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Police stop photographer and seize films

Discussion in 'News - Discussion' started by CSBC, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. CSBC

    CSBC RIP (News Editor)

  2. oliverfisher

    oliverfisher Active Member

    I can only see one problem here. That the police have suggested that the photographer was taking pictures of 'sensitive buildings'. Which would seem incorrect.

    However if in fact a member of the public who was photographed complained to police and his films were confiscated for that reason I find it hard to have any sympathy for the photographer at all.

    If a complaint was made the police would have to confiscate the films in order to investigate it.

    You can't really go around taking pictures of people without their permission these days. Even I am seriously adverse to being snapped without being asked. It's ok if the people aren't the subject of the shot. But this guy admits taking pictures of specific people as they walked past. If you want to do street portrait photography I'd suggest taking a friend to model.

  3. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    In a public place there is no a priori right to privacy. If that was the case nearly all photoing in public would stop. Could you imagine getting a release from someone a hundred yeards away? Besides how many times have you appeared on cctv, possibly printed out if there was something odd going on in the background, or foreground.
    The police were, as usual being stupid and heavy handed, going after a soft target instead of the mugger round the corner.
  4. TheFatControlleR

    TheFatControlleR :Devil's Advocaat: Forum Admin

    Er, yes you can, in public - though inside a shopping centre isn't a public place, out side usually is, centre owned grounds notwithstanding.

    This isn't quite a Police State, yet, but we're getting there with the support of the ignorant. :mad:
  5. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    "purchased a Voigtländer [Bessa] R4A with 21mm lens"

    I can't blame him for that. I always look at that ad in the AP mag. and think that as I have enough pennies in my cookie jar I might just treat myself. Sadly though, this sort of story puts me off.
  6. jchrisc

    jchrisc Well-Known Member

    On the face of it, this looks like another straightforward case of the police overstepping the mark. It will be interesting to see if and how they define "sensitive material".

    Following my own complaints after I was stopped by a Community Support Officer I got only gobbledegook from our local police.
  7. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    Absolute ball cocks.

    So, on that logic if I complain that you're wearing purple shoes the police are perfectly within their rights to confiscate them in order to investigate a complaint against a perfectly legal activity?

    This kind of story makes me want to go out with my camera and the sole intention of seeing if some jumped up boy scout tries to conduct a stop and search.
  8. T_Sargeant

    T_Sargeant Well-Known Member

    If that's true I might as well hang up my camera now! Street photography is my passion and people starting to get the idea that they can't be photographed by amateur togs, when private companies, the state, etc, etc catch us on CCTV 100's of times a day is bizarre.

    If I take a photo and someone comes up to me (very rare they even notice) I'll explain what I was doing and offer them free prints. But there is no way I'm going to stop what I do untill it's made illegal. Over zealous security/police/pclo's be damned!
  9. oliverfisher

    oliverfisher Active Member

    I don't see it that way at all. I just don't think you see how your passion affects other people.

    You seem to think that because you have the right to take pictures in a public place that everyone who doesn't wish to be photographed should avoid any public place!

    A public place is by definition a shared area. So there has to be a balance between the rights of the photographer and the rights of the people who don't wish the be photographed.

    I'm not suggesting that taking pictures in public places is or even should be against the law. However I think that we now live in a world where this behaviour is now fairly unwelcome and the police attitude to photographers simply reflects this. For instance I'm sure we would all be mildly suspicious of people taking pictures of children at a playground and would want to make sure the photographer was doing so innocently. If I thought there was good reason I would even go so far as calling the police and I'd damn well expect it to be investigated. Even though the act of photography itself is not a crime.

    It's a sad truth that a few bad apples will spoil things for the rest of us who just want to enjoy our passion. But this is the world we live in.

    I do think this issue is not taken seriously and the legislation is not transparent enough. Clear guidelines should be given as to what is acceptable and what is likely to cause police 'interest'.

    I would like to ask if photography in public places was made illegal. How many of you would break the law to do it?
  10. welshwizard645

    welshwizard645 Well-Known Member

    Oliver, I have to disagree with you.

    If we couldn't go out and take photographs without any people in them, then we couldn't indulge in street, travel photography etc etc... Just think about going anywhere photogenic to take photos, lots of people there, I can imagine that 99.9% won't care about camera lenses being pointed in their direction...How do I know??? Just go to Kew Gardens and try take some photographs, people just walk in front of the camera as I take the photo oblivious to my activity... :mad:

    If you still feel the same then I might think that you have the wrong hobby :rolleyes:
  11. Dave_Cox

