An amateur photographer who was banned from taking pictures inside a National Trust property, despite rules that allow photography indoors, has exposed an ad hoc approach by managers from one location to another.
Earlier this year National Trust bosses bowed to pressure from photographers and allowed amateur photography inside its historic properties – overturning a previous ban.
The move had followed a campaign for a change in policy led by a group of photographers via the social networking website Facebook.
However, National Trust bosses yesterday admitted that its message on when and where amateur photography is allowed indoors has not been adequately communicated to its property managers nationwide.
The confession came after Victor Sciberras was stopped from taking pictures by managers at Coletone Fishacre in Kingswear, Devon.
Victor had visited the property to photograph its 1920s art deco interior.
?As I entered the main house the lady on the door clocked my DSLR and informed me that photography was not allowed,? said Victor.
However, a sign in the entrance lobby had stated that photography indoors was allowed, provided flash was not used.
?I informed her of recent press reports that the National Trust now allowed photography?? he added.
?She told me that she was told that the ?National Trust has changed its mind as it was only a trial period and it decided that letting people photograph inside its buildings did not work??.
Victor was then told that photographing the grounds of the property, from inside the building, was also prohibited.
John Stachiewicz, publisher and head of the National Trust’s media group, told Amateur Photographer: ?It?s probably fair to say that our properties have moved on this [policy] at a varying pace of change, and that we haven?t thus far always managed to communicate terribly well where restrictions may apply.’
?However, we hope that, increasingly, such information will appear on individual property websites and we might (as of 2012) have some of this information appearing in our Members? Handbook.
Stachiewicz said the Trust is ?very much committed to our policy of enabling and encouraging amateur photography?.
?Our stance is that we have indicated to all our properties that we very much support this initiative but that they need to determine how they implement this, given their in-depth knowledge of their properties, collections and local issues.’
Stachiewicz pointed out that photography may be banned or restricted where, for example, a collection on show does not belong to the Trust; where copyright may still apply to photographs or paintings; or where a manager feels that photography would cause a ?bottleneck? and spoil the enjoyment for others.
But Victor felt let down: ?I love art deco and was hoping to take a few images and turn them into monochromes. As you can imagine I was very disappointed.?
Amateur photographers coming in from the cold to photograph the inside of the National Trust?s historic properties this winter may want to think again. The National Trust has admitted that its rules on photography have not been properly communicated to its staff. AP had revealed the Trust’s change in policy back in January (pictured below)