A council that insisted all photographers must seek permission to take pictures at council-run events has today issued a fresh statement in a bid to clarify its position.

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council said it has received complaints from photographers following a statement it issued just over a week ago, and a subsequent article published in Amateur Photographer.

In an email sent to Amateur Photographer this morning, the council’s corporate communications manager Lee-Anne Leyshon said she hopes photographers will not be discouraged from pursuing their hobby.

‘We’re receiving emails from readers from linked pages to your website asking why Merthry Tydfil County Borough Council is banning photography.

‘As your readers are misunderstanding the information on the Amateur Photography (sic) website, please would you clarify this within your article?’

Leyshon adds: ‘The Council is not banning photography, neither is it “anti-photographers” in any way and we already enjoy a productive relationship with various amateur photographers and camera clubs.

‘To clarify what seems to have been misrepresented and misunderstood on this issue, the Council, as a corporate parent takes a sensible approach that is intended to safeguard both the subjects and the photographers.

‘Indeed, this process has regularly enabled amateur photographers to work successfully with the Council at various events, where they have freely shared their photographs afterwards with the Council for promotional purposes, and – in return – the Council has credited the amateur photographer.’


Council: We have right to question photographers

  • Stephen Bailey

    Since when did a council become a “corporate parent”? Indicates a very dangerous mind-set of some council officials.

  • Ken

    I suggest that as many people as possibl go to these events and take as many pictures as p-ossible and see what actions are taken to stop them. It seems the Copuncil are nmaking up their own laws.

  • James

    I think the council have either made a hash of it or clearly don’t realise the absurdity of its photography policy.

  • Robert

    Misunderstanding?? Either the council is being devious and has decided to come clean with the fresh interpretation of its rules. Sorry, no self respecting photographer will fall for this garbage from this council.

  • Ewen Rankin

    I think the point is missed by all here. I have no issue with property owners & event holders making requests for permits to be required and dont believe for one moment that such a request constitutes ‘banning’ of photographers.

    What is at stake is the fundamental question of whether a council has a right to insist on permission and can prevent photography in a public location…my understanding is that it can’t. Merthyr Council appears to have failed to clarify this singular and yet crucial issue and if it believes that it does possess such a right to clarify what the extent & limits of that power are.

  • Chris Hill

    Apart from a mish-mash of meaningless weasel words that don’t help the hole the council has opened, we have it in a direct quote from the council’s PR chief that ‘The Council is not banning photography.

    So there we are, we can take photos without fear of persecution from officials and jobsworths.

    Just a shame the council were slow to realise.

    Flashmob Merthyr, anyone?

  • Mike Williams

    Disingenuous of Ms Leyshon, to say the least. As she should be well aware, photography is not prohibited in any public place; no-on – Pope to pauper – cannot be photographed from public land. More importantly, no council has any authority to try to do so on the spurious “duty of care” issue when events take place in public. Just because they organised the event absolutely does not give them the right to actively deter, impede or harrass any photographer from taking their pictures.
    I use the term “harrass” quite deliberatley, since by their actions, this council have done precisely that to the unfortunate and innocent photographer concerned.
    It is clearly an alien concept, but the council should be ashamed of themselves. Next time I’m in the area, you can bet I’ll take any number of images, and woe betide the council if they try their bullying tactics on me.

  • John Hall

    Do we know what reason the Council gives to how it ‘safeguards’ the photographer and the subject? It would appear that the want the free rights to the digital images as that is their mandate for the photographers who sign up.

  • Mr Cannon Dslr

    Its public land, you do not need permission and to say using our photographs for permission/credit. Ill be taking photos without permission and if you want my photograps for promoting wales on a commercial basis i think i/we deserve more than a little credit!

  • John Rogers

    They just hate professional photographers !!

  • andrew

    This council or any other have no right to question anyone in a public place whether taking pictures or not! They seem happy to get a free collection of pictures though. Quite disgraceful behaviour on both counts.

  • Dave Latham

    Well that clarification is as clear as mud! No council has the right to stop any amateur photographer from pursuing their hobby on public land and Merthry Tydfil County Borough Council and their jobs-worth little santa helpers should keep their noses out. I don’t need or want them telling me what to do for my own good. If they believe that a photographer is taking inappropriate photos then they should call the Police who, theoretically, should know the law with regard to our hobby.

  • Sam Butler

    This is not a sensible approach, the council’s statement makes no effort to clarify anything, and there is no justification of their legal stance in seeking such permission, which is at variance with the lack of legislation regarding photography in public places that gives amateur photographers the ability to take photographs in such circumstances. As a professional freelancer I seek accreditation for civic events in public places because I am often given privileged access and advance information, but a blanket ban on photography without prior written permission serves only to restrict the art, and for those who do seek permission, to create a wave of red tape and paper pushing that unnecessarily wastes the time of publicly employed officials, in effect wasting taxpayers’ money on a thoroughly pointless exercise. The press office need to go back to the drawing board on this pathetic excuse of a statement, this is a PR failure and they’re trying to dig their way out of a hole. I’m astonished.

  • Hugh Look

    “….where they have freely shared their photographs afterwards with the Council for promotional purposes, ….” Ah, so perhaps it’s not a duty-of-care issue at all: maybe it’s a good old-fashioned rights grab. I wonder if being granted a permit also means signing over image rights or some sort of compulsory licence?

  • Gordon Scammell

    So what they are saying is – give us your photographs that we can use for our purposes and we’ll let you shoot the event! Seems like a form of blackmail to me.

  • Keith Nuttall

    What a load of cobblers. They think they have a right to control the public’s use of cameras? They think they can restrict the public’s freedom to take photographs, and grant permission in return for rights grab of their photography? What a joke. I hope the citizens of MT show the council who is serving whom, and exercise their right to take photos in public places as long as they do so without causing harassment of other citizens.

  • Stuart Fawcett

    Is this all that was in the article?

    “takes a sensible approach that is intended to safeguard both the subjects and the photographers”

    I don’t see how this statement say’s anything other than – forget the law, just trust us to do what’s right and subjectively tell you off if we want.

    Some people seem to live on another planet of self importance and presumed power over others with no thought out resolution to the issues.

    I hope its just that they have only been half quoted.

    Councils should work together to adopt general best practice legal guidelines and not keep reinventing the wheel and wasting tax payers money in the process.

  • Chris

    So it’s still banning photography then? What on earth is this person trying to say?