    Dave_Cox Well-Known Member

    Yes you can, if you feel like that don't come to Horsham in Sussex - I'm quite likely to take your photo without asking. If you call the cops I'd reckon to win a 'wrongfull arrest' case - I need to finance an M7 somehow
    True 'street photography' is dead - long live the posed portrait. Should I now only take photos of trees as buildings are now 'sensitive subjects'or will that be made illegal soon as well
  12. michaelt

    michaelt Well-Known Member

    If the person isn't breaking any laws, then the police shouldn't be getting involved. That is the way society is supposed to work. The police report claims 'sensitive material' and yet the police questioned him after a complaint from a member of the public. So either this person is concerned about the safety of nearby buildings, or somehow they consider themselves to be sensitive material. The latter of which is still not a crime.
  13. TheFatControlleR

    TheFatControlleR :Devil's Advocaat: Forum Admin

    The police have no remit or right to 'enforce' an attitude, just the law - and there simply isn't a law in this regard. Public is public, end of.
  14. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    The police couldn't even spell 'photos' correctly. They should be shot.
  15. welshwizard645

    welshwizard645 Well-Known Member

    Yeah! It should be spelt photoes /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif :rolleyes: :D
  16. Brendan

    Brendan Well-Known Member

    This is very depressing news, although I have no doubt that the film will be returned and an apology made......

    A couple of years ago I was stopped by a CSA in Birmingham city centre and asked to delete images I had taken of CSAs. I complained about it on here and about a week later the Chief Constable e-mailed me (via my website) to apologise personally. The law is - photography is legal in public place, there is no 'right to privacy' in the UK.

    How an individual photographer deals with the morality of taking shots (asking v candid etc) is up to the photographer. I would suggest tact and common courtesy I do both and have never had a problem. You can see from my website that I have made a particular study of street people in the USA.

    Whatever, PLEASE don't let's have photographers denying our RIGHTS!
  17. Ellie527

    Ellie527 Well-Known Member

    If you are in a public place where you can be seen by other people who are also in a public place then there is little you can, or should, do to stop your picture being taken. If you try to stop a photographer and use force it is assault, so is attacking them verbally.

    It isn't just amateur photographers who are having problems, it's the press too - and they've got a lot of backing from legal advisers. There are rights to privacy, they are enshrined in law and I suppose we all ought to check them up.

    If you are on a crowded beach and want to take a picture of your family will you clear the background of every single individual behind them, so they are not in the shot? A law that prevents anybody from taking pictures of people would be unenforceable.

    What is it that's so offensive about having your picture taken anyway? It doesn't steal part of your soul and it doesn't steal your identity. We are the most filmed country in Europe, with CCTV operators watching our every move - and we can't see them, nor hear any comments they may make about what they think we look like, or what we may be doing.

    I'm a bit worried about the term 'sensitive sites' though. Who's to say what is a 'sensitive site' in our increasingly paranoid world, where there are terrorists hiding round every corner, and you have to take off your shoes to go through a baggage check?
  18. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Re: What is 'sensitive'? ... A solution, or Chaos?

    Until such time as a selection of the incidents that have been highlighted in the AP the other magazines are dealt with by a High Court via the best QC/Barrister available, these issues are going to continually arise. It seems to me that the Law/Acts/Statutes being deployed are far too loosly worded and open to mis-interpretation and are 'occasionally' abused. (Ok, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt! - After all, the Law of the land says something like you are innocent until proven guilty!)

    As far as I am aware, I don't think any of the instances highlighted in the AP and elsewhere, have ended up in a Court case, and I suspect the reason why not, is that there are 'People/Institutions' out there who do not want such a Court case.

    Furthermore, I would suggest that maybe a mass photo-shoot needs to be arranged, involving the hiring of a few tourists buses. Needless to say we also invite along members of the H of P Photographic Club ...! We then contact the Met, and request/hire a suitable number of their Officers qualified in what we are legally entitled to photograph, to escort our weekend-long photo-shoot around London .....

    Subsequent to the shoot, all images taken, (as a precaution) need to be handed over, vetted and what is legitimate returned to us. If they omitted, (or were not allowed to tell us!) the photographer by the process of their deletion, can then advise us this item is indeed 'Verboten'. The photographs taken, can then be pubished in a book, indicating what locations can be photographed, for the benefit of the public at large. (subject to copyright of course!)

    I rather suspect that if such a campaign actually started to get off the ground, someone, somewhere, just might decide that the Law as it stands, needs to be revised with much greater clarity etc.

    How are we supposed to know what constitutes a 'sensitive' building, if they haven't the decency to put on the less obvious ones, signs saying they should not be photographed? If I am in the vecinity of MOD property, they have the decency to advise me where I should not point my camera, and as a consequence I am more than happy to comply with their request. So, why don't 'They' put up a few notices and save us and the Police, one hell of a lot of hassle? The time and money saved can be more usefully employed in apprehending those who misuse a camera to satisfy their seriously deviant ways.
  19. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

  20. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Me, too! Where do you fancy meeting? ;)

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