Posts tagged with Cameraphobia

Revolting Aussie photographers?

Rally for Concerned Photographers is a protest by Australian photographers in Sydney this Sunday. Nick Rains explains the big deal:

It’s about it being a criminal offence to sell a photo you have taken of all sorts of places like Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Bondi Beach, any National Park and so on. Even if you are an enthusiast who happens down the track to have the opportunity to get an image published, or even win a prize in a competition.

This affects both pros and amateurs alike, not to mention it making it very difficult for a pro to do any sort of travel or street photography with out being pestered by council employees or having people assume you are a pedophile.

And another thing, it’s really tedious for camera buffs with half decent cameras to be assumed to be pros when out following their hobby. This means they get approached all the time by over zealous officials and have to defend their rights to go about their lawful . . .

Small protests

I was just going to post a link to yet another example of the Keystone cops, oops British police, pouncing on another suspected terrorist reconnaissance mission – a Guardian reporter taking photos of the Gherkin building in the City of London:

When I arrived at the Gherkin at 11am yesterday I was stopped by a security guard as I walked around the side of the building. When he told me I had strayed on to private land, I returned to the pavement, but declined his repeated requests to show him the images on my camera.

Back on the pavement, a second security guard informed me that under “anti-terrorism” I was permitted to photograph or film the top end of the building, but the lower half, which included the reception area, fire exits and security cameras, was off-bounds.

And so the boys in blue were summoned…. I don’t doubt the Guardian’s report for one second, but in the interests of balance, last weekend I was taking photos of the very same building, and I didn’t get stopped. It was a nice morning and I . . .

In the street today

Recently in Rome I used my tripod almost everywhere, not inside museums though, and never had a single hint of a problem. But from my Tripodophobia posts you’ll see I’ve had a number of clashes in London with “security guards” who think they can obstruct or prevent people taking pictures, especially if they have a big camera or – sure sign of a bomb-toting religious fanatic – a tripod. Sure, Muslim nuts scout out their targets with big Nikons and Canons round their necks and spend half an hour in the same spot waiting for the right light…. Actually, maybe they do do the latter during the Haj.

It’s as crazy as the congestion charging proposals (rant below). So sign the photography petition to No 10 Downing Street:

There are a number of moves promoting the requirement of ‘ID’ cards to allow photographers to operate in a public place. It is a fundamental right of a UK citizen to use a camera in a public place, indeed there is no right to privacy when in a public place. These moves have developed . . .

Suspicious behaviour

This story is worth reading all the way through:

A London underground station was evacuated and part of a main east-west line closed in a security alert on Thursday, three weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people on the transport network, police said. (Reuters)

This Reuters story was written while the police were detaining me in Southwark tube station and the bomb squad was checking my rucksack. When they were through, the two explosive specialists walked out of the tube station smiling and commenting: “Nice laptop.” The officers offered apologies on behalf of the Metropolitan police. Then they arrested me.

Giving my permission

This is getting ridiculous – this afternoon I was asked to give written permission after I was filmed eating.

I was in central London and had sat down to review the images I’d just taken of a performance by these Japanese musicians, Okinawa Eisa. Two English women in kimonos were offering noodles – they were promoting a stall nearby – and they had just reached me when a 6 strong film crew appeared and I was on one a number of people filmed.

The crew quickly moved on, but one stayed behind and explained they were from BBC2 and asked if I would sign their consent form. Apparently they now do this whenever they film anyone, just in case. Ludicrous! It was hardly as though they had filmed me covertly and I’m sure the footage shows I could have got up and moved away had I not wanted to be filmed.

Maybe the next time a security guard hassles me, I’ll ask them if they have my consent for recording me on their CCTV?

Thoughts on dealing with security guards

This site’s semi-official title is “nutter behind the camera”. Here’s why….

In today’s Amateur Photographer a letter told how a Birmingham security guard stopped the letter-writer photographing on suspicion of being a terrorist. Having also been smeared as a potential terrorist, when I had my camera on a tripod near the London Eye, I’d like to share a few countermeasures.

Make sure you ask directly if they are actually saying that you are a terrorist. They’re already backing off, aren’t they? And if you were a terrorist, ask the guard if he seriously thinks you would carry such an obvious camera and tripod and all your other paraphernalia. If he thinks so, just tap your nose and wink “you never know, do you?”. Ask if coffee table books with full page photos, even architectural designs, are available in their shop? If you’re brave (I’m over 6 foot tall) don’t forget to enquire about procedures for vetting security guards, and see if he has heard of recent cases where journalists infiltrated airline security, and inside job robberies at high value couriers. Then see . . .

Give a man a uniform

London’s new City Hall is one of the city’s more photogenic recent developments. If you don’t know it, the Norman Foster-designed building stands alone on the riverside and is surrounded by an open paved space laid out in swirls echoing the building’s strange shape. The area is completely open to the public.

Early Sunday morning – so early no-one else was about – I was at City Hall with my camera and tripod. As I had already got the pictures I wanted, and the sun was now causing flare with the 14mm Sigma wide-angle, so I was going to move on, but first I just wanted to try some alternative compositions and had the camera in my hand and the tripod over to one side. A security guard passed me and stopped about 25 metres away, and as I had the feeling he was watching me I decided to put the camera on the tripod.

Within seconds he came over and asked (politely) if I had a permit to photograph with a tripod. I told him very firmly but politely that I . . .