Photographers stopped in street pictures experiment

July 21, 2011

All six photographers who took part in a street photography experiment clashed with private security officials – three of the incidents sparking police action.

The verbal confrontations were recorded for a video (above) that has been published to coincide with the London Street Photography Festival, organisers of the project.

The experiment, called Stand Your Ground, took place in the security-sensitive City of London on 21 June.

Though organisers conceded it had a ?set up feeling?, the experiment aimed to ?test the policing of public and private spaces by private security firms and their reaction to photographers?.

Each photographer was accompanied by a videographer and told to keep on public land. Some used tripods and one was taking photos with a 5×4 camera.

Those taking part included Pennie Quinton, a photographer and journalist whose experience at the hands of police ultimately led the Government to abandon the highly controversial Section 44 anti-terror law.

All the photographers were stopped on at least one occasion.

During the video, security guards are repeatedly reminded about the law regarding photographing in public places.

No one was arrested and, afterwards, the attitude of City of London police officers came in for praise.

Grant Smith – an architectural photographer and campaigner who has been stopped numerous times in the past – said the police displayed ?common sense’ and an ?understanding of the law?.

The video was published ahead of a panel debate, chaired by Smith, about photography in public places.

The discussions, held at a central London venue last night, included representatives of the police, Liberty and a private security firm.

Amateur Photographer (AP)?s news editor also attended the event, and a fuller report will be published in due course.

Last week AP met counter-terrorism officials and police in a move that the Government hopes will ensure security officials better understand the law regarding photography in public places.


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