The sensitivity surrounding photographs of children has forced organisers of a public arts event to review its rules.

PAGE ONE: Event organisers ‘heavy-handed’

The sensitivity surrounding photographs of children has forced organisers of a public arts event to review its rules.

A photographer has accused The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust of being heavy-handed after taking him on as a volunteer and then ordering him to remove his portraits of children from a YouTube video he put together afterwards.

The photographer, who preferred not to be named, had taken the pictures at an event in Bitterne Park, Southampton last September.

Called ?Land Draw?, it aimed to encourage the public to take part in the Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Project.

The photographer said he had ensured that parents of the children had given permission for the pictures to be published to promote the Trust?s work.

The Trust had instructed him to shoot portraits on the first day of the event and candid photos on day two.

The photographer told Amateur Photographer: ?I thought that a gesture of good faith to the locals – and for the Trust – would be to make a video and so I duly sent it a copy and notification of this.?

Despite the project manager raising no initial objection to his plan, the Trust later told him that the YouTube video contravened its policy about photographs of children.

The photographer was told the images in the video were ?too high a quality and standard and could easily be copied?.

We understand that event organisers were concerned that children seen in the photos were identifiable.

This led the photographer to remove the entire video for fear of any legal consequences.

He told us: ?It is a little late and very heavy-handed of the trust to enforce such actions.

?The images in the video are all my own work and I hold the copyright.?

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PAGE TWO: Row forces rule re-think

The Trust?s spokesman Pete Hutchings confirmed that project organisers had taken on the photographer as a volunteer at the event.

Though the Trust had received no complaints about the images appearing on YouTube, it believes their publication by a ?third party? was ?not in the spirit in which the photos were taken?.

Hutchings maintained that the agreement signed by the parents only grants permission for the Trust to use the images – for publicity in a local newspaper or on a website, for example.

He told us: ?We have to be very sensitive to child protection, and from parents? point of view.?

Hutchings said that the subsequent publication of the images on YouTube ?breaks our trust with the parents who have given permission in the first place?.

However, he admitted that this is a ?bit of a grey area? and that it ?raises an issue we need to tighten up on?.

He added: ?You have prompted us to review the [agreement] wording.?

The Trust refused to send AP a copy of the agreement that it gives to parents before a picture of their child is taken.

The news comes just days after Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner said that photographs of children growing up are vital to their development and that rules on whether such pictures are banned should be standardised.

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