should support the film labs in Australia. No more!
What a world we live in, where an innocent moment between family can be so easily intruded upon. I've thought about sending a letter to the lab, but I just want to wipe my hands of them and never ever have any further contact with them.
Thanks for listening.
Last edited by Lowly; 06-15-2013 at 04:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Unfortunately that is the sad world we live in, yet Sally Mann's photographs are OK.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I'd be quite upset too.
Similar things had happened in the United States a couple decades ago with revised child-porn laws. Many people had been in the same situation as you. It has relaxed a bit as people have become more rational due to the media coverage of such things, but it took a while before common sense (mostly) prevailed.
It took a lot of media coverage from outraged consumers before anything happened.
This is not new and has been lab policy for as long as I have worked in Labs.
An exact type of incident happened at a lab I worked at and it is an delicate situation for the family concerned, to say the least.
I am surprised you did not get a phone call from the Lab owner , before the film was reported, If you had a relationship with them
I think the owner may have made a mistake in not giving you a call.
But you also must know that within many Labs, the policy is there and if a technician finds work inappropriate there is this chance of reporting and the lab owner, has to comply.
This policy btw has been in place for over 30 years and I do not think it is a sign of the times.
I am speaking of policy within Canada , but I think its pretty global.
“We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.
We are monkeys with money and guns.”
― Tom Waits
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Have you got any idea on what legal base this was done? (I have no idea of australian legislation.)
They couldn't give the picture back, because at a huge enlargement you might be able to see some naughty bits so it would have to be destroyed.
Ditto on the Sally Mann comment.
In Canada, it is mandatory to report child abuse if you suspect that it is occurring.
The complaint, in my mind, is not with the lab, but rather with the final determination.
On its own, a photo of a naked child isn't conclusive or even good evidence of abuse. In Canada, I would say that the authorities should have made their determination that no abuse was indicated, and then returned the transparency to you.
The rules in Australia may be unreasonably different.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
OMG... i would not get over this...you should post the name of the company. no joke. This is super upsetting, i myself am not that old, but know where to draw the line, but if you have a roll of family pics, and one of them is of a naked kid running around, obviously, it's just a naked kid running around. If you've never had younger brothers or sisters, or any kids in the family, you might not know, but common sense... etc... i'm just baffled by the sh*t people do, and the need to call authorities, for crap like this, all in the name of 'good'.
It's the same here in the UK, sad really but we live in a world with a few sickos who abuse kids or get their kicks looking at images of them.
Sometimes there's no common sense which isn often lacking these days.